HC Deb 10 May 1898 vol 57 cc839-40

I beg to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Greek Guaranteed Loan for £6,800,000 has been issued on such terms that, while a subscriber in London will have to pay for every £100 nominal capital the sum of £100 10s., which at the present rate of exchange (25.33 francs) is equal to 2,545.665 francs, a subscriber in Paris will pay for every £100 nominal capital only 2,512.50 francs amounting to a difference in favour of the Paris subscriber of 33.165 francs, or of 15–16 per cent.; whether there is a similar difference made between the subscriber in London and the subscriber in St. Petersburg giving an advantage to the latter of 1⅛ per cent.; whether these differences in favour of the French and Russian, as compared with the English subscribers to the Loan, arise through the adoption of a nominal rate of exchange (in the case of France the rate of 25 francs to the £), instead of the actual present rate of exchange as between the pound on the one hand and the franc and rouble on the other; if so, upon what ground a nominal, instead of the actual rate of exchange was adopted; and upon what ground the English subscriber has been placed at a disadvantage as compared with the French and Russian subscribers?


The answer to the first two paragraphs of the Question is in the affirmative. For the purpose of getting the currency of each country on to the bond it was necessary to have a fixed nominal rate of exchange for insertion in the International Agreement; and, as the present rate of exchange is exceptionally high, this has resulted in giving an advantage to subscribers in Paris or St. Petersburg, who may, and I have no doubt will, include Englishmen as well as French and Russians. The representatives of the two foreign guaranteeing Powers insisted that, at whatever figure the price of the Loan was fixed, the rate of issue should not be at a higher percentage in their countries than here; and I reluctantly agreed to what has been done, as it was of the utmost importance in the interests of Greece to bring to a close negotiations which had already been far too prolonged.