The history of prices is indeed remarkable, and the factors which rule them are not always easy to understand. Taking the price of fine hard Para as the standard, the value of this commodity in 1871 was about three shillings a pound. In 1878 the price was only two shillings. This rose to 4/4 in 1883, and fell to 2/6 in 1885. From this point the rise in value was more or less continuous until the price reached 5/8 in 1905. In 1908, a year of considerable industrial depression, the price fell to 2/9, but after this it rose very rapidly until it reached the unprecedented figure of 12/9 in
April, 1910. Much of this increase was probably associated with the increasing demand for motor tyres. After this, prices declined rapidly, and during 1912 the price remained fairly steady, between 4/- and 4/6.
The price of the best grades of plantation rubber is generally very close to that of hard Para. Hitherto, however, Para has always retained a higher value than the best plantation rubber, taking account of the fact that the former contains upwards of 10 per cent, of water more than the latter.
The amount of capital embarked in the rubber planting industry is enormous. Wright estimates that the nominal capital of companies registered in Great Britain alone, between 1907 and 1911, exceeds £90,000,000, of which about £60,000,000 is actually paid up.