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VARIOUS BRANCHES OF TRADE.
THE SUGAR TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Annual Review, showing the Imports and Consumption of Raw Sugar
in the United States, for the year ending December 31, 1912, compared with the previous four years.
NEW YORK STATEMENT.
45,713 63,030 187.506 182,811 141,771 Total receipts...
1,552,598 1.512,900 1,553,492 1,518,757 1,418,397 Add stock, January 1..
17,099 5,620 Total supply.....
1,564,788 1,512,900 1,556,842 1,535,856 1.424,017 Deduct exports to foreign ports.
196 1,343 8,482 2,906
915 1,564,592 1,511,557 1,518,360 1,532,950 1,423,102 Deduct stock, December 31..
3.350 17.099 Taken for consumption..
1,564,592 1,499,367 1,548,360 1,529.600 1,406.003 Deduct exports of refined..
20.109 10.914 65.100 30.500 6.115 Actual home consumption
1,544,483 1,488,453 1,483,260 1,499,100 1,399,888 Increase+
or decrease from previous year .........
+56,030 +5,193 -15.840 +99.212 +6.364 A
RECEIPTS OF FOREIGN SEGAR IN THE UNITED STATES FOR THE YEAR ENDING DECEMBER
31, 1912, (OMPARED WITH THE PREVIOUS FOUR YEARS.
tons, 1,495,217 1,445,754 1.484,983 1,479,352 1,382,297 Boston....
181,412 192,387 195,686 165,209 176.312 Portland, New Haven, &c.. Philadelphia...
429 2051 428,017 | 423.789 376,285 376.891 Baltimore. New Orleans and other Southern Ports. 336.772 311.311 267,662 173,805 115.816 Pacific Coast..
248.107 242.123 243,105 223,313 197.009
ANNUAL REVIEW OF THE SUGAR TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES.
In contrast to the previous year, 1912 proved exceedingly unsatisfactory in the sugar trade, profits being reduced sharply for both the refiner and the distributor. However, this need cause little surprise for such is usually the case in a declining market when manufacturers are working up high priced raw supplies. In 1911, it will be recalled, the extraordinary prosperity of the industry was in no small part due to the fact that the rapid rise caused big speculative profits to holders of both raw and refined sugar, the consumer footing the bill. During the past year, the producer fared well, thanks to a combination of fortunate circumstances, good prices being enjoyed until September. The country had a very small invisible supply of sugar, and although the wholesale grocers realized that a readjustment from high levels was under way, a speculative movement ensued that resulted in many cases in losses. An influence of no small moment, moreover, was the Mississippi flood damage which practically cut the Louisiana cane crop in two. To cap the climax, Java sugars had been diverted from this port, and even with imports of beet sugar from Europe, the available supply for refiners was so limited as to force an early curtailment of operations. Yet the world's crops, as compared with the previous season, were some 2,000,000 tons larger, from which the natural inference can be drawn that consumption was generally stimulated by the reaction in prices. Just how keenly the contrast with 1911 was felt by refiners is shown in the earnings of the largest interests, which were practically cut in two as a result of the steadily declining prices.
The domestic beet production came in conveniently for filling the gap caused by the scarcity of raw sugar during the fall, and for once refiners made little complaint of seasonable invasion of their territory. The home production, which has been steadily increasing in importance of recent years, was the largest on record, high prices during 1912 naturally stimulating sowings. It is interesting to note that, counting sugar imported free from our dependencies, Porto Rico, Hawaii and the Philippines, the domestic production of cane and beet was over one-half the total consumption of the United States, Cuba furnishing substantially all the remainder. With imports of only about 100,000 tons full duty paying sugar, it can be seen that we are practically self-supporting in this regard. Conditions in the western states are most favorable for expansion of beet production, and with advantage of cheaper freight rates, this class of sugar may continue to dominate the situation west of the Mississippi, regardless of a cut in the tariff. The fact that the new federal administration was pledged to a revision of the sugar impost of course caused unsettlement and uncertainty in the trade. Refiners argue that a lowering of the duty would stimulate the preserving industry in much the same way as has been the case in the United Kingdom.
It will be interesting to note what result the elimination of the Dutch standard may have upon refiners since heretofore the effect of the prevailing law has been to shut out white sugars made on the plantations. With the color test dropped, they would no longer be classed apart from raw sugar and consequently there might be a direct incentive for their shipment to the United States. With modern methods of manufacture, a product can be turned out which conceivably would find favor with the consumer.
Inasmuch as the refining facilities in this country are now more than ample, this additional competition would not tend to enhance prices. Yet, there has been talk of further plants being put into operation, provided sugar is made free.
The domestic beet factories decreased their proportion of the production consumed during 1912, this being 15.01 per cent. as compared with 15.51 per cent. in 1911, and 13.92 per cent. in 1910. Independent refiners, in which class the National Sugar Refining Company is assigned, also melted a larger quota which amounted to 46.09 per cent. as against 41.91 per cent. in 1911 and 43.49 per cent. in 1910. The American Sugar Refining Company still holds the lead in the distribution of sugar though its proportion is only 38.48 per cent. as against 42.12 per cent. in 1911 and 42.14 per cent. in 1910.
This falling off was in part attributable to the sale of its interest in the Western Refinery of San Francisco. The refiners in the Hawaiian Islands were but a small factor, contributing .37 per cent. as against .41 per cent. in 1911 and 42 per cent in 1910. Imports of foreign
refined continued negligible, remaining .05 per cent, which compares with .03 per cent. in 1910.
The margin of profit for refiners during the year showed a small decrease. The average difference between raw and refined sugar being .879 cents as compared with.892 cents in 1911,.784 cents in 1910, .758 cents in 1909, and .884 cents in 1908. This was due to the fact that refiners were able to work off their raw sugar in a declining market, without undue sacrifice.
Importations of Foreign Sugar.— Imports of foreign raw sugar show a progressive increase, being 71,151 tons larger than the previous year. This gain is doubtless attributable to the fact that invisible supplies of refined had been largely reduced, owing to the scarcity of 1911, the consumption, moreover, being materially larger. The shipments to the l'nited States of duty free sugar were 935,057 tons as compared with 965,167 tons the previous year, a falling off of 30,110 tons of this aggregate. It may be interesting to note, that Hawaii accounted for 505,375 tons, Porto Rico 303,724 tons and the Philip. pines 125,958 tons. Cuba, which pays a reduced rate of duty, more than inade up the deficiency; for imports from that country amounted to 1,712,015 tons or an increase of 286,703 tons. Receipts from other countries were only 106,000 tons of which 60,000 were European beets. The decrease of over 200,000 tons of full duty paying sugars from 1911 can be attributed to the fact that Java sugars were deflected elsewhere, only one cargo arriving in the United States.
Importations of refined sugar are a negligible quantity, for there is no competition with the local product under the prevailing rate of duty. The receipts have steadily declined of recent years, the total for 1912 being only 911 tons, which compares with 1,332 tons in 1911, 1,893 tons in 1910, 2,639 tons in 1909, 2,713 tons in 1908. Shipments of refined sugar from Hawaii are free of duty but nevertheless they do not show much increase, being 13,491 tons for the year as compared with 13,082 tons in 1911, 13,648 tons in 1910, 15, 146 tons in 1909 and 16,075 tons in 1908.
According to the Bureau of Statistics figures, imports of beet refined from Europe the past decade were as follows:
1912 1911. 1910. 1909. 1908
911 | 1907. 1,333 | 1906. 1,893 | 1905. 2,639 | 1904. 2,713 | 1903.
3,953 3,961 5,258 10,014 8,179
The total importations of foreign raw and refined sugar into the United States, including Hawaii and Porto Rico, according to the Bureau of Statistics for each calendar year for the past sixteen years, were as follows:
1912.. 1911.. 1910.. 1909. 1908. 1907.. 1906.. 1903
.tons, 2,749,812 | 1904...
2,644,527 | 1903.
2,289,081 1,959,101 2,109,029 2,040,110 1,832,602 1,965,066 1,530,010 1,830,898
Louisiana Crop.—Inasmuch as the marketing and consumption of the Louisiana crop is spread over two years, in the compilation of these statistics it has been assumed, for convenience sake, that the entire yield was distributed during the calendar year following the beginning of the crop movement. Hence, the figures for consumption during the year 1912 are taken from the 1911-1912 crop. As so often has been the case, the yield proved extremely disappointing, though early expectations had been most sanguine. Conditions throughout the season until the very close seemed to justify planters in anticipating a production of 350,000 tons; for not only was there a fine growth but weather conditions during the summer months were almost ideal. Unfortunately, a severe killing frost arrived in Nov. ember which in conjunction with another in December reduced the yield to 316,000 tons for Louisiana and 8,000 tons for Texas. The latter state is still a comparatively unimportant factor, its production of recent years showing a tendency to decrease rather than increase. The yield of sugar per ton of cane was estimated at 133 pounds as compared with 147 in 1910 and 156 in 1909. The average yield per acre of cane used for sugar was 18.6 short tons. Owing to the high prices ruling for sugar in New York, the marketing of Louisiana's was hastened and profitable prices were received. The receipts in New Orleans during the calendar year 1912, it may be interesting to note, were 184,936 tons as compared with 209,780 tons for the previous year. It is an interesting commentary upon the difficulties under which the Southern planter labors in raising sugar cane, that the crop seldom gets above 300,000 tons of sugar and has fallen within the past two decades as low as 149,000 tons, thus emphasizing the hothouse character of the industry. Climatic conditions are unfavorable, and were it not for the large amount of capital tied up in sugar houses and the fact that cane has been raised for generations, the change to other crops would be more marked. As it is, there is a growing tendency to plant the bottom lands with garden truck, the profits from which are said to be more remunerative. As showing the disadvantage under which Louisiana operates, it might be noted that yearly plantings of cane are necessary, whereas in the case of Cuba and the West Indies the life of the cane is fifteen years or longer, making for much more economical production. Moreover, there is not the danger of frost. Prospects of a material reduction in the tariff have stimulated discussion of the desirability of concentration in order to curtail the expense of manufacture. This is said to be contingent upon a conservative reduction of the tariff, the plan being to