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Business & Finance: Index

3 minute read

Hope engendered by the Moratorium and the Moratorium Market on world exchanges failed to find reflection in important business indicators up to last week. Important straws showed that Depression’s ill-winds were not yet blown out.

National Automobile Chamber of Commerce estimated June production at 254,000 units, a drop of 27% from June last year. Output for the first six months is set at 1,632,000, or 29% below last year. General Motors Corp. last week reported June sales to U. S. consumers were 103,303 against 97,318 in June last year, marking the first month to show a gain. The increase is believed to have been at the expense of other companies, particularly Ford.

Steel production last week was running at 33% of capacity against 64% in the same week last year. Iron Age indicated that July will probably mark the turning point in this important index. Pig-iron production during June dropped to the lowest level of any month since February 1922. Fourteen blast furnaces were blown out, leaving 91 in operation, the lowest number since December 1921. Steel ingot production for the first six months averaged 98,442 tons a day against 152.120 in the first half of 1930. United States Steel Corp. entered July with unfilled orders of 3.479,323 tons, a drop of 3.9% from June, 12.3% from a year ago.

Car-loadings for the week ended June 27 came to 759,290 cars, a decrease of 18.9% from the same week last year. The decrease however compared favorably to the 19% decrease shown by the previous week over the same period last year. Loadings for the first 26 weeks were 18.2%, under the same period in 1930, 25.9% under busy 1929.

Metal prices worked lower. Copper went back to its record low of 8¢. June statistics, issued last week, showed stocks of copper at a new high for the third successive month. They stood at 413,000 tons against 398,000 at the end of May, 316,000 a year ago, 45,000 in October 1928. It was understood that differences of opinion over the proposed copper tariff have caused all production agreements to be abandoned.

Crude Oil seeped down to new price levels, selling as low as 10¢ a barrel, with top prices at 22¢. Frightened oilmen launched a producers’ strike. In Wichita. Kan. independent operators voted to close down about 22,000 wells, declared that prices were under cost of production. In the Oklahoma City field 13 companies with a potential output of more than 2,000,000 barrels daily followed suit.

Blamed for the situation were weak proration laws and the trying tactics of big refining companies in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Proration laws in Pennsylvania prevented prices from sinking more than 15¢ last week, bringing crude oil to $1.35 a barrel.

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