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Commodity Prices

Volume 462: debated on Monday 14 March 1949

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asked the Minister of Food whether he will give the peak prices quoted since the war; the prices twelve months ago; and the prices ruling today upon the United Kingdom market for the following commodities: wheat,

Price at March, 1948Price at March, 1949Peak Price since the war
Wheat (home-grown millable wheat sold by a person other than grower).101per cwt.141per cwt141per cwt
Maize (price charged by dealer to farmer).1000per ton1026per ton1026per ton
Rye (home-grown rye sold by person other than grower).192per cwt.136per cwt.136per cwt.
Linseed (price paid by Ministry merchant for home-grown linseed).45150per ton55150per ton55150per ton
Linseed oil (Ministry selling price)20000per ton17000per ton20000per ton
Lard (Ministry release price and price at which bacon factories sell).4100per cwt.4100per cwt.4113per cwt


(Prices delivered buyer's premises)

Price at March, 1948Price at March, 1949Peak Price since the war
Copper (high conductivity electrolytic)£132 per long ton£140 per long ton£140 per long ton
Lead (good soft pig)£90 per long ton£123 per long ton£123 per long ton
Tin (common)£519 per long ton£569 per long ton£569 per long ton
English refined tin is £3 10s.0d. per long ton higher than common tin.

maize, rye, linseed, linseed oil, lard, copper, lead, tin, rubber and hides.

As the reply involves a table of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Is the Minister aware that the United Kingdom prices prevailing today for a number of commodities are considerably in excess of world prices and are they not due to the Minister holding up prices to recover the loss on dear contracts; and may we have an assurance that no further contract without an escape clause will be entered into?

The hon. Gentleman must realise that prices charged today must be related to the prices we pay, and that these prices cannot always be the prices which are current.

Is not the Minister aware that a free market industry has to compete against world prices and cannot charge prices in relation to the prices they may have paid.

Following is the table:

Open Market PriceMinistry"s selling Price
Price at March, 1948Price at March, 1949Peak Price since the war
Rubber1s. Od. per Ib.11½d. per lb.1s. 3 13/16d. per lb.

There have been no London market quotations for hides in the pre-war sense since the war, because the Leather Control has been purchasing the entire supply required by United Kingdom tanners. United Kingdom merchants buy on behalf of the Control, however, and also conduct business with third countries. The following table gives an indication of the trend of prices (Control buying prices) of some fairly representative grades, but the full market list is very extensive. The great majority of domestic hides are transferred to the Leather Control from the Ministry of Food and are not acquired by merchants.
Open Market PriceMinistry"s Selling Price
Pence per lb.Pence per lb.Pence per lb.
Argentine Frig. 1st Heavy Ox20⅝20 19/3222
New Zealand Freezor Cows (40 1bs. up)202021¼
Dry Capes212126½