By contrast with the period of depression culminating in 1896 the closing years of the pre-war period are a time of comparative prosperity. The general trend of prices was markedly upward, though there were checks in 1900-2 and 1907-9. Over the whole period the Sauerbeck index rose from 59 to 88, The Economist index from 89 to 113, and the Board of Trade one from 90·1 to 117.2. Unemployment averaged 47%, compared with 5·3 % for 1873-96. Our overseas trade, which had been nearly stagnant in value, now showed a marked expansion, and foreign lending, after having been rather small during the first few years, showed an unprecedented expansion between 1903 and 1905.