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Nl A R K E T S.







TRADE REPORT. J The reports that have come in from the various manufacturing districts during the last week are gloomy indeed, and an examination of the Board of Trade returns for January in no way helps towards a more cheerful view. Everywhere prices of iron are going down, and the volume of business is decreasing. As compared with January, 1890, the total imports to this country show a decrease of 11.5 per cent, and the exports 8.1 per cent, while in iron and steel the decrease is no less than 27 per cent. This large decrease is due in part to the very severe weather which blocked several foreign ports, and to the exceptionally large volume of trade carried on in the early part of 1890, with which last month is compared, but this does not account for such a falling off as 27 per cent. The loss of trade is not confined to any single country, or group of countries, but extends to our dealings with Europe, Australia, South America, and North Amei ica. Trade is being still further disorganized by the unfortunate strikes now prevailing, more particularly in the shipping world, and these are being brought home to us by the struggle going on at Cardiff. It seems as if the Shipping Federation had made up its mind to put its back to the wall in defence of free labour, and it has not chosen the time badly. Freights are very low, and a recent advice states that no less than 100,000 tons of shipping are laid up in the Clyde alone. The point at issue between owners and workmen lies in a nutshell. The men want to compel every man to join the union, whether he likes it or not, and they are endeavouring to coerce the owners to take only men belonging to their union. The owners on the other hand say. No, it is no concern of ours whether a man belongs to a union or not,! as long as he is trustworthy and effieient, we will employ him." It is hardly necessary to point out what joss is inflicted upon trade by this fighting. A large steamer, the Maryland, came into Swansea last week to load tinplates for America, and because some of her crew wore ixon-ur-ionist the dockers r,fued to load her, and she has gone to America w;thoat her cargo. Shu) carries between 4,000 and 5,000 tons. Another steamer came into Swansea on .Monday. A unionist cr'w had signed articles in London, but on the way round discovered four Russian sailors on board, and in consequence efused to go to sea. The owners declined to discbarge the Russians, who had served them faith- fully for several years, and ultimately the English crew, finding they had placed themselves within measurable distance of the four walls of a gaol, thought better of it, and went to work. Upon what grounds, moral or commercial can such conduct as this be justified ? There is no thinking man but must admit, that if continued, it must be ruinous to the trade of the country. Prices still show a downward tendency, and buyers are only filling their requirements from hrnd to mouth, as they feel persuaded that wages and fuel must fall, and that prices will be lower than they are to-day. Hematite iron is nominally 50s 6d. Scotch is 46s 6d and Middlesborough 41s 6d, xcept in the Glasgow warrant stores, where there is naturally a decrease on account of the Scotch furnaces being still idle. Stocks are increasing, and makers' stocks are probably getting heavier. l'he demand for steel is very slack in rails next to nothing is doing, and bars are down quite 2s 6d, and, in some cases, nearly 5s fiom the prices rul- ing on Quarter day. Tinplates are firm, owing to exceptional causes, and last week's prices are main- tained. We do not hear so far from authentic sources at all events, that any tinplate works are being built in America; presumably American capitalists are afraid of political uncertainties as there is the democratic majority looming in th e distance. Already nctice has been given by a re- presentative from Kentucky to repeal the Mc'Kinley Act, but we cannot admit the slightest probability of this in the present House. Tin remains between .£90 and J291, but is without life, and there ii no great amount of business in copper.