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The President's News Conference

July 10, 1931


THE PRESIDENT. It has come to my knowledge that certain persons are selling short in our commodity markets, particularly in wheat. These transactions have been continuous over the past month. I do not refer to the ordinary hedging transactions, which are a sound part of our marketing system. I do not refer to the legitimate grain trade. I refer to a limited number of speculators, and I am not expressing any views upon the economics of short selling in normal times.

But in these times this activity has a public interest. It has but one purpose and that is to depress prices. It tends to destroy returning public confidence. The intent is to take a profit from the losses of other people. Even though the effect may be temporary, it deprives many farmers of their rightful income.

If these gentlemen have that sense of patriotism, which outruns immediate profit, and a desire to see the country recover, they will close up these transactions and desist from their manipulations. The confidence imposed upon me by law as a public official does not permit me to expose their names to the public.

Note: President Hoover's one hundred and ninety-ninth news conference was held in the White House at 4 p.m. on Friday, July 10, 1931.

On the same day, the White House issued a text of the President's statement on speculation in the commodity markets (see Item 257).

Herbert Hoover, The President's News Conference Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/211501

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