BUSINESS KEEPS SHOWING GAINS

BUSINESS KEEPS SHOWING GAINS

Written Specially for “Fire and Water Engineering.”

With the advent of the holiday season the business situation, while still, of course, foremost in the public mind, has experienced, in a measure, that temporary decrease of public attention usual to the season when Christmas and the New Year claim some attention, no matter what else may be going on. Notwithstanding this, trade conditions keep on showing gains and that the general situation continues to grow firmer is apparent in many ways. Municipalities are planning and contracting for public improvements, some of them on a large scale, and bond issues are being authorized and the bonds offered in such quantities as to afford certain evidence that funds for public necessities are without doubt actually obtainable. In New York City the Board of Estimate has been asked to appropriate over $1,800,000 from the water revenues for the maintenance, improvement and extension of the water system in Brooklyn during 1015. In Atlanta, Ga., a $250,000 bond issue has been authorized by the Budget Committee for motorizing the fire department, and other fire department improvements. These are just two instances of what municipalities are doing and planning, and there are many others, among them Chicago, Ill., where the sum of $8,951,000 is asked for the operation and improvement of the water system in 1915, and Columbus, Ga., where work on a $100,000 water works improvement has been commenced. The export situation is making a good showing and merchants are turning their eyes more and more to the South American trade possibilities. Recently a Latin-An.erican trade conference was held in Boston to discuss methods best suited to opening markets in Latin America for New England products, and John Barrett, director general of the Pan-American Union, said thc trade of the United States in 1913, with the twenty Latin-American republics, both in sales and purchases, exceeded in volume that of any other single country. It was the first year, he said, thc United States ever had exported a greater valuation of products to Latin-American countries than did the United Kingdom. Mr. Barrett’s conclusions were based on statistics just compiled by the Pan-American Union. He said this was the first time accurate figures of Latin-American commerce in 1913 had been given. The figures showed that the twenty independent countries south of the United States conducted a foreign commerce in the calendar year 1913 valued at $2,804,876,224, of which their exports were $1,539,123,597, and imports $1,325,752,627, and in speaking editorially on Latin-American trade conditions, the New York Press” said: “The glowing report of our share in Latin-American trade in 1913 gives the quietus to occasional dismal prophecies that our dealers lack the tact and patience to please our southern neighbors. No other nation pleases them so well. Latin America turns first to the United States to sell her raw materials, she turns first to the United States to buy manufactures. This was the condition before the war knocked out, or at least, crippled our competitors,” and added, “if the Untied States stood first in 1913, what position of honored pre-eminence shall she not hold at the close of 1914? In 1915, when many new factors work to her advantage? With European nations on the long road to peace, her citizens are on the short road to prosperity and, so far as their own affairs are concerned, can afford to march forward with quick step and light heart.” Figures given out by the Bureau of Foreign Commerce, show that in the first three weeks of December exports have exceeded imports by $92,000,000. In the week ending December 19, the balance in favor of this country was $30,000,000. The annual report of the chief of the Bureau of For the year ending June 30 states that the establishment of the service of commerical gives the Bureau of Foreign and Domestic Commerce a complete and well-rounded system of trade-promotion service abroad comparing favorably with that of any other nation, that the primary and essentially practical function of promoting trade has been kept constantly in view and that actively co-operating with the bureau in its promotive work during the fiscal year there were six commercial agents traveling abroad. The subjects of investigation .included canned goods in Asia and South America; patent medicines and dental supplies in South America; canned goods in the Near East, Africa and Japan, and oil seed products in Europe. Charles M. Schwab, president of the Bethlehem Steel Company, on his return from his second trip to Europe in two months, was as optimistic as on his previous arrival several weeks ago, and he said: “The prosperity which I foretold before for the United States will be here in force. I wish to reiterate my previous statement that an era of revived business activity is coming. The improvement will be immediate, due to the fact that European nations have placed orders valued at $300,000,000 for merchandise to be delivered within a year in this country. From now on I expect to sec a steady improvement in business.” The tone of the money market has continued easy and the foreign exchanges have been undergoing interesting changes. While demand has sprung up in Germany for American securities as the cheapest form of remittance to this country, in view of the depressed state of German exchange, sterling here has been moving downward until it fell well under the par of exchange and to the lowest level touched since April 1 last, and it is pointed out that encouraging as the drift of our foreign trade in merchandise has lately been, this movement in exchange is even more encouraging, and that while the merchandise movement tells only part of the story or our relations with other financial centres, the exchange market tells the whole story. Views on business conditions and prospects continue to be very encouraging. The First National Bank, Boston, is credited with this statement: “The dominant note in business throughout thc United States, including New England, is one of increased courage and conspicuously improved sentiment. The immense advantage of our neutral position, and the belief that the war is now so localized that it can be intelligently treated as a trade factor, have apparently convinced business men that a reasonably safe basis exists for more active domestic trade and for a development of carefultly selected foreign business. Obviously, a building up of business activity was not to be expected until the many financial menaces were removed and the usual channels of trade opened.”

No posts to display