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Volume 56, 1926
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Effects of changing Price-levels on the Economic Development of New Zealand.

[Read before the Canterbury Philosophical Institute, 1st October, 1924; received by Editor, 31st December, 1924; issued separately, 31st May, 1926.]

In the following paper an attempt has been made to measure the influence of the secular changes in the price-level upon the economic development of New Zealand as it is reflected in the statistics of imports and exports, and in the relation between them which is generally known as the “balance of trade.” Some general aspects of the questions here dealt with may be found in an article by the writer contributed to the Accountants' Journal. * It is the purpose of this paper to discuss the adequacy of the statistical methods used to obtain the general conclusions arrived at in that article.

1. The Balance of Trade as an Index of Prosperity and Development.

Statistics of external trade are in themselves not an adequate test of national prosperity or progress, but in a country like New Zealand, which is so small that it must depend more than well-established and older lands upon the exchange of products with other countries, the importance of the trade statistics is proportionately great.

There is no index of annual production available in New Zealand similar to that provided by the Commonwealth Statistician for Australia, and in the absence of such data it is not possible to say accurately what is the relative importance of the exporting industries as compared with the domestic production and consumption of the Dominion. But what statistics are available, such as the occupations disclosed by the census returns, indicate that the overwhelming majority of the population of the Dominion is occupied either directly in the primary industries or in occupations directly dependent upon those primary industries. The main industries are—Agricultural and pastoral, employing 132,000 workers; forestry, 10,000; fishing and trapping, 2,000; mining, 8,000—a total of at least 150,000 workers directly engaged in the primary extractive industries.

The census of industrial production shows that in all the factories of the Dominion the employees totalled 70,316, a large proportion of these being engaged in what have been described as the “semi-primary” industries, such as meat-freezing works and dairy factories. § In many of these industries also it will be admitted, if only from the events of the past crisis, that prosperity is dependent obviously and directly upon the output and prices of our primary exports.

The proportion of domestic production in comparison with exports is, however, growing steadily, as may be seen from the fact that between 1896 and 1922 the population of the Dominion grew in the proportion of 100:180, while the number of persons included in the secondary industries (including the semi-primary) increased in the proportion of 100:223.

[Footnote] * Accountants' Journal, November and December, 1924; January, 1925.

[Footnote] † Commonwealth Year-book; also Pocket Compendium of Australian Statistics, 1924 p. 50.

[Footnote] ‡ New Zealand Official Year-book, 1924, p. 749.

[Footnote] § Ibid, Section XX.

[Footnote] ∥ Calculated from official statistics—Year-books, 1897 and 1924.

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There is a similar development in the proportions of the population engaged in commercial and professional services. A certain proportion of the primary production (a proportion which is increasing) is directed also to the local market. This is particularly so in Canterbury with wheat and potatoes. Indeed, statistics show that Canterbury imports more than it exports overseas, and obtains the balance of its purchasing-power by supplying the rest of New Zealand with foodstuffs and manufactures.

All these factors, however, while they render caution necessary in the use of statistics of foreign trade as an indication of progress in the Dominion, do not invalidate the use of such an index, for the following reasons :—

(a.)

The statistics of occupation show that the primary exporting industries still engage the largest proportion of the workers.

(b.)

Of the industries and occupations which are not directly concerned with exporting, a very large but not exactly measurable proportion depend directly and almost completely upon the purchasing-power made available by the exports.

(c.)

Research undertaken by Mr. A. H. Tocker, M.A., of Canterbury College, has shown conclusively that the policy of the banks in controlling credit advances in New Zealand for all industries varies in the closest possible manner with the balance of trade, which builds up a fund of purchasing-power in London upon which the banks work as through a “credit-exchange” standard. *

For all industries and occupations, therefore, the credit policy upon which expansion or contraction largely depends is regulated by the balance of trade, which is taken in this paper as an indication of the economic health of the Dominion.

2. The Calculation of an Index of Productivity from the Export Returns.

The total figures of imports and exports by themselves do not convey any clear impression, except perhaps to expert eyes, of the changes in economic conditions which they record. The accuracy of these official figures, not perhaps in details but certainly in totals, the writer knows from experience in the Departments of Customs and Statistics to be very high. The variety and nature of the Customs tariff make the production of original invoices indispensable, and the total values, as distinct from the values of particular items, must be accurate within a negligible percentage. There is less accuracy in the figures officially given for the values of exports, which, in some important cases, must be estimated here before being sold in London. But in this case, fortunately, the nature of the exports is such that the quantities exported are easily and accurately obtained. The official statistics have therefore been accepted as the basis of calculation.

There is, however, some difficulty in interpretation, even when the trade statistics are compared with the corresponding figures of population, and the chief impression gained is one of constant and unvarying progress (see Diagram A). There are two main confusing factors which must be eliminated before the essential facts can be made clear—viz., the

[Footnote] * “Monetary Standards in Australia and New Zealand,” Economic Journal, December, 1924.

[Footnote] † The chief defect of the import statistics is a consistent tendency to undervaluation because of the practice of adding only 10 per cent. to invoice values of ad valorem goods in order to arrive at landed value; probably 20 per cent. would be nearer the mark. But this under-valuation does not destroy the validity of the following argument, since it is consistent from year to year; it does, however, make the balance of exports over imports appear more favourable than it really is. (N.Z. Official Year-book, 1925, p. 272; also League of Nations' Memo. on Balance of Trade Payments, 1910–23, p. 372, footnote.)

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continuously increasing population over the whole period covered, and the changing trend of the level of general prices. Both of these factors have been eliminated by the following method:—

(a.)

The total values of imports and exports were divided by the mean population for each year. This gave the per capita values of imports and exports. As a result the contrast between the period 1873–95, when prices were falling, and the subsequent period 1895–1920, when prices were rising, is strongly marked. *

(b.)

This contrast is, however, accentuated by the very fact of the changing price-levels; and in order to discover how far the falling tendency of the per capita trade per head in the period 1873–95, and the rising tendency in the period 1895–1920, were due merely to falling or rising prices it is necessary to eliminate the influence of the changing price-levels. By this means it should be possible to get an estimate of the actual quantities of imports and exports per head of population as distinct from their values.

The only readily available means of making the necessary correction is by the use of index numbers of general wholesale prices. For the purpose of this calculation the index numbers devised by Dr. McIlraith and the Government Statistician have been divided into the value of trade per head for each year, and the results are plotted on Diagram B as shown.

3. The Validity of the Use of Index Numbers as a Measure of Price-Changes.

It is not proposed to make an elaborate justification of the method of index numbers in general. In practically every country in recent years index numbers of general prices have been devised to measure changes in the value of money. In effect they take samples of important wholesale prices and combine these in a weighted average so as to produce an index which is typical, not of any particular price-change, but of the general movement. In other words, they measure the changes in the value of the currency unit as compared with goods in general. The general accuracy of these index numbers is unquestioned, though their use for particular purposes, such as the measurement of the cost of living or of changes in the prices of particular commodities, is not always satisfactory.

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For the purpose of correcting the trade figures for changes in the value of currency, the index numbers of wholesale prices worked out in New Zealand by Dr. McIlraith for the period 1861–1910, and by the Government Statistician for the period 1891–1923, were used. These two index numbers were based upon different sets of commodities, calculated and weighted in different ways, and based upon different periods. Fortunately, the series overlap for the twenty years 1891–1910, and it was therefore possible in those years to compare the results arrived at by the use of each index number. It was intended to plot the results obtained in this period side by side in Diagram B, but the two lines ran so closely together that, the effect on the diagram was confusing, and when a coefficient of correlation was calculated by the method of Pearson based upon the formula r= ∑(xy)§/nσ1σ2 §, the result was plus 0.99, or almost perfect correlation. This

[Footnote] * See diagram, New Zealand Official Year-book, 1924, p. 253.

[Footnote] † Mcilraith, The Course of Prices in New Zealand. Government Printer, 1912.

[Footnote] ‡ New Zealand Official Year-book, 1924, pp. 646–48.

[Footnote] § Where x and y are the deviations from the arithmetic mean of the two series, n is the number of items and σ1 σ2 the standard deviations of the two series.

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Diagram A.—Annual Imports and Exports of New Zealand, 1853–1923, compared with Growth of Population. (Statistics taken from official publications.)

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Diagram B.—Volume of New Zealand Imports and Exports per Head of Population, 1861–1933

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Diagram C.—Proportions per Cent. of the Total Exports, 1853–1923, provided by the Main Industries of New Zealand.
(Statistics for years 1853–1900 built up from approximate figures in author's thesis, printed in Appendix to N.Z. Official Year-book, 1915; subsequent statistics from N.Z. Official Year-book, 1924.)

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Diagram D.—Wholesale Prices in New Zealand, 1913–22.

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in itself is proof that the method of index numbers does measure accurately the changes in the value of money, and establishes the validity of the method used to eliminate the fluctuations of the money-standard.

Further corroboration of the validity of this method is obtained for a later period, 1900–19, for which the Government Statistician has calculated, with full and accurate data derived from the actual quantities of 99 per cent, of the exports, an index of the true volume of exports from year to year.* When this index, calculated from actual quantities, is compered with the index obtained by using index numbers of wholesale prices in the method shown above, the coefficient of correlation obtained is plus 0.77.

The possible sources of divergence between the series are—(a) the necessity of accepting estimated export values; (b) the possible divergence of the prices of exported commodities from the general average level of prices (this is shown below to be important in later years); (c) different methods of calculation, especially different base periods. The high coefficient of correlation obtained is therefore satisfactory evidence of the validity of the method used.

4. The Trend shown by a Triennial Moving Average.

In order not to place too great reliance upon the figures in any particular year it was thought advisable to concentrate attention rather upon the general trend of the series than upon the annual variations from the trend. In order to do this a triennial moving average was calculated from the indices obtained in the manner described above, and it is this triennial moving average which is plotted in the heavier lines of Diagram B, while the lighter, broken lines show the annual figures.

When this moving average was calculated, a further comparison with a similar average calculated from the Government Statistician's index of export productivity disclosed the fact that the tendency towards greater productivity per head during the period 1895–1910, which is clearly marked in the writer's calculations, was not paralleled by the Government Statistician's index for the years since 1900, although the annual variations, as noted above, show such a high degree of correlation. Examination of the data shows that the discrepancy is to be found in the second of the two causes noted in paragraph 3—viz., the possible divergence of the prices of exported commodities from the general level. During the period of rising prices New Zealand not only had the advantage of her receipts from exports rising in advance of her costs, especially interest and wages, but a further advantage in the fact that the prices of her exports were rising faster than the general level of prices. This appears to be due, firstly, to the fact that wholesale produce dealt with in large-scale speculative markets responds more quickly to changes in the value of money than the more sluggish retail prices, and, secondly, to the fact that there has been an increasing world shortage of animal products such as comprise the bulk of our exports.

The application of this consideration to the index of import quantities is, of course, the reverse of its application to the exports. Attention has been drawn repeatedly to the narrowing of the margin between exports and imports in recent years, despite the fact that an increasing volume of payment abroad on behalf of a growing public debt should have had the effect of widening the margin. The narrowing shown in the diagram should, by reason of the fact noted above, be even more pronounced than it is,

[Footnote] * New Zealand Official Year-book, 1924, p. 284.

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and this emphasizes the extent to which fresh borrowings were being undertaken both before the war and after, as well as during the actual war period. *

5. The Economic Bases of Pre-war Prosperity.

The economic bases of pre-war prosperity may perhaps best be considered in contrast with the conditions which were responsible for the depression of the preceding period.

It will be noted that during the period of the first Vogel borrowings, from 1870 to 1879, there is clear evidence of excessive importations based upon borrowed money. These importations come in successive peaks, each getting lower and lower. The continued excess of imports over exports in these years represents the loans which were brought in to develop the country. The continued depression in the quantity of imports per head of population after the slump of 1879 is evidence of the severe curtailment of purchasing-power in the worst years of the depression. Between the peak of 1878 and the trough of 1889 the volume of imports per head fell by 40 per cent., which represents a serious decline in the standard of living as well as a drastic economy in governmental expenditure upon constructional goods.

There is no evidence that this decline in importation was offset by any great development of local production. The secondary industries of New Zealand were then in the first stages of their development, and were themselves suffering heavily from foreign competition, as they must always do in the time of falling prices.

More significant is the decline in the exports per head during the period of the boom. The sharp decline in the first year or two of the period is mainly due to the falling-off in the production of alluvial gold. The persistent decline for the years following is more serious, representing as it does diminished productivity following a speculative boom launched at the beginning of a period of falling prices.

After the commercial development of refrigeration the increase in exporting-power is very rapid and great, amounting approximately to 40 per cent, in the same period. This is an indication of the cost to the colony of the borrowing policy, since the firstfruits of such an important development as refrigeration had to be sacrificed and supplemented by the rigid public and private economy indicated by the import returns. The last check to development offered by the banking crisis of the early “nineties” is also clearly seen.

By contrast with this period, the rapid expansion of exports and the consequent expansion of imports deserve examination. It is suggested that the chief economic bases of prosperity in this period, as indicated by the statistics used above, were—

(a.)

A genuine increase in productivity per head of the population, somewhat exaggerated by the index shown in Diagram B, as was proved by comparison with the Government Statistician's figures. This increase is due to many causes, such as better farming methods, better commercial organization, the use of machinery. The chief feature of this increase has been the change to dairying, involving more intensive methods, co-operative factory production, machines, and closer settlement.

[Footnote] * The consistent under-valuation of imports noted above still further masks the narrowness of this margin. If allowance is made for the full landed value of imports and for the heavier interest payments abroad, there has been for many years past an actual excess of imports, balanced by increasing amounts of new loans. In 1923 these new loans amounted to £10,552,000 (N.Z. Official Year-book, 1925, p. 272). Cf. also a detailed calculation of the New Zealand balance of trade by Mr. A. H. Tocker in the Lyttelton Times, 19th August, 1925.

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(b.)

This extra productivity has been enhanced by constantly rising prices. The farmer was winning a greater produce from the soil, and getting for that produce higher and higher prices each year, while his main costs, especially interest and wages, lagged behind produce prices.

(c.)

A relative shortage of animals and animal-products, due mainly to the rapid filling-up of North America, placed the exporters of animal-products in a still more favourable position. * This is quite consistent with a cyclical movement of trade, which seems to be clearly indicated in the trade returns, and has been noted by many different investigators, but never worked out in detail

6. The Spread of Prices in Recent Years.

While index numbers of wholesale prices are recognized as efficient instruments for measuring changes in the value of money as compared with goods in general, their efficiency for particular purposes is not so clear. The recent disputes in New Zealand over the adequacy of the Government Statistician's index number of retail prices as a measure of changes in the cost of living, while generally based upon wrong conceptions of the purposes and methods of index numbers, have proved the difficulty of devising an accurate index number of retail prices as a basis for wage calculations.

Wholesale prices, as a measure of monetary fluctuations, are not open to the same criticism; but, as has been indicated above, particular groups of commodities may diverge from the general movement because of special causes peculiar to those commodities. As monetary inflation raises the general level of prices sharply, this tendency to dispersion or spread of particular prices about the average is greatly increased, and is indeed one of the chief symptoms of the economic dislocation which always accompanies price-inflation.

An important example of this tendency is shown in the index number of wholesale prices calculated for New Zealand by the Government Statistician, and is summarized by Table 4 given below.

The tendency for prices to spread as inflation proceeded in the post-war boom is very noticeable when these series are plotted on a graph, and more noticeable still is the fact that the important pastoral products have risen less and fallen to lower levels since the slump than the merchandise we can import. This divergence is not the least of the handicaps under which the primary producer of the Dominion is suffering to-day. The extent to which the prices of products like building-materials and coal have soared away from export values may be taken also as one indication of the extent to which artificial interferences, such as protective tariffs, Government subsidies and advances, commercial combinations and industrial strife, have kept the level of domestic prices in New Zealand above the level of those products which have to face competitive world markets. This increased spread of the price-level has affected the calculation of export productivity considerably in the past few years.

By using the higher index number of general prices to correct the values of export products the quantity exported has been made to appear unduly

[Footnote] * Cf. Shanahan, Animal Foodstuffs; also periodical bulletins on “Stocks of Raw Materials,” issued by London-Cambridge Economic Service.

[Footnote] † E.g., Copland, Wheat Production in New Zealand, pp. 115–16. Cf. similar cycles worked out for the United States of America by Warren and Pearson, The Agricultural Situation (1924).

[Footnote] ‡ Cf. Statistical Journal, March, 1924, “The Inter-relation and Distribution of Prices and their Incidence upon Price Stabilization,” article by Norman Crump (editor, Financial Times).

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low. There was during the war and the years immediately following the war a decided and indisputable tendency towards lowered productivity, which was masked by higher levels of prices; but since the slump productivity has increased again. This is due partly to the impetus given to dairying in the past few years, but mainly it is due to the heroic response of the small farmers of the Dominion to conditions of financial adversity.

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Table 1.—Annual Imports and Exports of New Zealand, 1853–1923, compared with Growth of Population.
(Statistics taken from official publications.)
Year. Imports. Exports. Population.
£00,000 omitted. £00,000 omitted. 0,000 omitted.
1853 6 3 3
1854 9 3 3
1855 8 4 4
1856 7 3 5
1857 10 4 5
1858 11 5 6
1859 16 6 7
1860 15 6 8
1861 25 14 10
1862 46 24 13
1863 70 35 17
1864 70 34 17
1865 56 37 19
1866 59 45 20
1867 53 46 22
1868 50 44 23
1869 50 42 24
1870 46 48 25
1871 41 53 27
1872 51 52 28
1873 65 56 30
1874 81 53 34
1875 80 58 38
1876 69 57 40
1877 70 63 41
1878 88 60 43
1879 84 57 46
1880 62 64 48
1881 75 61 50
1882 86 67 52
1883 80 71 54
1884 77 71 56
1885 75 68 58
1886 68 67 59
1887 62 69 60
1888 59 78 61
1889 63 93 62
1890 63 98 63
1891 65 96 63
1892 69 95 65
1893 69 90 67
1894 68 92 69
1895 64 86 70
1896 71 93 71
1897 81 100 73
1898 82 105 74
1899 87 119 76
1900 106 132 77
1901 118 129 79
1902 113 136 81
1903 128 150 83
1904 133 147 86
1905 128 157 88
1906 152 181 91
1907 173 201 93
1908 175 163 96
1909 157 197 98
1910 171 222 100
1911 195 190 103
1912 210 218 105
1913 223 230 108
1914 219 263 110
1915 217 317 110
1916 263 333 110
1917 209 316 110
1918 242 285 111
1919 307 540 112
1920 616 464 121
1921 429 448 124
1922 350 427 127
1923 435 460 129
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Table 2.—Volume of New Zealand Imports and Exports per Head of Population, 1861–1923.
Column 2: Total values of imports divided by mean population for the year.
Column 3: McIlraith's index, 1861–90; Government Statistician's index, 1891–1923.
Column 4: Annual index obtained by dividing column 3 into column 2. Three-year moving average to smooth annual fluctuations and disclose general trend.
Column 5: Total values of exports divided by mean population for the year.
Column 6: Identical with column 2.
Column 7: Annual index obtained by dividing column 6 into column 5. Three-year moving average to smooth annual fluctuations and disclose general trend.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Year. Imports per Capita. Index of Wholesale Prices. Volume of Imports per Head. Exports per Capita. Index of Wholesale Prices. Volume of Exports per Head.
Annual Index. Three-year Moving Average. Annual Index. Three-year Moving Average.
1861 2.50 184 136 1.40 184 71
1862 3.54 186 190 180 1.85 186 100 93
1863 4.12 193 214 205 2.06 193 107 103
1864 4.12 195 211 194 2.00 195 103 104
1865 2.95 189 156 172 1.95 189 103 106
1866 2.95 200 148 144 2.25 200 112 109
1867 2.41 187 129 132 2.09 187 112 109
1868 2.17 184 118 125 1.91 184 104 108
1869 2.08 164 127 122 1.75 164 107 112
1870 1.84 154 120 116 1.92 154 125 121
1871 1.52 150 101 113 1.96 150 131 125
1872 1.82 154 118 117 1.85 154 120 121
1873 2.17 164 132 133 1.86 164 113 110
1874 2.39 161 148 141 1.56 161 97 104
1875 2.11 148 144 138 1.53 148 103 100
1876 1.72 140 123 129 1.42 140 101 104
1877 1.71 144 119 131 1.54 144 107 104
1878 2.05 135 152 138 1.40 135 104 103
1879 1.83 127 144 132 1.24 127 98 101
1880 1.29 130 100 121 1.33 130 102 99
1881 1.50 125 120 118 1.22 125 97 102
1882 1.65 122 135 127 1.29 122 106 105
1883 1.48 118 125 127 1.31 118 111 109
1884 1.38 115 120 120 1.27 115 110 109
1885 1.29 111 116 114 1.17 111 105 107
1886 1.15 108 106 107 1.14 108 106 108
1887 1.03 103 100 100 1.15 103 112 117
1888 0.97 103 94 95 1.28 103 124 124
1889 1.01 111 91 93 1.50 111 135 135
1890 1.00 107 93 96 1.55 107 145 144
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1891 1.03 99 104 102 1.52 99 153 149
1892 1.07 97 110 107 1.46 97 150 147
1893 1.03 97 106 107 1.34 97 138 144
1894 0.99 93 106 104 1.33 93 144 139
1895 0.91 92 99 104 1.23 92 134 139
1896 1.00 94 106 108 1.31 94 139 140
1897 1.11 94 118 113 1.37 94 146 144
1898 1.11 97 114 120 1.42 97 146 156
1899 1.15 89 129 131 1.56 89 175 169
1900 1.38 92 150 146 1.71 92 186 179
1901 1.49 93 160 151 1.63 93 175 178
1902 1.40 97 144 155 1.68 97 173 180
1903 1.54 95 162 158 1.81 95 191 183
1904 1.55 92 168 159 1.71 92 186 186
1905 1.45 99 146 160 1.78 99 180 187
1906 1.67 102 164 164 1.99 102 195 196
1907 1.86 102 182 175 2.16 102 212 192
1908 1.82 101 180 177 1.70 101 168 197
1909 1.60 95 168 174 2.01 95 212 202
1910 1.71 98 174 178 2.22 98 226 211
1911 1.89 99 191 183 1.84 99 186 204
1912 2.00 104 183 192 2.08 104 200 198
1913 2.07 103 201 189 2.13 103 207 209
1914 1.99 108 184 180 2.39 108 221 218
1915 1.97 127 155 171 2.88 127 227 222
1916 2.39 138 173 150 3.03 138 219 209
1917 1.90 156 122 139 2.83 156 181 181
1918 2.18 181 121 131 2.57 181 142 195
1919 2.74 183 150 168 4.82 183 263 193
1920 5.09 219 232 183 3.83 219 175 204
1921 3.46 207 167 183 3.61 207 175 178
1922 2.76 183 151 168 3.37 183 184 186
1923 3.37 180 187 3.56 180 198
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Table 3.—Proportions per Cent, of the Total Exports, 1853–1923, Provided by the Main Industries of New Zealand.
(Percentages correct to nearest whole number.)
Year. Pastoral. Mining. Agricultural. Forest. Other.
Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent. Per Cent.
1853 22 6 36 36
1854 22 13 24 41
1855 25 22 4 49
1856 46 8 7 39
1857 48 11 5 13 23
1858 55 11 7 9 18
1859 62 5 2 11 20
1860 76 3 4 17
1861 38 55 2 5
1862 29 66 1 4
1863 25 70 2 3
1864 32 55 3 10
1865 31 60 1 8
1866 30 63 2 5
1867 34 58 1 2 5
1868 34 57 3 2 4
1869 32 56 2 5 5
1870 28 57 3 6 6
1871 33 53 3 5 6
1872 52 33 3 6 6
1873 50 35 2 6 7
1874 56 29 6 4 5
1875 60 24 4 3 9
1876 62 22 6 3 7
1877 62 23 4 3 8
1878 58 20 8 3 11
1879 58 19 11 4 8
1880 52 19 14 5 10
1881 49 16 15 5 15
1882 50 14 15 6 16
1883 50 11 18 8 13
1884 56 14 11 7 12
1885 58 14 8 6 14
1886 59 15 7 6 13
1887 61 12 6 7 14
1888 55 13 8 8 16
1889 57 9 11 10 13
1890 59 9 11 10 11
1891 62 11 7 10 10
1892 63 11 9 8 9
1893 62 11 6 9 12
1894 75 11 2 6 6
1895 70 15 4 7 4
1896 72 12 6 6 4
1897 72 11 5 6 6
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1898 73 11 4 7 5
1899 67 14 8 7 4
1900 66 12 9 7 6
1901 62 15 12 6 5
1902 65 16 8 5 6
1903 67 15 5 6 7
1904 68 15 5 5 7
1905 70 15 3 6 6
1906 73 14 2 5 6
1907 76 12 1 5 6
1908 73 14 2 5 6
1909 74 12 5 5 4
1910 79 11 2 4 4
1911 78 11 2 4 5
1912 78 7 5 4 6
1913 81 7 1 4 7
1914 86 5 1 4 4
1915 84 7 2 2 5
1916 88 5 1 2 4
1917 88 4 1 2 5
1918 88 2 3 3 2
1919 91 3 2 1 3
1920 91 2 1 3 3
1921 93 2 1 2 2
1922 91 2 2 3 2
1923 92 2 1 2 2

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Table 4.—Summary of Index Numbers.
Group Index Numbers of Wholesale Prices for the Average of the Four Chief Centres, 1913–22.
(Base: Average aggregate annual expenditure, four chief centres, 1909–13 = 1000.)
Year. Agricultural Products. Wool, Hides, Tallow, Butter, Cheese. General Merchandise. Building-materials. Leather. Coal. Index of General Prices.
1913  967 1047 1055 1063 1126 1038 1032
1914 1021 1116 1089 1120 1184 1004 1077
1915 1580 1297 1202 1217 1348 1019 1269
1916 1487 1401 1317 1444 1470 1145 1380
1917 1517 1466 1447 1772 1806 1369 1555
1918 1845 1466 1685 2148 1900 1478 1809
1919 1868 1515 1796 2067 2066 1647 1834
1920 1987 1651 2340 2440 2974 2052 2185
1921 1590 1576 2192 2460 2105 2228 2071
1922 1430 1335 1831 2176 1773 2124 1832