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HATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK OF…

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HATIONAL PROVINCIAL BANK OF ENGLAND, LIMITED. Mr M 0 Fitzgerald, presiding at the annual meeting held in London on Monday, said that a year ago they were looking for- ward to a continuance-for some time at any rate-of the grpat activity of trade, to a scarcity of capital, and to high rates for money. These expectations bad not been disappointed. In spite of the protracted war in the Near East and the civil wars in Mexico and China, and the serious political position at home, the year 1913 had been one of the most prosperous commercially that the country had ever known. All in- dustries had shared in the activity profits had been good, though not as high as in 1912, in the shipping world especially, and wages had been raised to the highest level recorded. In the second half of the year there bad been a sensible falling off, and this was perhaps only to be expected, look- ing at the scarcity of capital which became very pronounced when the usual harvest demands of the world made themselves felt. Indeed, this scarcity of capital bad been the dominant feature of the money market of 1913, and was the effect of various causes, the chief no doubt being three years of active trade and the consequent commercial demands and high prices. A further cause was the political situation on the Continent, leading as it did to the hoarding of money by individuals and to the strengthening of their gold reserves by the great Continental banks and in a less degree by British bankers. The Reichsbank and the Bank of France alone increased their gold holdings by no less than £ 32.000,000. India also continued to use gold in increasing quantity, as was disclosed by the fact that in 1912-13 the railways received payment in gold to the amount of upwards of f,1,000,000, compared with £ 345,000 in 1910-11. This country had happily been less under the influence of the Continental tension, and we had lent money as freely in 1913 as in the two pre- vious years. Turning to the business of the Bank, the accounts showed a steady con- tinued progress. The deposits had increased by about £ 2,000.000. and the high rates for money which had ruled throughout the year bad enabled them to eara larger profits. Once again the picture was marred by the further depreciation in securities. There had been a rapid recovery since the close of the year, and the Bank's securities were now at such a level that with the return of a more normal money market they should constitute an important addition to its reserves. With regard to the future, the feigns were not altogether unfavourable. There appeared likely to be a strong demand for new capital throughout the year, and with savings accumulating less rapidly there should be sufficient employment for the Bank's funds at lower, though still, they might hope, fairly remunerative rates. The report was unanimously adopted.

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