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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 63, no. 1627: May 20, 1899

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Kccoid and Guide T1553- ESTABUSHED^WRPHBW.'^iasa. Ckt&Ilf) TO n^EsrfJE.BuiLlHr^ A^nTCTUR^i{oUSEllOU>DEQa^lB4 BUSIWeSS AlblHEItES OfGESEft^l IKT0I^1« PblCi^ PER YEAR IN ADVANCE SIX DOLLARS Pultlished every Satttrday. Tbleihonb, Cobtlamst 1370. ■Coro muni cations should be addressed to C. W. SWEET, 14-16 "Vesey Street. J. 7. LrNDi,EY, B-UEmees Manager. "Entered at the Posl-QSice at New York, N. F., usstcond-class tntl'er." Vol. LXIIJ, MAY 20, 1899. No. 1,62T. BY the sudden death'of ex-Governor Flower liquidation was pre¬ cipitated in the stock market the usual orderof things speculative, should have occupied a week or two. Governor Flower was a very popular man and the accepted leader in a most lemarkable movement and his sudden loss so disorganized his following that its effects were much more serious to the market than were those of the death of either W. H. Vanderbilt or Jay <5ould. The severity of the liquidation, on Saturday and Monday last, explains the quick recovery in prices and subsequent strength seen since. It also affords some warrant for the belief, prevail¬ ing to a moderate extent, that a further advance is still possible. Having discounted the effects of the loss of the leader of the bulls, the market is likely to resume the course that the changed cir- ■cimistanees of the situation call for. These circumstances were mentioned last week and they must again become potent. It is not merely that the bull party has lost an able leader, who was an enthusiastic believer in the commercial and industrial future of this country and who could carry others with him, but there Is also nething in the outlook upon which to base a new bull movement. Everything in sight that has a favorable bearing on the situation has been most thoroughly discounted, while there are unfavorable features that have not had their full effect upon prices. I? there ie any importance at all in the Peace Congress at the Hague, Jt probably lies in the fact that it has been found pos¬ sible to get it together. During the present century several pro¬ posals for such a conference have been made, but had only a paper life. That delegates have been appointed and have met to exchange views on the all important questions involved in war, may not seem a very great step forward; but, in view of the im¬ possibility of going even so far in the past, it is a much greater advance towards a better understanding among nations than it appears to be on the surface. The assembling of the Peace Con- ,sress is the first practical acknowledgment of its advisability and necessity, and all good people will hope that its outcome will show some progress toward world-round amity. As regards the more matter of fact question of the condition of foreign business very little tbat is new can be said. It is still good and there are no appearances on the horizon that threaten its stability, even having recent events in China and in the Transvaal in mind. The latest news from the latter point rather confirms than dis¬ turbs the view expressed in these columns recently that events there were making toward a settlement of tbe difference between tbe "outlanders" and "inlanders." The English railroads have ■ot late been doing a good business, but the new business was not "very profitable. The result on 11 of the greatest roads there for the first four months of this year was that a large increase in sross earnings was almost wholly absorbed by increased wsrking expenses and prior charges, Cecil Rhodes' success in raising £3,000,000 ($15,000,000) to extend his South African railway is another illustration of the influence of the romantic in finance. He had nothing but his own opinion, that the Imperial govern¬ ment would eventually have to take over Rhodesia and compen- -sate the capital invested in its development, to support bis re¬ quest, and yet this large sum of money was secured without any laifficulty whatever, Tbis reliance on a "government's" future generosity is really quite touching. The Messrs. Aird have con¬ tracted to give the government thirty pr fifty years' credit for work done on the Nile, but under a distinct agreement as to pay- jnent at the end of the period; the shareholders of the British South Africa Company go them one better and give indefinite ■credit without any agreement whatever. Two sections, the Western and Central, of the Siberian railway, have been in oper¬ ation for several years and traffic on them is growing quite rapid¬ ly. The western section In 1898 carried 350,000 passengers aa against 160,000 in 1896 and 483,870 gross tons of freight as com¬ pared with 169,355 gross tons two years previously. The Cen¬ tral's passengers rose from 14,700 to 300,000 in the two years and the number of gross tons of freight from 16,339 to 177,420. Money having become easier at Berlin there is a revival of speculation there, but in Vienna the interest in quotable securities there that has not been killed by internal political difficulties finds its occu¬ pation iji handling German mining and shares, following, of course,'the Prussian capital's lead. The negotiation for an Argen¬ tine loan of $6,000,000 has failed. Some success has attended the contraction of the redundant Brazilian currency, $14,000,000 hav¬ ing been taken up and burned and the government's policy is to take up about $26,000,000 more in the course of the near future. Prom time to time vague reports have appeared of the pros¬ perity of Mexican business; these reports now receive confirma¬ tion through the excellent earning statements made by the Mexi¬ can railroads, ----------•---------- THE RISE IN THE PRICES OF BUILOING MATERIAL. ^^ HE past six months have witnessed quite a remarkabld ■^ rise in the price of building materials; so rapid has been this advance that it has naturally impressed builders very much, but it is really not so serious, all the circumstances considered, as it appears to be. As a matter of fact, we seem' to have got in oue short half-year the advances that would, under ordinary eircumstances, have been spread over a year and a half; thia movement has carried prices beyond their several records in any period since December, 1892. Low prices are the result either of excessive production or limited demand and sometimes of both together. It is generally the case that the rate to which pro¬ duction of materials is forced by high demand is maintained be¬ yond the period of extreme constructive activity, with the re¬ sult that the manufacturer finds he has on his hands a large amount of stock for which there is little or no call, and he haa in addition to continue manufacturing to some extent in order that he may keep bis plant in working order and his force to¬ gether. This state of things is unfortunate, but appears to be inevitable to the imperfect economical condition in which we live. A direct limitation of supply to demand has only been possible in very primitive communities. In modern times it ia brought about by a proce&s of natural adjustment of fat to lean years, in the first of which a great deal more is produced than can be consumed in them, and in the second the consuming pro¬ cess is completed. This process has been about completed in the past ten- yeara in the building trades in this country. For four or flve years prior to 1893 there was large consumption and correspondingly large production of materials carried beyond the moment of highest demaud, followed by a slow working up to a point of scarcity under reviving business. It must be remembered that the United States make the prices for New York City, which" has been, probably, tbe only point in the country where there has been any considerable building activity in the past five years and which has, therefore, benefited by the low prices of materials pre¬ vailing until last fall. It has, therefore, had the beneflt of low prices, even if it must pay proportionately more now that the demaud haa become general. The suddenness of the rise in the prices of building material is explained by the spontaneity of the whole industrial movement we are at present witnessing. By rights Lhe rise in prices should have begun last spring, but it was suppressed by tbe coming of the war, and, like most live things that are held back from any cause, it came with increased force as soon as the pressure was removed. For the purpose of showing what the advances have been, we have prepared the following table, covering the period beginning with the close of the last good times and ending with this issue. From this will also be seen tbe intervals taken to work declines and recoveries in the prices of the several classes of materials mentioned: Brick. Dec. '92. Dec, '93, Dec, '98, Apr. 27,-99. Pale merchaatable, per M,.?2.2fiaSi2.To $1.50 a$l,75 $4.00 S3,75aS4 On Jerseys ................. 5.0Ua 5.50 4,125 a 4,625 5.75 «00a 625 Up Kivers .............. 5.25a 5.75 4,25 a 4,875 ___ 600' Haverstraws, seconds ----- 5.2o& 5.375 4,375a 4.75 5.375 u'oo Haverstraws. firsts ...... 5.50a 5,75 4.S75a 5.125 5.50 u 50 Clioice cargoes .......... 5.S75a6.00 5.25 5,75 o'.G'J Cement. Rosendale, per bbl........ 1,00 ,95 a 1.00 S0.G5aS0,75 SO.SOaSO 95 porllaud, English......... 2.00a 2,25 2,00 a 2,25 2.00a 2.25 2 45a 2 05 PorUand, German " 2,00a 2,40 2,00 a 2,40 2.00a 2,65 2 ''5a 2'85 Portland. Belgian, " 2,00a 2,25 1.75 a 2,15 1,75a 2.15 2,00a 2!25 I.atb. Eastern spruce, slab..... 2.75 2,00 a 2.15 1.80a 2.00 2,40a 2,50 Luniber. Spruce, Eastern, special cargoes delivered N. T.. lS.0Oal0,OO 15.00 al5.50 15.00al7,50 IS.OOal!) 00 Random cargoes, narrow. 15.00al6,00 12,50 al3,50 13.00al4.25 l(i 00al7 50 Random cargoes, wide, .. 16.50al7.50 13.00 al4,00 14.50aie,00 17,00ai3,50 From this table it appears that this year has brought about a substantial advance all along the line, so that, with a few excep¬ tions, prices are as high now or higher than they were at the