Prospects of the Iron Trade.
There are at last gleams of hope in the prospects of the iron trade. With the e x ‘ ception of the output there has at last come an equalisation to the demand, and this brings a sounder state of the tradeThe exports to Germany, checked by the imposition of heavy duties, are now beginning to recover, and as prices of iron and articles of iron rise in Germany, the imports of our iron will be raised to their normal height. The American demand has shown a sadden increase, but this is one which cannot be relied upon as permanent, and all that it can be relied upon to do is to lessen the stocks of British iron and to yield a few orders for rails, either under exceptional circumstances or for parts of that continent to which Great Britain is relatively as near as the iron producing regions of the United States. It is the opinion of some qualified to judge that under no circumstances, not even with a repeal of the protective duties, would the United States become a large and continuous customer to us for iron goods: for it is increasing its own productive resources so fast that it will speedily be able to supply itself with all its needs, except in periods of such intense demand as set in occasionally, when the completion of railway lines for bounties, or from suddenly-developed traffics, becomes necessary. There is a steady growth in the shipment of iron to France and Spain, as as well as to one or two other countries, though it is too much in the shape of pig iron. In other words we are supplying more material in its crude form to these countries ; and, though it is satisfactory to notice a growing trade, it would be much more so if it wore a trade in manufactured goods, and less in the materials for manufacture. Generally it may be said that wages have arrived at the lowest attainable level ; and, though economies in other directions may be to a slight extent practicable, yet it is the lower price and tlie lessened cost of transport, coupled with the recovery of some nations from financial crises, which are now bringing about the first symptoms of recovery in the trade.
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