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tard sugar, and a residuum known to the trade as Black Strap,” the bulk of which is exported for distilling purposes. · The molasses trade of this country may therefore be divided into two branches, which are separate and distinct from each other, one of which includes the importation of foreign molasses as a raw material for manufacturing into bastard sugar and black strap, and the other the distribution of molasses as a liquid sweet for household consumption.
With respect to the first branch, the volume of trade depends, first, upon the abundance of the Cuba sugar crop, which is almost the only source of supply, and furnishes, therefore, the basis of operations, and second, upon the saccharine value of the molasses ; or, in other words, its test quality, since upon this depends the profitableness and success of the boiling operations. The crop of sugar produced in Cuba in 1886 was an unusually large one, and hence the production of molasses was proportionately heavy. The total export from the Island of Cuba for the year, the whole of which came to this country, amounted to 232,571 hhds., against 182,912 hhds. in 1885. The test quality of the molasses was much above the average of previous years, and hence the higher per centage of marketable product obiained therefrom.
The distributive demand for foreign molasses as an article of diet is comparatively moderate, and bears but a small proportion to the total quantity of liquid sweet that passes into consumption under the name of molasses. In the New-England States and some parts of the Middle States, straight West India molasses is used, but the great mass of the population use the various mixtures, and adulterations of this, as well as the product of the Southern States, together with the enormous production of corn syrup and sorghum, which exceeds many times the available supply of the direct product of the sugar cane. There is also the hy-product, which results from the process of refining sugar, and known to the trade as “Sugar Syrups,” which furthermore supplies some portion of what goes to make up the total consumption of liquid sweet in the country.
From the foregoing tables it will be observed, that the total importation of foreign molasses last year amounted to 268,525 hhds., against 231,595 hhds., or an increase of 36,930 hhds. Of this quantity about 233,000 hhds. came from the Island of Cuba, about 22,000 from the Island of Porto Rico, and the remainder from the other West India Islands. The importations from Porto Rico show a considerable falling off compared with last year, and from the other West India Islands the receipts are also smaller than last year. This was due to the fact that prices did not warrant larger shipments, planters finding it more profitable to dispose of their product to local distillers or for other purposes of local consumption.
The yield of the Louisiana crop for the crop year 1885–86 was very much larger than the previous season. According to the accepted authority, Mr. A. BOUCHEREAU, of New Orleans, the total yield amounted to 17,863,732 gallons, against 11,761,608 gallons the year previous. In other Southern States where cane is grown the estimated production of cane molasses amounted to 3,645,000 gallons, which, added to the Louisiana crop, gives a total yield for the Southern States of 21,508,732 gallons, or an increase of about 60 per cent. over the result of the previous crop.
These are the only two sources from which cane molasses is obtained, but in addition to this supply the Western sorghum crop has become not only an important agricultural product, but furnishes a very large proportion of the syrup consumed in the Western States.
There is no means of obtaining definite statistics regarding the production of sorghum. In a number of the Western States it comprises one of the most important agricultural products, and is used for the manufacture of syrup, of which it contains a very large per centage, while the seed is valuable for feeding live stock. There has been a steady increase in the acreage devoted to the crop, thereby increasing the available supply of the syrup made therefrom, which has become a staple article of diet, and finds ready sale at profitable prices. In a rough way it is estimated that the crop last year yielded not less than 25,000,000 gallons, and those who have been largely interested in marketing the product assert that it very much exceeds in quantity the production of cane molasses in the Southern States. Some improvement has been made in the method of extracting the juice from the cane and preparing it for market, but for a proper development of the industry the assistance of large capital is required. Experiments that bave been more or less successful from a scientific standpoint have been made in obtaining a crystallizable product from the juice, but thus far without practical results, so far as producing a merchantable article that could in any way take the place of the sugar of commerce. There is every probability, however, that these experiments may yet reach the desired object, and when this is accomplished, the production of sorghum syrup will become a better established industry, and its production will be carried on upon proper economic principles.
The glucose industry contributes a large proportion of the liquid sweets consumed in this country. It is the basis of all mixtures that are made from cane molasses, and is furthermore extensively used in the manufacture of beer and confectionery. Under the stimulus of keen competition the industry was over-expanded and over-productive, and for several years unremunerative prices was the result. The smaller factories were obliged to close up, and the larger ones finally resolved to form a combination for the purpose of controlling production and market values. Accordingly, in November last, all the factories in operation entered into an agreement by which production and price are now controlled. The unwillingness of manufacturers to give any information respecting their operations has made it quite impossible to obtain any reliable or definite estimate of the volume of production. The yield in 1885, when the factories were working as nearly full as possible, was roughly estimated at 25,000,000 gallons, but it is generally admitted that a smaller quantity was produced last year, probably not more than 15,000,000 gallons, which several good authorities regard as a conservative estimate.
According to the foregoing tables the total consumption of cane molasses amounted to 57,986,358 gallons, which is an increase of 16,623,315 over the previous year. As already intimated, the greater portion of this was re-boiled at the several establishments where these operations are carried on. The following is a detailed statement for each port in comparison with the previous two years :
The result of the year's operations is the largest on record, both as regards the number of hogsheads boiled and the product obtained therefrom. The sugar was wholly used by the refineries, the “black strap," or residuum, was exported, principally to France, for distilling purposes. Taking this fact into consideration, therefore, it is impossible to arrive at any reliable estimate as to how much of the supply of cane molasses was actually consumed in this country, for the exports as at present classified by the customs authorities include not only this product, but also a considerable portion of straight sugar syrup, which is the by-product of the sugar refiners, and corn syrup. The total export of domestic syrup of all kinds for the year amounted to about 9,000,000 gallons.
Taking into account the consumption of sorghum and glucose it seems fair to presume that the entire consumption of liquid sweets in the United States for the year 1886 was not less than 100,000,000 gallons.
With respect to the volume of the import trade in molasses of the several ports, Philadelphia holds the first place, because the more important branch of the molasses boiling industry is located in that city. New-York is second, and Boston and Portland, Me., show about the same results. It will be observed, however, that the importations of Porto Rico have been largest at Boston, and the bulk of this went direct into consumption, either straight or in an adulterated form. Baltimore, that one time was an important port of entry for foreign molasses, and also possessed a boiling establishment, has entirely relinquished her trade, and last year not a gallon was received from foreign ports.
The table of prices on page 19 shows the average value of boiling grades of Cuba molasses for 1886 to have been the lowest on record. The first purchases at the opening of the season were made at 241 cents, and some sales were effected as high as 25, but as supplies became more abundant, values commenced to decline, and from
June on to the end of the season ranged from 17 to 184 cents, the average for the year being 17.19. The average yearly price for other grades, with the exception of Porto Rico, is below that of
It is impossible to formulate a definite estimate of the prospective supply of molasses for 1887. It is dependent chiefly upon the yield of sugar crops of the Island of Cuba and the other near by West India Islands, while the quantity available for export is chiefly a question of market value. The yield of Cuba molasses comes entirely to the United States, and as the prospects of the sugar crop foreshadow a larger production than last year, the available supply of molasses exported will equal if it does not exceed that of 1886. Large contracts for forward delivery have already been made with the boiling establishments at all four ports on the basis of 20 @ 20 cents for 50° test, and an active boiling season is in prospect.
In the other West India Islands the sugar crop will probably equal that of last year, but shipments of molasses will depend to a considerable extent upon market values. The Louisiana market shows a large falling off compared with the previous yield.
TOE RANGE OF PRICES OF MOLASSES AT NEW-YORK MONTHLY DURING TIE
Average for the year,.
* Including old and new crop New Orleans.
THE COFFEE TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES.
Annual Review showing the Import and Consumption of Coffee
in the United States for the year ending December 31, 1886, (exclusive of California and Oregon.)
From Brazil direct.
2,064,869 Maracaibo, 232,109 Laguayra,
195,142 Cent'l America, 93,542 Savanilla,.
7.463 Island of Hayti, 105.787 Jamaica,
13.924 Porto Rico,
55.811 Other Europe, .. 20,791 Mexico, Africa,
and other for-
Total direct... 3,037,927 273,663
wise from Eastern ports,.. Southern ports, 13,486
Total receipts, 3,051,413 273,663
Total receipts in 1836,
.tons, 190,160 Total receipts in 1884,....tons, 176,776
118.916 in 1882,
163,358 .tons, 580
Increase in 1886,
Total packages received nt New-York in 1886,
Deduct stock, January 1, 1887,...
Increase in 1886,.
* Rio, 1,508.913 ; Santos, 431.121 ; Bahia, 35,105 ; Capitania, 79,347 ; and Ceara, 350.