12 DECEMBER 1931, Page 38

Finance—Public & Private

Oversea Investments

ALTHOUGH this week's meetings of the Committees appointed to examine Germany's financial position are not dealing with direct debts to the investing public, they must have served to remind many individual investors of losses of capital and income through their own interest in oversea finance. The present is, therefore, a suitable time for considering the position of Britain's oversea debtors as a whole.

Oversea lending has always been more popular in this country than in any other. It was largely responsible for the world's pre-War development, as well as for our own prosperity. In addition to subscribing for the loans floated on behalf of the Governments of rapidly developing British Dominions and countries in South America and elsewhere, the British investor provided finance for mining, railway and agricultural enterprise in these " new" countries. Since the European War, this penchant for oversea ,lending has been deflected to some extent to Europe, where British finance has gone to the assistance of countries whose .post-War recovery and development required the piOvision of outside funds. The investing public took its part in this new phase of overseas finance, and thus at the present time holds large amounts of -European bonds. Although, from the investor's point of View, all oversea investments can be classed together in the sense that their profitability must ultimately depend on an improvement in world conditions, the distinctions between our Continental investments and those made in more distant countries make it convenient to separate the two classes.