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The amount or value of clearances should doubtless also be affected by the range of fluctuations in prices. But the making of an adjustment on this account is too complicated and uncertain to warrant the attempt. Furthermore, if the average range is about the same for the periods for which quantities are estimated, the use of the index requires no such adjustment. Partly for this reason estimates of quantities of future trading made in the latter part of this section upon the basis of Chicago clearances are for five-year periods instead of for individual years. Also, in the table preceding the one under discussion, where an estimate of future trading by individual years is undertaken, the items index is given as much weight in the estimate as the adjusted clearance index.
FUTURE TRADING AT MINNEAPOLIS, 1904–1918.-For Minneapolis, there is a continuous record from 1904 indicative of the volume of trading. This is not directly a record of quantities cleared, however, but of the earnings of the clearing house. Such earnings are derived from fees for clearing that are based upon the quantities cleared, though there is also included a small amount of revenue from fines. The clearing fee is not per item, as in Chicago, but per lot. But the fee is the same for a 1,000 and a 5,000 lot, hence it is necessary to estimate the proportion of job lots and big lots in the total trading, or the average size of lots, in order to derive the volume. The method of estimation and the assumptions involved are explained in a footnote to the following table:
TABLE 5.--Earnings of the clearing house and estimated grain futures cleared,
Minneapolis (hamber of Commerce, 1904-1918.
Years ending July 31.
Index numbers for figures
adjusted to calendar
Estimated 1 Index
868, 451, 000
984, 492, 000
80.46 95.96 78. 30 81.86 75.25 65. 10 82.44 81.91 70.34 71.62 60. 71 73.80 100.00 109.31 20.57
102.60 104.59 94. 18 93.38 83. 84 85.37 97.05 90.99 83.66 79. 17 78.10 100.00 122.62 85.38
1 Estimated from the earnings of the clearing house (at 21 cents per lot) upon the basis of 2,700 bushels as the average size of the lot (counting each trade in 1,000 lots or multiples as a number of lots equalto the number ofthousand bushels, and each multiple of 5,000 as so many 5,000 bushellots). This average figure is obtained by weighting the average for different classes of houses by the estimated shares of each in futuretrating at Minneapolis. Fees for transfers of stock and fines for errors in returns to the clearing house are disregarded. The 2 cents per lot is paid by both buyer and seller.
Minneapolis ranks next to Chicago as a future trading center. Its importance is almost wholly due to wheat, and the volume of futures is very closely connected with the position of Minneapolis as the great spring wheat market and a great milling center.
FUTURE TRADING AT KANSAS CITY, 1899–1918.--For Kansas City the record of the volume of trading in grain futures is complete from the organization of the clearing house in 1899. In this case the quantities are as reported by the clearing house. The figures are as follows:
TABLE 6.-Grain futures clearel, Kansas City Board of Trade, 1899-1918.
It is not obligatory that trades be cleared through the clearing corporation, hence the record of quantities traded in is not absolutely complete, but the superior convenience of handling all trades in this way probably means that an inappreciable quantity are otherwise treated. These are chiefly so-called “ cross trades," where two commission houses both buy and sell the same day each of the other at the same price. This same situation holds for some other exchanges with the corporation clearing system.
VOLUME OF FUTURES AT DULUTH, MILWAUKEE, ST. LOUIS, NEW YORK, ETC.–For Duluth, also, figures of quantity have been obtainer from the clearing house. In this case there is a separation by grains. The total shown is exclusive of flax, trading in which is not of interest for the purposes of the present investigation. Only a brief period is covered, and the data are shown within that period by months.
TABLE 7.--Grain futures clcared, Duluth Board of Trade, 1916–17.
An incomplete record of clearings of futures by the Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce Clearing Association is as follows:
Bushels. January-June, 1902----
1, 024, 413, OO January-June, 1903_
1, 540, 928, 000 April-December, 1904 --
2, 790, 718, 000 1905
2, 633, 851, 000 1906 ---
324, 552, 000 1907
190, 848, 000 1908 --------
141, 548, 000 1909 -------------
127,014, 000 January-February, 1910..
25, 492, 000 April-December, 1910 --
50, 034, 000 February, 1915 --------
2, 885, 000 August, 1915-July, 1916.
28, 930,000 August, 1916-July, 1917._
42, 811,000 August, 1917-July, 1918-
37, 036, 000 The rapid rise and equally rapid decline of Milwaukee as a grain futures market was due to a transfer of a considerable portion of Chicago business to this center by certain large elevator interests during a controversy within the membership of the Chicago board, as elsewhere noted. At that time trading reached close to 3,000,000,000 bushels a year, putting Milwaukee in the first rank, outside of Chicago, among future trading centers. In recent years, Milwaukee has been quite unimportant as a futures market, though trading continues.
1 Vol. II, Cr. IV, sec. 10, and Ch. 1', sec. S, of this report.
The extent of trading in grain futures at St. Louis is shown by clearing-house data presented in the following table:
TABLE 8.--Grain futures cleared (purchases), St. Louis Board of Trade,
From time to time attempts have been made to develop a grainfutures market at Omaha, but the market has never become well established nor the volume of trading important. Future trading there from February to December, 1904, inclusive, amounted to 5,110,000 bushels, of which 755,000 was in wheat, 3,970,000 in corn, and 385,000 in oats. Future trading was "resumed ” on December 10, 1907, and apparently at other times since. The latest period of such trading began July 5, 1916, and the last future trade was made on December 18, 1917. Details by 6-month periods are as follows:
Data for future trading in grain on the New York Produce Exchange are available only for scattered periods. The only grain to be considered in this connection is wheat. Around 1880 the volume of sales in terms of bushels was as follows:1 July-December, 1879----------
128, 408, 000 Year 1880--
300, 298, 000 Year 1880 --------
300, 298, 000 Jan. 1 to Apr. 21, 1882---
227, 756, 000
Total for 33; months------
1, 154, 267, 000 Average per year--
- 411, 421, 901 For the five-year period 1904–1908, future sales are reported to have averaged 480,000,000 bushels a year, the year 1907 showing
1 From Senate Documents, New York State, vol. 5, No. 45, p. 88 (1883). The column caption is labeled “ Options, futures, puts and calls, long and short, straddles, etc.”
610,000,000 bushels. There was evidently an increase in the volume of trading between the two periods. It is not to be assumed, however, that trading in futures reached its maximum at or near the later date. Future trading in New York began in 1877. According to the recollection of members, the period of greatest activity was around 1890. Since 1915 trading in grain futures on the New York Exchange has ceased to be of sufficient importance to warrant the dissemination of quotations and may be considered extinct.
For Baltimore, Toledo, and San Francisco, no numerical data of any sort indicative of the volume of future trading in grain have been obtained. Future trading is of no importance at Baltimore and has not been large for years. Quotations are still sometimes made by means of a call. Future trading never has been important at San Francisco, and there also quotations are rather call-board : than continuous-trading prices. Toledo is an important future trading center, but with specialties other than the food grains.
VOLUME ON THE CHICAGO OPEN BOARD OF TRADE.-Data of transactions on the Chicago Open Board of Trade are available in detail for the year 1917. Because of the special character of that year with regard to the change of conditions as between its earlier and later portions, the data presented below are by months. The three grains are also shown separately. The figures are for sales of futures put through the clearing house.
TABLE 9.—Grain futures cleared, Chicago Open Board, 1917.
2,000 34, 124,000
5,000 38, 416,000
One interesting fact shown by these figures is the inappreciable effect on volume of the cutting off of trading in wheat. On the other hand, the tax of 2 cents per $100 of value, effective December 1, had a marked effect. It appears that about 600,000,000 bushels of futures
State of New York, Report of Gov. Hughes's ('ommittee on Speculation in Securities and Commodities, June 7, 1909, p. 19.
2 New York State Senate Doc. No. 45, p. 135 (1883). : See p. 32.