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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

British Investments in the Colonies

British Investments in the Colonies

(Represented by Securities held in Great Britain).

—1887 Increase. Astralftsia—£ 50,000,000 48,000,000 49,000,000 22,000,000 23,000,000 6,300,000 1,500,000 200,000 200,000,000 255,000,000 5,600,000 500,000 30,000,000 4,000,000 2,400,000 112,000,000 500,000 7,000,000 3,000,000 07,000,000 77,000,000 58,500,000 30,000,000 36,000,000 9,500,000 2,700,000 300,000 £ 17,000,000 Kew South Wales...... Zealand....... 2,000,000 9,500,000 8,000a0O0 13,000,000 3,200,000 1,200,000 100,000 South Australia ..?... Western Australia,..... fiji.................. Total Australasia .. 281,000,000 272,000,000 5,000,000 1,000,000 32,500,000 5,700,000 2,400,000 185,000,000 500,000 8,000,000 000,000 300,000 81,000,000 17,000,000 frpeof Good Hope...... 000,000 500,000 2,500,000 1,700,000 23,000,000 1,000,000 00,000 2,700,000 Africa ............ £620,000,000 £744,000,000 £124,000,000

We have quoted the whole of the corresponding figures for the other British possessions, as they permit a very instructive comprison, a comparison that seems to effectually dispose of the oft-repeated assertion that the British investor is slow to appreciate Australasian securities, A period of about three-and-a-half years had elapsed in 1887 from the making up of the first estimate, during which time £81,000,000 had been invested En Australian securities, and only £43,000,000 in the securities of India, Canada, the Cape, and a large number of other colonies all put together.

page 12

About five years have elapsed since the second of the foregoing estimates was made, and during the period it is certain that a further enormous increase has taken place in the British stake in Australasia, The government of New South Wales has borrowed over £10,000,000, the Victorian governments borrowed £12,000,000, and the other Australian governments £11,000,000. The various Australian governments together, have, therefore, increased their indebtedness since 1887 by t total of about £33,000,000. About £41,000,000 have really been borrowed, but £8,000,000 were used to redeem loans falling due. Municipal governments have borrowed with greater freedom than before, whilst large sums have been obtained on debentures of various kinds, and the banks and other institutions have received large sums on deposit. If we calculate the average increase per each year of the five at two-thirds of the increase shown in the 1883-87 period of three-and-a-half years, or, say, sixteen instead of twenty-three millions, we find a total increase of eighty millions of which, as already seen, we can trace thirty-three millions in government loans. Adding this increase to the 1887 total, we find that in this year (1892) the amount of British investments in Australasian colonies represented by actual securities, reaches the gigantic figure of 361 millions sterling. This does not, however, by any means represent the total of British interests in these colonies, since it takes no account of the moneys invested in private businesses and industries of various kinds, which are not and cannot be represented by securities on the London Exchange. A statement published in 1890 by a very well informed writer, put this interest at a capital value of sixty millions, Mr. Coghlan estimates the yearly payments made by the single colony of Net South Wales to outsiders at about five-and-a-quarter million (public and private combined). This sum would represent t capital of 131 millions paying an average interest of 4 percent, of which certainly the thirty-one millions is in excess of the value represented by public securities. When, therefore, m ignore these two estimates and take thirty-nine millions only as the British interest in private industries throughout Australasia we know we are on the right side beyond any possibility if doubt. Adding 861 millions and thirty-nine millions together, we get an aggregate of no less a sum than £400,000,000 as the very lowest possible estimate of the public and private indebtedness of Australasia to Great Britain. The total might page 13 Very easily, and on grounds readily defensible, be put at from £50,000,000 to £500,000,000; but we prefer to be on impregnable ground, and are content to take the still vast sum of £400,000,000 as the total. The amount is surely large enough to impress the most thoughtless reader, especially if it be remembered that it represents an average of £100 per head for pay man, woman, and child in Australasia, or, say, £500 for every average family of five persons.

It will now be interesting to trace as far as we can the movements of capital towards the three eastern colonies of Australia, The following table will throw light on the subject:—