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PARIS, November 30, 1877. (Received January 10, 1878.) Report upon the commerce, agriculture, and industries of France for the
year 1876, and for the year ending June 30, 1877.
Pursuant to consular instructions, I have the honor to submit my report for the year ending December 31, 1876, as officially made up from the French government's report and statistical tables, also my report for the year beginning July 1, 1876, and ending June 30, 1877, with tables of the general import and exports of France with all nations (official returns for which will not be made up until December 31, 1877), and tables of the declared exports to the United States for this consulategeneral, and also for it and all the consulates under its jurisdiction.
The movement of the general commerce for France, for the year end. ing December 31, 1876, is estimated, for imports and exports combined, $1,891,200,000, being an iucrease of $37,600,000 on the preceding year. The general imports have been $981,760,000, being 889,400,000 increase over the preceding year. The exports bave been $909,500,000, being a decrease of $51,800,000 as compared with 1875.
The summary for the year 1876 is as follows :
Cereals.—The movement inward and outward of grain and flour has given an excess of imports of 2,935,000 quintals, while in 1875 there had been an excess of 1,173,000 quintals in exports. This difference is attributable principally to the fact that the crop of 1875 was a poor one; the crop of 1876, exceptional as to quality, has only been a medium one as to quantity.
Wines. The crop has been of 41,848,000 hectoliters—just about one. half that of the preceding crop, which was 83,632,000 hectoliters. Com. paring the results of 1875, the import of wines has increased in 1876 by 410,000 hectoliters, and the exports have decreased by about 300,000 hectoliters. The production of alcohol has fallen off by 140,000 hecto. liters. The imports have not varied materially. The exports have, however, increased by 50,000 hectoliters.
Line stock.-Owing to the poor crop of forage, the imports of bovine, ovine, &c., especially from Germany and Italy, have been more considerable during 1876.
Oleaginous grains.-Notwithstanding the poor crops, and though the imports have been large, they are not so large as in 1875. The same may be said of the exports.
Oils.--Transactions in oils have been weak, although the inferiority of the crop would have seemed to do otherwise. Prices have given way under the large stock of the old crop stored in Paris.
Coffee.—There has been an increase of about 1 per cent. in the consumption over 1875. The average prices have, however, been in a small degree lower than in 1875.
Sugars.—The manufacture of sugars in 1876 has decreased nearly one-half-being 230,000,000 kilograms—wbich bas caused a marked rise in prices, and this has been the more so owing to the large deficit in the imports from foreign parts, amounting to some 150,000,000 of kilo. grams.
Fisheries.—There has been an increase in the catch of this year over 1875, both in codfish and herrings, and sales have been made at higher prices with much demand, and stocks bave been quickly taken up. The sardine catch has also been better than in 1875. The oyster crop has been good, but prices have had a declining tendency.
Coals.-The exports show an increase over 1875 of 300,000 tons.
Petroleum.-Imports of petroleum oils increased some 19,000 tons over 1875, with 30 per cent. increase in crude oils and 35 per cent. in refined.
Minerals and iron-trade.-These trades bave been less prosperous in 1876 than daring preceding years. The manufacture of steel rails bas not decreased and remains about the same, also the manufacture of household utensils. Iron and sheet-iron goods show an increased export of 3,689 tons, among which iron bridges, lock-gates, and the larger bardware appear for 1,513 tons.
Tertiles.—The deficiency in the production of cocoons in the East, Spain, and Italy, and France caused a rise in prices, which has been exaggerated by speculation. Prices, after having risen about 100 per cent. in July, fell in the last month of the year. Notwithstanding this state of affairs, the exports of silk goods amounted to $59,200,000 in 1876.
The woolen trade has not been very prosperous; there bas been a marked increase in the export of mixed goods manufactured in Lyons and Roubaix.
The import of straw.hemp, which of late years had been on the increase, fell off, in 1876, to about one-half that of 1875. The crop of last year having been very poor both as to quantity and quality, transactions have been limited.
Unbleached linens have risen about 3 per cent. in price, while the bleached have given way, particularly in the higher grades.
Cotton goods remain about the same as last year.
Dye-stuffs.-The increase of chemical dye-stuffs has been prejudicial to coloring matters to a marked degree; however, some articles, such as lichens, dye-woods, cochineal, &c., have been in good demand.
Scientific instruments, watches, dc. --The trade in these articles bas given good results, and prices bave generally held their own, with an increasing demand.
Glassware and pottery.-Porcelains of the finer grades have given an increased export of about $200,000 over 1875. In pottery there has been a decrease in the imports of about 1,000,000 kilograms, while there has been a slight increase in export.
Navigation.—The tonnage of foreign and French bottoms entering French ports in 1876 was, for sailing-ships and steamers, whether between France and it's colonies, bank fisheries, or with foreign ports, 14,434,000 tons, which, compared with 1875, gives au increased tonnage of 664,000 tons. French bottoms entered into this total to 36 per cent., viz, 15,407 vessels, equal to 1,011,285 tons, 91,527 crew, and 3,611 me. chanicians and stokers.
The following table gives the details :
Customs receipts.—The customs revenue for the year 1876 amounted to $57,934,819, composed as follows: Duties:
249, 397, 044 Outward.
273, 872 Statistics
5,939, 426 Navigation....
5, 180, 358 Duties and accessory products
3, 561, 281 Salt tax....
25, 322, 115 Total
289, 674, 096 This shows an increase over the total receipts of 1875 of $4,353,221, and with special reference to entering duties the excess is $4,187,841.
Budget. The proposed budget of 1877 was as follows:
Although the general results of the budget show an excess of expenses of 288,382 francs, the finance commission has uot hesitated to propose its ratification, in the belief that so small an excess will disappear by the probable increase of normal receipts. The whole budget is as follows:
2,672, 140, 530 Expenses
2, 667, 296, 751 Excess...
4,843, 779 This excess, although not large, is favorable.
Railways.—The traffic receipts have been on the increase, being $171,741,433 against $167,881,689 for 1875. The new line extension bas been of 557 kilometers, equal to 346 miles.
Population. The census of 1876, which should embrace five years, has, owing to the disasters of 1871, only extended over a period of four years. The census of 1872 gave 36,102,921 souls. According to the census of 1876 there were 36,905,788 inhabitants, as follows: Single males, 9,805,761; married males, 7,587,259; widowers, 980,619; total males, 18,373,639; unmarried females, 8,944,386; married females, 7,567,080; widows, 2,620,683; total females, 18,532,149; grand total, 36,905,788.
By comparison with last census the population has increased since 1872 by 802,867 inhabitants, or about 2.17 per cent. This includes the Alsatians and Lorrains, who elected after the war for France, and came and settled here after 1872. This increase is equivalent to the medium increase of the quinquennial periods of the last half century, leaving out the territory annexed or ceded in that time. The increase of 1876 has been higher in the female sex, viz:
17, 980, 476
18, 373, 639
The largest increase has been in cities of over 30,000 souls, showing how powerful are the attractions of great cen ters. The general health throughout the country has been good, no epidemic having prevailed. The year 1876 may be summed up as not being a bad one for France.
For the first six months of 1877, I summarize as follows:
Cereals.--As the thrashing progresses, it is found that the anticipated deficit is even greater than anticipated. There can be no further doubt that this year's crop, as a whole, is one of greater mediocrity than we have had in a long time. As yet the exact amount of the deficiency cannot be correctly given, but all indicates that in view of the weak returns an import of 12,000,000 or 15,000,000 hectoliters of grain will be necessary to meet the demand for consumption, a large proportion of which will bave to be drawn from the United States, as the Black Sea ports are closed by the Eastern war. Prices will undoubtedly rule high, the more so as the quality of the new crop is decidedly poor, and there will be considerable difficulty to get seed-wheat.
Hay.--The hay crop is very abundant, affecting only in a secondary degree human alimentation (such as production of weat, butter, cheese, &c.) as well as giving animal motive power at a low rate.
The grape crop.—The grape crop promises well, the vines looking healthy, and are heavily laden, and that dreaded scourge, the Phylloxerii, seems to be on a marked and real decline.
Industries.- Industrial productions have so far not fared worse than the agricultural, notwithstanding the American and Oriental crises. A rather sharp renewal of trade in iron and castings has shown itself. In many manufactories and workshops the orders on hand have been satisfactory in opening the yearly campaign.
Sugars.—There has been manufactured about 245,000,000 kilograms this year as against 463,000,000 the year before, being a decrease of 218,000,000 kilog rams. This enormous deficit is counterbalanced by the reduction in the export demand and in the consumption to 234,000,000 kilograms, instead of 312,000,000 kilograms, which is an economy of 208,000,000 kilograms, so that the general stock on hand was 44,000,000 kilograms against 54,000,000, giving only a difference of 10,000,000 with the stock at the same period of preceding year. This situation is not a favorable one, and prices would have ruled as before if a foreign demand had not come to ligbten the stocks by important and persistent purchases. This export movement, jointly with a demand for refining, combined with the late opening of the refineries, has caused a material rise in prices. The stock of raw sugar in warehouses at Paris is 228,000 bags as against 109,000 in 1876 at same period.
Silk.-By the statistical returns of the silk production in France this year, it appears that this production has been largely on the increase over 1876. The total crop in 1877 has been for the French deparments 6,783,000 kilograms of cocoons, while in 1876 it was only about 2,396,385 kilograms; yellow cocoons appearing in this amount for 5,693,000 kilograms. This increase has been more particularly important in the southern departments, especially Provence, Du Comtat, and the Bas Languedoc. The growers of these regions attribute these satisfactory results to the climatic influences, which have been particularly good this year, and to the better quality in the past few years of the germs for production.
The budget.—The budget of 1878, as presented by Mr. Leon Say, minister of finances, realizes important ameliorations, and lays ground for others still more so. By it the postal reform becomes an accomplished fact in 1877, provided the rates of 20 and 10 centimes in lieu of 25 and 15 centimes have been gone back to for interior postage and the correct tax of 25 centimes instead of 30 centimes charged now for the exterior is adopted. If France conseuts to these reductions of tariff, she will come to the postal congress, which is to meet at Paris in 1878, under the most favorable conditions. A reduction is also proposed on the slow railway traffic, now taxed at 5 per cent., to 4 per cent., or a grad. uated reduction of 1 per cent. per annum until it is done away with; this reduction will be of about 4,443,000 francs. The suppression of the tax on matches, which had raised great difficulties by opening the door to fraud on a large scale, for which the means of repression have failed; the abolition of the tax on the manufacture of soap and duties on oils, are also proposed. These taxes on manufactures, by sapping its wealth at the spring, are the most injurious to commercial and national wealth, and should be made to disappear. The tax on soap has given large scope to fraud. The tax on oils is on the one hand injudiciously levied, and on the other of difficult application to the producing countries. After making these reductions, the budget balances by an excess which, although not large, is, however, a true excess, amounting to 5,811,091 francs ($1,162,218), viz:
By this budget 31,709,000 francs will have been applied to reform conditions, and 49,368,751 francs ($9,873,750) for new expenses (includ. ing 10,000,000 francs for the Exposition of 1878) go to make up the surplus of the actual revenue of the budget of 1876, which was 86,888,842 francs ($17,377,768).
Declared exports.—The statement showing the annual declared ex. ports (accompanying this report) to the United States for the four quarters ending on the 30th of September, 1877, at this consulategeneral, shows an increase over the previous year.
Tables of special exports and special imports to and from all countries, as made up from official returns of the French custom-house (the monthly record), show a decrease of exports under last year. The difference between imports and exports for the first six months of this year and of last six months of 1876 is not so very large. This relatively good state of affairs is partly caused by the laborious activity throughout the country, although the political state of affairs bas tended to produce a most unsettled feeling, and one of not a little anxiety; added to wbich the war in the East, the famine in India, and the American crisis have materially influenced business and trade. The important commerce of France with the East, and the Russian and Danubian provinces, is at a stand-still owing to the war, and she therefore bears as well as other nations the stagnation of trade caused by the war with the interior of Russia, the Baltic, the Black Sea, Turkey, and even Egypt.
Compared with other countries, the state of business and trade in France must be considered as satisfactory, and it is extraordinary that after so many trials, and in the midst of difficulties of all kinds, wars,