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ANNUAL REPORT ON DRUGS FOR THE YEAR 1860.
By Wood & NICHOLS.
At the commencement of the year a political excitement threatened to destroy the business that usually begins with the Southern buyers. Improvement, however, soon after took place, and trade continued good through the remainder of the season. Considerable fluctuation marked the revival; speculations were rampant, and in many articles higher prices were reached than had been known before in our market. The advance in freights—which, particularly at China and the East Indies, had been sudden and great—short supplies and an easy money market favoring speculative operations, were among the causes which contributed to the result. The business of the spring was as satisfactory as could reasonably have been expected. Anticipations of an enlarged western trade were in a great measure realized. Although not large, it was considered more healthy and promising than it had been for several years. Closing with the near-by trade, the usual quiet that attends the summer months succeeded. The political troubles in Italy stimulated many articles of her produce, some of which became scarce in the market, and purchases for future delivery were made freely at advanced rates. East India goods continued to command high prices, in consequence of the advancing rates of freights enhancing cost and checking shipments. China goods also appreciated, owing to the hostilities on her border.
Early in the summer, uneasiness was created among houses doing an exclusively Southern business, by unfavorable accounts from that section; there was a growing conviction that her ability to pay had been weakened by speculation, and that in consequence of free purchases for several seasons, her wants would not be large; not only was the hope of selling her merchants during the approaching season abandoned, but embarrassment was threatened to those who had urged the trade beyond its requirements and overstocked her markets upon easy credit. The principal business of the fall season was done with the West. The trade of this section since 1857 has been circumscribed by the slow process of recuperation, made necessary by the troubles into which she was plunged by the revulsions of that year. By retrenchment and careful purchases she has been steadily advancing to that position which her resources and energy entitle her; our merchants have been fretted by the delay, and each successive crop has been relied upon for the final liquidation of her indebtedness. The opportunity to burst the bonds that held her in distrust and prejudice finally came; a harvest of unparalleled magnificence was vouchsafed to her, and almost simultaneously a deficiency in the European crops was announced ; an impulse was given to trade such as had not been felt before for years, but the improvement was shortlived; the development of extraordinary elements of prosperity was suddenly checked by a panic. The stagnation which succeeded and continued through the year contrasted painfully with the bustle and activity at the opening of the season.
In estimating the extent of the drug business in our market, there are obstacles which prevent an accurate exhibit of the whole amount of transactions; many drugs imported into other cities are sold here, and besides what is sold out of town, direct by importing and commission houses, a portion of their business is engrossed in the jobbing trade. The whole amount of the latter, for 1860, we find to be $9,185,000, a small increase over 1859.
Our jobbers do not confine themselves exclusively to the sale of drugs, and the above includes other business, such as paints, oils, fancy goods, &c. As the requirements of the toilet, of the nursery and many domestic wants growing out of a luxurious and progressing civilization, fall legitimately within the range of the pharmaceutical business, the jobbers are, to some extent, forced to deal in these articles. In the increase and development of the business, the combination of auxiliary trade is being gradually abandoned, and paints, oils, window glass, dye stuffs and fancy goods have grown to large and separate interests.
In the manufacture of chemicals we notice considerable growth, and abundant evidence is shown that this department is destined to reach a prominent position here. The principal articles manufactured are acids, sulph, ammonia, quinine, blue vitrol, preparations of soda, agricultural chemicals
, photographic do., fine chemicals, &c. Inconsequence of the impurities in the foreign manufacture, our druggists are getting to distil their own oils, such as cloves, cummin, caraway, &c. Greater attention is being given to the purity and worth of drugs. The manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations is estimated at $100,000.
The following articles were scarce during the year, and consequently commanded higher prices: Cardamon seeds, vanilla beans, cummin seed, balsam copaiba and tolu, cubebs, senna, argols, saffron, assafætida, nutgalls
, Rochelle salts, cantharides, rhubarb and jalap. Tartaric and citric acids, to some extent, were controlled by speculative movements; cubebs held at extreme rates, and vanilla beans were almost entirely out of the market. A speculative movement advanced the price of liquorice paste to 34 cents; good brands were scarce. Owing to the Italian troubles al most all of the goods from that quarter have been in irregular supply at higher prices. Many of the essential oils appreciated under speculative prices. Owing to the reduced stock of Peruvian bark both in ours and the English markets, quinine has been in speculative demand throughout; at one time price was held at $1 80, afterwards receded to $1 25. Ginseng has been in good demand at higher prices. Calisaya bark, that was sold at 75 cents early in the year, afterwards brought $1 10; varnish gums of all kinds have improved materially. Gum arabic was in better demand towards the last, and Rio ipecac has been scarce.
Alcohol-Commenced the year at 62 cents, an extreme price created by a reduced stock of whiskey, with an export movement in breadstuffs. Receipts were large in February, and market receded to 48, with a moderate demand, and continued with slight fluctuations through March. A further decline commenced next month and continued until September, when it had reached 40 cents. The grain movement stimulated prices, and sales were made at 47. It gradually fell off at the close; during the last month was very irregular from 35 to 40; closing in good demand at 37 cents.
Ashes. Pot have been in moderate demand throughout the year at
remarkably uniform prices, averaging but a fraction under $5 25. Last year's average price was $5 46. Pearl have been in fair demand, but receipts have been irregular and prices have, in consequence, fluctuated, averaging for the year $5 54. Last year it was $5 75.
STOCK OF ASHES JANUARY 1, 1861.
Pot. 346 85 16 7
23,565 Beeswax commenced at 38, with a scarcity and fair demand; ply increased price fell off to 34 cents, but afterwards recovered in consequence of smaller receipts. A good demand carried prices to 37 cents. Shipments had been large and stock had accumulated abroad, and as demand fell off, market again yielded, and continued at about 35 cents until the close, when, in consequence of the panic, was sold at 30 cents, with a fair demand at this rate; average price for the year, 35cents; for the previous year, 36 cents.
Bi-Carb. Soda has for the most part been depressed. A speculative movement, early in the season, embracing about 40,000 kegs, caught the market at $3 75 and carried it to $4 25; heavy arrivals afterwards weakened the market and price gave way. Early in the fall another movement resulted in carrying prices from $3 35 to $3.95, but market was again depressed by heavy importations and price fell off to $3 627. During the last month it was dull, and nominal sales for cash were made at 2 cents; average price for the year, 31 cents; previous year, 43 cents. IMPORTS OF CHEMICALS FOR THE YEARS 1859 AND 1860. 1859.
1860. Soda ash,....
$441,593 Camphor.—The reports of a short supply in the producing districts, and small stocks here and in London, induced a strong speculative feeling, which resulted in carrying the price up to 60 cents, but this inflated value was rapidly reduced by subsequent reports of better supply. The market rallied at 35 cents, and prices rose to 45 cents, where it remained for the most part until the close. Last sales were made at 40 cents; average price for the year, 42 cents.
Castor Oil.—The year opened with a dull market at $1 024; supply ample and demand small. The advance in freights, at Calcutta, soon after stiffened the market; price advanced to $1 10 and was supported through the spring. As stock accumulated and demand subsided, price declined to $1. A movement was started at this point, and price was carried to $1 20, and was for a time sustained by a few operators who held the principal stock. The trade bought sparingly, and gradual concessions brought the price back to $1, at which it closed, except for small parcels ; average price for the year, $1 08}; in 1859, $1 25.
Imports of castor oil from Calcutta into the United States for the year ending December 31, 1860, 7,176 cases, or 143,520 galls. In 1859, 8,846 cases, or 176,920 galls., showing a decrease in 1860 of 1,670 cases, or 33,400 galls. Besides the imports of oil, about 40,000 galls. have been crushed from Calcutta beans by one of our manufacturers. We estimate the year's supply, from all sources except the West, including stock in speculators' hands January 1, 1860, at 222,000 galls. Stock on hand January 1, 1861, Boston and New-York, East India, 3,500 cases; same time in 1860, 1,500 cases. The last crop of beans at the West was better than for two years previous.
Cream Tartar.—This article has been a favorite with speculators for the last two years. Commencing at 31 cents early in the year, it was carried to 38 cents under operations based upon a small stock and advance of price abroad. Increased shipments afterwards resulted in lower prices, and a gradual falling off succeeded until the close. The impression became general that the supply of this article would be greater in consequence of the extreme prices. Buyers held off and market yielded; sales were made at 30ļ early in the autumn. Holders said the price was below the cost of importation, and a speculative movement left the market firm at 321. During the last month some concession was made; average price for the year, 34 cents; in 1859, 29} cents.
Indigo.--Market was but moderately supplied, particularly with East India descriptions, and prices were well sustained for all kinds; demand fair, and for very good grades large prices were obtained. Central American descriptions have been scarce.
ESTIMATED STOCK IN IST AND 2D HANDS JANUARY 1st, 1861. Manilla,...
Guatemala,... Other East India,
140 chests. Caraccas,..
1 In 1860, Manilla,..... Imports from Calcutta, as follows:
1,107 At New York,
367 At Philadelphia,
167 Oils.-A gradual improvement in Linseed carried the price from 57 to 62} cents in the spring; supply increased and price fell off to 57; demand continued fair, market recovered, and maintained a pretty firm tone for a while at 60 cents. In the summer, demand subsided and the market gradually declined. During the last month it was offered at 48 cents. Average price for the year, 58 cents; in 1859, 62 cents.
3 400 cases,
Opium.-A decline at the commencement of the year was intercepted by speculative purchases based upon the limited supply, and price improved from $5 75 to $6. As stock became still more reduced, price rapidly advanced to $7 50. As trade diminished, market yielded. As usual in the summer, jobbers demanded a concession in view of the receipt of a new crop early in the fall. About ten cases were sold at $5 50, but stock having been reduced to about thirty cases, market rallied, and price rose to $6 ; buyers continued to hold off and holders conceded. The first lot of the new crop arrived early in September, but not coming in as freely as was expected, after reaching $5 25, an improved demand stimulated holders, and price was again carried to $6. As demand subsided, market fell, and last sales were made at $5 25. Average price for the year, $6 08; in 1859, $6 43.
Stock on hand in New York January 1st, 1860,........
Stock in New-York January 1st, 1861,...
Amount and value of opium imported from June 1st, 1859, to June 1st, 1860 :
ROY TURKISH Ports.
Saltpetre.—In consequence of advices from Calcutta reporting a contemplated increase of the export duty on this article, a speculative movement was started, and prices advanced from 8} early in the year, and, with a market almost bare of good qualities, was carried to 10 @ 104 cents. The rapid advance in freights at Calcutta, and consequent prospective short supply, induced manufacturers to buy freely both on the spot and to arrive. Appreciation followed, and although shipments improved, prices were well sustained by the unusually limited supply and the greatly enhanced cost to import. Good qualities became scarce, and several lots were brought out from England which sold at 11 @ 114; some choice lots on the spot brought 114. In view of larger receipts in the autumn, holders to arrive evinced some anxiety to sell, and some concessions being made, manufacturers again came forward and took all the lots afloat for this market from Calcutta, England and Hamburg, at 104 @ 11 cents. Appreciation succeeded, and good parcels sold in a small way at 11} @ 12 cents. As stock accumulated later in the season, with no buyers, depreciation followed, and the market closed nominally at 94 @ 10 cents.