The Ashburton Guardian. Magna est Veritas et Prævalebit. TUESDAY, JUNE 4, 1889. THE WHEAT MARKET.
The position and prospects of the wheat market are beginning to cause holders oi that cereal some uneasiness. The confident feeling that was almost nniversal at harvest time has gradually waned ; and the certainty then felt of obtaining 4s, or even 4s 6d a bushel, has given way to a desire to sell parcels of the ea»lities generally grown m this district at 8s 6d, which price is not forthcoming, except for Tuscan alone. Three months ago, prospects for New Zealand grain-growers were bright indeed. A bad harvest m England, diminished production m America, and an great deficit m Australia, united to make it appear that New Zealand farmers were masters of the situation. Some of them sent their wheat to market with all expedition, accepting the high prices which merchants were then payiag; but the majority preferred to store their wheat until still higher prices could be realised. This contingency now appears farther off than ever ; indeed, is only hoped for by a few of the most sanguine. The English yield turns out to have been of average quantity, though of vastly inferior quality, and English prices are so low as to discourage shipments from abroad. The Californian and Indian ■urplus, accordingly, is being diverted to Australia, and prices for JN'ew Zealand wheat m Sydney are goVerned by the price at which Californian can be delivered there. Thus we have the position of holding m stores between Waikari and Uamaru 750,000 sacks, equal to 8,000,000 bushels, of Canterbury-grown wheat, out of a total yield, according to the official estimates, of 5,531,000 bushels; that is to say that, including the quantity still on the farms, about two-thirds of the production of the province has yet to be disposed of. Still the situation is not altogether hopeless. The remaining surplus m America is small, and the new crop m India, is a very poor sample. Stocks m England aro very light, and with practically only Russia to draw upon values are expected to advance before harvest. Turning to Australia, Victoria will barely be able to hold out till next harvest, and prices are meantime maintained at the level at which importation from New Zealand is prohibited by the htavy duty, while Indian supplies are of no avail m the absence of the machinery required for cleansing the wheat from its many impurities, iff cw South Wales and Queensland will require before harvest a quantity m excess of the New Zealand surplus. Very little California wheat of the coming harvest can be landed jp Australia before September, and even allowing for the cargoes now on their way irom America to Sydney — which are more than counterbalanced by shipments from New Zealand to London — there can be no doubt that Australia will yet be glad to take ajl the wheat we can spare, and that at prices somewhat. better than are now obtainable. Famine prices we do not expect, and Sydney millers -*. and, we may say, New Zealand merchants— have found San Franoisco to be near enough to keep prices down to a certain level. The position is— Australia must have a certain quantity of wheat within a certain time, and jcapnofc get that quantity within that time, at * reasonable price, except by coming to New Zealand for the greater' part of jt. Therefore we would counsel holders pf wheat not to dfl -*ir of the fature, bat »t ]thp game £!!*"* "^de* whether the advance m time to 00i... • ...^ > n than prices to be anticip... - -£1™ j n . compensate for the cost ot t... ' -.", tercet, insurance, and other charge which will accrue while the market is making the much-desired improvement.