Page:The Bank of England and the State, 1905.djvu/29

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The Bank of England and the State.

But compare the stock of bullion held here with those of foreign nations. ln October, 1905, they were as follows:

England Gold £34,629,000
France Gold 118,483,000
Silver 44,105,000
Germany Gold and Silver 36,611,000
Austria-Hungary Gold 45,543,000
Silver 12,238,000
Russia Gold 91,103,000
Silver 5,166,000
United States Treasury Gold 147,000,000

It is hardly surprising that, considering the enormous transactions of daily commercial life and the ever increasing financial transactions taking place between nation and nation, our Money Market is subject to sudden and large fluctuations, and that movements of gold, in themselves insignificant when compared with the total turnover, affect monetary conditions to a degree which must be injurious to the commerce and credit of the nation.

What is a matter of surprise is how smoothly, on the whole, the system has worked. Yet it has been shown by Mr. Palgrave how sensitive our market is; the number of variations in the rate of discount in the decade ending 1900 was 55 in the case of the Bank of England; 9 in the case of the Bank of France; 36, Bank of Germany; 23, Bank of Holland; and 13, Bank of Belgium: the total amount of variations from 1844-1900 was 400 in the case of the Bank of England, compared with 111 in the Bank of France. From 1901 onwards there has been absolutely no change in the rate of the Bank of France, whereas we have had 17 changes during that time; a state of affairs hardly consistent with our position as the financial centre of the world: and only caused by the necessity of taking immediate steps to raise the rate of discount whenever even a comparatively small amount of gold is exported.

I have remarked before that commercial crises must be