HC Deb 28 March 1946 vol 421 cc91-2W
102. Mr. Erroll

asked the President of the Board of Trade the average price per pound at which the Government bought representative grades of Egyptian cotton during each of the last 12 months; the Average price per pound at which it sold The same grades to English spinners; and the approximate cost per pound of freight, insurance, handling and other charges.

Mr. Marquand:

Since the present buying season in Egypt commenced last September, the Government's purchases for representative grades of Ashmouni, Giza 7 and Karnak have been made at average f.o.b. prices of 17.7od., 22.7od. and 24.20d. respectively. For the same types of cotton, the selling prices are 14.60d., 16.rod., and 17.7od., respectively. The freight and other charges are about o.9od. in each case. These sales were made from stocks purchased earlier at lower prices. The Cotton Control's selling prices were fixed in April, 1944, at a level estimated to cover average costs as a whole, apart from certain abnormal wartime charges. They are related to spinning values of the different types, and not to the cost of particular growths of cotton. I regret that it has not been possible in the time available to ascertain the figures month by month. No purchases were made in the months prior to September, except a small quantity in April last.

103 Mr. Erroll

asked the President of the Board of Trade the total financial loss incurred in the operation of the cotton control's central purchasing scheme since its inception.

Mr. Marquand:

For the period from April, 1941, to March, 1945, the Cotton Control's trading in raw cotton has shown a loss of about £2 millions. This excludes cotton obtained on Lend-Lease, on which there were notional losses. For most of the period, the Control's selling prices were deliberately maintained at a low level in order to stabilise the prices of yarns and cloth. Since April, 1944, the Control has traded at some profit.

104. Mr. Erroll

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether the Government have been using, either directly or indirectly through an agent, the facilities of the New York futures market for its own purchases of raw cotton.

Mr. Marquand:

No, Sir.