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RELATIVE PRICES OF COMMODITIES FOR EACH MONTH, JANUARY, 1900, TO DECEM
BER, 1910, BY GROUPS-Concluded.
The course of prices, by months, from January, 1906, to December, 1910, as represented by all commodities, is shown clearly in the graphic table on page 329. The earlier years are omitted from the chart for lack of space.
The following table shows the movement in the wholesale prices of raw commodities and of manufactured commodities, month by month, from January, 1900, to December, 1910. A description of the
, two classes will be found on page 311.
RELATIVE PRICES OF RAW COMMODITIES, OF MANUFACTURED COMMODITIES, AND' OF ALL COMMODITIES FOR EACH MONTH, JANUARY, 1900, TO DECEMBER, 1910.
The course of prices of raw and manufactured commodities from January, 1906, to December, 1910, is shown, by months, in the graphic table which follows. The years 1900 to 1905 are omitted for lack of space.
INFLUENCES AFFECTING PRICES.
No attempt has been made to investigate the causes of the rise and fall of prices. The aim has been to give only the prices as they actually prevailed in the market and such summaries thereof as appear necessary. The causes are too complex, the relative influence of each too uncertain, in some cases involving too many economic questions, to permit their discussion in the present report. An enumeration of some of the influences that cause changes in prices may be of interest, however. Such influences include variations in harvest, which not only contract or expand the supply and consequently tend to increase or decrease the price of a commodity, but also decrease or increase, to a greater or less degree, the purchasing power of such communities as are dependent in whole or in part upon such commodity; changes in demand due to changes in fashions, seasons, etc.; legislation changing internal-revenue taxes, import duties, or bounties; inspection as to purity or adulteration; use of other articles as substitutes--as, for instance, an advance in the price of beef will cause an increased consumption of pork and mutton and, it may be added, a probable increase in the price of both pork and mutton; improvements in methods of production which will tend to give either a better article for the same price or an equal article for a lower price; cheapening of transportation or handling; speculative manipulation of the supply or of the raw product; commercial panic or depression; expanding or contracting credit; overproduction; unusual demand owing to steady employment of consumers; short supply owing to disputes between labor and capital in industries of limited producing capacity, as in the anthracite coal industry in 1902; organization or combination of mills or producers, thus enabling, on the one hand, a greater or less control of prices or, on the other hand, economies in production or in transportation charges through the ability to supply the article from the point of production or manufacture nearest the purchaser. No conclusion can be formed safely as to causes without an examination of the possible influence of several-in some cases, perhaps all-of these causes. For example, the various internal-revenue and tariff acts have, in a marked degree, no doubt affected the prices of proof spirits, of tobacco, and of sugar; but, on the other hand, they have not been alone in their influences, and it probably would not in all cases be accurate to give the change of tax or duty as representing the measure of a certain and definite influence on the prices of those commodities.