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& Pacific Railway and 13,381,950 bushels over the Illinois Central Railroad. Shipments aggregated 87,713,321 bushels, of which 74,379,206 bushels went by lake. The effect of such a stupendous movement could not be otherwise than depressing upon prices. The lowest price of the year was touched on the 11th of September, viz: 194 cents per bushel. At the beginning of the year there were 1,105,103 bushels in store in Chicago, and at its close 5,567,305 bushels. The quantity in the "visible supply " at the beginning of the year was 5,838,000 bushels and at its close 18,893,000 bushels, as against 10,672,000 bushels and 5,817,000 bushels, respectively, in 1895. The reserves, owing to a crop of unprecedented magnitude harvested the year before, were immense, and dragged a market already overloaded, down to a most discouraging level, sales of the low grades hardly paying freight charges.

There was throughout the year an absence of animation in the speculative market, and at times heavy receipts almost overwhelmed even so large a market as this. So steady was the volume of receipts and so apparently inexhaustible the supply of corn, that all thought of holding for an improvement in price was out of the question, and no opportunity was neglected to effect sales. Low prices brought about a large export demand, and heavy shipments were made from Galveston and New Orleans as well as from Atlantic ports. During the month of January, prices ranged from 254, to 28J cents per bushel for No. 2 grade. The market during February was a steady one, the fluctuations in price not exceeding one cent per bushel. In March, the market was about the same, showing no confidence in prices, nor on the other hand disclosing any evidence of materially lower values. The market was cumbersome and too unwieldy for speculation. Prices were slightly better in April, No. 2 reaching to 30£ cents about the middle of the month. During May, the marketjdeclined to, from 27J to 29 cents per bushel, and dismissed many hopes that the opening of navigation would be followed by an increase in demand. June and July brought added weakness, and on the 30th of the latter month sales were made at 24J cents per bushel. August and September brought prostration to the market, and prices of No. 2 corn slipped from about 24 cents per bushel down to 194, cents.

October brought a reaction, and the well-nigh discouraged farmers were somewhat revived. Prices ranged during the month from 22£ to 26£ cents per bushel. November trade was on the basis of about 24 cents and tended to lower prices, which were realized in the month of December. The closing prices of the year were from 22f to 23J cents per bushel.

The following table shows the extreme prices in each year for thirty-two years, indicating the month in which such prices were obtained:

CORN.

Year.

1865. 1866. 1867. 1868. 1809. 1870. 1871. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878. 1879. 1880. 1881. 1882. 1883. 1884. 1885. 1886. 1887. 1888. 1880. 1890. 1891. 1892. 1893. 1894. 1895. 1896.

Months the lowest prices
were reached.

December..
February...

March

December..

January

December..
December..

October

June

January

December..
February...

March

December..

January

April

February...
December..

October

December..
January ...

October

February...
December..
December..
February ..
December..
January...
December..
February..
December..
September.

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Months the highest prices were reached.

January and February.

November.

October.

A ugust.

August.

May.

March and May.
May.

December.

September.

May and July.

May.

April.

March.

October.

November.

October.

July.

January.

September.

April and May.

July.

December.
May.

November.

November.

November.

May.

May.

August.

May.

April.

OATS.

The market for oats like that for corn was overstocked by an immense crop and prices dragged and sagged, little influenced by the strength which at times visited the wheat market. The inferior quality of the oats imparted an additional depression to values and there was hardly an element of strength upon which to predicate any advance in prices. At times a heavy short interest was taken advantage of, and stimulated a speculative demand which advanced prices to a limited degree, but this demand was of brief duration and when subsided, dullness resumed its sway. Our reseipts for the year aggregated the enormous quantity of 109,725,689 bushels and our shipments 82,119,852 bushels; 30,041,500 bushels arrived on the Chicago & Northwestern Railway, 17,475,050 bushels on the Illinois Central Railroad, 15,306,400 bushels on the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railway, 12,696,069 bushels on the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad and 14,941,500 bushels on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. A complete statement of receipts may be seen in the statistical part of this volume. The quantity in store at the beginning of the year was 533,389 bushels and at its close, 4,773,557 bushels. In the "visible supply" on January 4th, there were 6,537,000 bushels, and on December 26th, 13,476,000 bushels, as against 8,826,000 bushels and 6,468,000 bushels, upon the corresponding dates in 1895.

Prices during January ranged from 17 to 19| cents for No. 2 grade. During February there was a slight improvement, but no special change in the market situation; indeed, no material variation in prices took place until the month of June, when there was an additional weakness in this market and sales were made on the last day of the month at 15£ cents per bushel. The decline was caused by the Government report of favorable conditions indicating a crop approaching 800,000,000 bushels. Prices in July recovered somewhat as it was discovered that much of the crop was so severely damaged that the yield of merchantable and marketable oats would not prove to be over 600,000,000 bushels. Sales on the closing day of this month were made at about 18 cents per bushel. A vigorous "bear" movement now appeared which resulted in forcing prices down to 15| cents on the last day of August. The pressure of this movement aided by weakness in corn, continued, until sales were made on the 5th of September at 14| cents, the lowest price of the year. From this time the market had more character, and prices during October ranged from 17^ to 19f cents per bushel. During the month of November the market was strong and the advance was fairly held. Liquidation in December, caused a slight falling off in prices, and the market on the last day of the year was from 16f to 17 cents per bushel. A prominent feature of the trade was an extensive business in clipping the lower grades and reselling them on the market.

The following is the statement of the extreme prices each year for thirty-two years, indicating the month in which such prices were realized:

OATS.

Year.

1865. 1806. 1867. 1868. 186!). 1870. 1871. 1872. 1873. 1874. 1875. 1876. 1877. 1878. 1879. 1880. 1881. 1882. 1883. 1884. 1885. 1886. 1887. 1888. 188!). 1890. 1891. 1892. 1893. 1894. 1895. 1896.

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December

February

August

October

October

September

August

October and Novemb'r

April

August

Decenilier

July

August

October

January

August

February

September

September

December

September

October

March and April

September

October

February

October

January

July

January

December

September

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Months the highest prices were reached.

January.

November.

June.

May.

July.

May.

March and April.

June.

December.

Julv.

May.

September.

May.

July.

December.

January and Mav.

October.

July

March.

April.

April.

January.

December.

May.

February.

November.

April.

August.

May.

J une.

June.

February and March.

BARLEY.

The receipts of barley aggregated 17,496,381 bushels, and shipments 9,767,708 bushels, as against 14,194;, 881 bushels and 9,322,244 bushels, respectively, during 1895. The crop as given by the United States Agricultural Department was 09,095,223 bushels. The quality of the crop was very poor and a considerable quantity was exported for stock feeding to the British Isles, Holland and South Africa. In ordinary years under such circumstances, our local feed dealers would use the lower grades of barley for mixing with oats and corn, but last year the prices of these cereals were so low that they could not have been sold any lower or the profits in selling them increased by mixing the inferior grades of barley with them. Hence the poorer qualities of barley found an outlet in foreign markets. On account of low prices of choice barley in 1895, maltsters were liberally stocked both with barley and malt, and consequently were not urgently in the market at any time; the entire situation therefore was such that the sellers were not in control of the market and prices were to a very large extent determined by depressing influences. From Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northern Iowa came the best quality. The grade of No. 2 has become obsolete, the best quality not more than meeting the requirements of No. 3 grade. So fine is the discrimination of the trade in the selection of this grain, with regard to color, weight and soundness, that there is a wide range of prices with respect to a single grade. For instance, No. 3 barley ranged from 12 to 17 cents per bushel without any change in general market conditions. At the beginning of the year, No. 3 sold at from 23 to 36 cents per bushel.

There was but little variation from this quotation until June when very little was done and prices ranged from 23 to 33 cents per bushel. In July and August there was no quotable market. A little trade timidly crept in during September at from 20 to 35 cents per bushel for the grade of No. 3. October trade was much the same. November and December brought a slight improvement and on the last day of the year sales were made from '2Si to 35 cents for No. 3.

RYE.

The receipts of rye during the year aggregated 2,530,336 bushels, and shipments 1,37-4,509 bushels, as against 1,657,216 bushels and 1,168,252 bushels, respectively, during the year 1895. The visible supply of this grain on the 4th of January aggregated 1,557,000 bushels and on the 20th of December 2,996,000 bushels, as against 464,0<><> and 1,553,000 bushels on the corresponding dates in 1895. The quantity in store on the 4th of January was 236,890 bushels and on the 20th of December 1,076,720 bushels, as against 148,232 bushels and 228,372 bushels on the corresponding dates in 1895. The receipts during October aggregated about 650,000 bushels, and were larger than those of any other month. The bulk of the receipts arrived over the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad. Prices ruled very low, influenced in part by low prices for other grains and in part by an absence of the usual distilling demand. The quantity exported during the calendar

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