HC Deb 03 July 1913 vol 54 cc2171-2

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether he is aware that the bankers of the quintuple group issued the recent Chinese loan at a price which, after a large profit to the bankers, offered to the investing public a yield of about 5¾ per cent.; whether he is aware that. the amount of the issue in London, £7,416,000, was subscribed twelve times over; whether he is aware that the City of Montreal issue, £1,430,000, carrying 4½ per cent. and issued about the same time at par, was less than half subscribed by the public, more than half being left to the underwriters; whether he recognises that the issue at a low price with a high yield of stock carrying the diplomatic support of His Majesty's Government. is calculated to affect prejudicially issues of our national, Colonial and municipal stock at prices giving a yield according with ordinary market rates; and whether His Majesty's Government will in future refuse to give diplomatic support of a monopolistic character without reserving control over the financial aspect of the projects supported?


With regard to the first part of the question, respecting the purely financial aspect of the loan, I must refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave him on the 12th ultimo. I am unable to accept the conclusions which the hon. Member has drawn from a comparison between the subscriptions to the two loans referred to. The public are naturally free to choose their own investments, and His Majesty's Government have no control over their choice. Many previous loans both to China and other countries have had the diplomatic support of His Majesty's Government. In this instance His Majesty's Government were only one of five Powers who gave support. without, however, incurring any pecuniary liability, such as a guarantee. With regard to the future, His Majesty's Government will certainly continue to be interested, if only for the benefit of British enterprise and trade, in stability being given to Chinese finance, and I cannot give any general undertaking as to the nature of their action, which must largely depend on the development of the situation. It may be that at any given moment it is undesirable for His Majesty's Government to encourage the issue of loans, and when such considerations are present they will be taken into account.

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