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Cause of the American Demand for Flax.

Mr H. P. Barber, an Auckland merchant who returned from America by the last trip of the Zealandia, gave the following information to an Auckland reporter :—“ The secret of the rise in flax,” he said, “ is a ‘ corner : in sisal hemp grown in Mexico. The largest of the cordage companies there have formed themselves into a ‘ trust,’ and they cornered those who make binder twine. The latter thereupon combined, and bought up all the sisal available for the year, and then put up the price about double the usual rate. That made a wonderful difference to all those who used binder machines, and the result was that in some part of the Western States binder machines are not used at all. The farmers are using in their stead what they call headers—large machines which are driven through a field of wheat, taking off the tops and leaving the stubble behind. Flax ordinarily costs more than sisal. The sisal fibre is not so long as that of New Zealand flax, but, owing to the corner in sisal, it could not be got at all when I was in the States; New Zealand flax was being used in its stead. As to whether the demand for flax will remain good for another year is an open question. The cordage companies do not know whether, having once used New Zealand flax as a substitute for sisal, they may not continue to do so. They complain bitterly of the quality of some of the New Zealand flax ; useless ends that never should be sent being included in the shipments.”

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Cause of the American Demand for Flax., Issue 7909, 17 May 1889

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Cause of the American Demand for Flax. Issue 7909, 17 May 1889

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