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THE BUSINESS REVIEW
THIRD FEDERAL
PHILADELPHIA

RESERVE DISTRICT
APRIL i, 192.4

By RICHARD L. AUSTIN, Chairman and Federal Reserve Agent
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK of PHILADELPHIA

SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
Employment at industrial establishments increased in
February and the output o f basic commodities was
slightly larger. Distribution, both at wholesale and
retail, continued large; wholesale prices were somewhat
higher; and there was a further increase in the volume
o f borrowing for commercial purposes.
The Federal Reserve Board’s index o f production in
basic industries, adjusted to allow for length o f month
and other seasonal variation, inProduction
creased less than 1 per cent in
February.
Production o f pig
iron, steel ingots, and flour increased, while mill con­
sumption o f cotton and production o f cement and lumber
declined. Factory employment advanced 1 per cent in
February, following, successive decreases during the
three preceding months. Increases in working forces
were reported by most industries and were particularly
large at iron and steel plants, automobile factories, and
textile finishing establishments.
Fuller employment

Index of

22

basic com modities corrected for seasonal variation.
(1919 = 100.) Latest figure — February, 121.




through reduction o f part-time work is indicated by an
increase o f over 5 per cent in average weekly earnings.
Building activity was slightly less than in January,
though contracts awarded were 7 per cent larger than
a year ago.
Railroad shipments in February were in greater daily
volume than in January and car loadings of practically
all important commodities were
Trade
larger than a year ago. The daily
average volume o f wholesale busi­
ness increased about 5 per cent in February, but was
slightly smaller than a year ago. Sales o f meat, dry
goods, and hardware were larger than in February,
1923, while sales o f shoes were smaller. Department
store sales in,February averaged about the same daily
volume as in January and about 8 per cent more than
a year ago, while merchandise stocks at these stores at
the end o f the month were 6 per cent above last year’s
level. Business o f mail order houses and chain stores

2

T

Weekly figures for

also showed
January.

12 Federal Reserve
M arch, 19.

increased

Banks.

he

B

Latest

usiness

figure —

activity in comparison

with

Wholesale prices, as measured by the index o f the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, advanced slightly in Feb­
ruary.
Prices o f fuel, metals,
Prices
and building materials increased,
while prices o f farm products,
clothing, and chemicals declined. During the first two
weeks in March price declines occurred in wheat, cotton,
silk, hides, and rubber, and price advances in hogs, cop­
per, and crude petroleum.
The volume o f borrowing for commercial purposes at
member banks in leading cities in the early part o f
March continued the increase
Bank credit
which began in the latter part o f
January, and on March 12 total
loans o f the reporting banks were higher than at any

R

eview

A pril

Index for 33 m anufacturing industries. (1919 = 100.) Latest figure —
February, 99.

time since the seasonal peak at the turn o f the year, and
about $275,000,000 higher than a year ago.
A t the Federal reserve banks during the four week
period ending March 19 a further decline in the volume
o f discounts for member banks and o f acceptances was
offset by an increase in the holdings o f United States
securities, so that total earning assets were at about the
same level as in February. Federal reserve note cir­
culation continued to decline, while the total money in
circulation increased.
Easier money conditions were -reflected in a slight
decline in rates for commercial paper to
per cent
and also in lower rates for bankers’ acceptances and
reduced yields on Treasury certificates. The March
offering o f $400,000,000 o f one year Treasury cer­
tificates bearing interest at 4 per cent, as compared with
4J4 per cent on a similar issue sold in December, was
oversubscribed.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
PAGE

Bankers’ acceptances ................................
Building .......................................................
Bricks ..........................................................
Chemicals ....................................................
Cigars ..........................................................
Coal ...............
Coal, anthracite ..........................................
Coal, bituminous ........................................
Coke ..............................................................
Commercial paper .......................................
Confectionery .............................................
Cotton goods ...............................................
Cotton, raw .................................................
District summary .......................................
Drugs, wholesale .......................................
Drygoods, wholesale ..................................
Employment and wages............................
Financial conditions ................................
Floor coverings ..........................................




6
12
12
17
28
16
16
16
17
5
12
19
18
3
8
7
3
5
24

PAGE

Foreign exchange ......................................
Gas and electric fixtures...........................
Glass ..............................................................
Groceries, wholesale ................................
Hardware, wholesale ................................
Hides and skins..........................................
Hosiery .......................................................
Iron ...............................................................
Jewelry, wholesale ...................................
Leather ................
Lumber .........................................................
National summary .....................................
Oil .................................................................
Paint ............................................................
Paper ............................................................
Paper, wholesale ......................................
Pottery ..........................................................
Printing and publishing...........................
Retail trade ..................................................

6
14
14
10
9
25
23
15
10
25
13
1
17
14
27
9
15
28
7

Savings deposits ......................... .
Securities .........................................
Shoes .................................................
Shoes, wholesale ............................
Silk goods ......................................
Silk, raw ......................................... .
Silk, thrown .................................. ,
Steel ................................................ .
Sugar, raw ......................................
Sugar, refined .................................
Summary, district ......................... .
Summary, national .......................
Synopsis of business conditions,
Underwear .......................................
Wholesale trade ...........................
W oolen and worsted goods ........ .
W oolen and worsted yarns ..........
W ool, raw ......................................

Special Article: Advantages of Membership in the Federal Reserve S ystem ......... 32

PACE
..
5

26
8
22
21
21

15
10
1
1

3

1
3
o

24
7
20
20
19

SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
IN THE

THIRD FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT

Although some hesitation has developed during the
past month on the part o f buyers in certain lines, busi­
ness continues to be on a large scale. Production of
basic commodities increased slightly in February,
freight-car loadings were in greater volume than in any
corresponding period, and sales by most o f the
wholesale trades reporting to this bank were larger
than they were a year ago. Retail trade, too, was above
that of last year. The general price level at the end of
February, the last month for which figures are available,
showed a slight increase over that of January.
Activity is rather unevenly distributed among the d if­
ferent industries. Iron and steel are not in as great de­
mand as they were a month ago, and prices are some­
what weaker; but production is at a high rate. In
February, the output o f both steel ingots and pig iron
was larger than at any time since last October. In the
textile industries conditions are still unsatisfactory.
I his is said to be largely due to lack o f confidence in
future prices on the part of both buyers and sellers.
Lower quotations on raw cotton have been reflected in
reduced prices on cotton goods, but these have not
stimulated business. A similar situation prevails in
the silk market. Building operations are at a high rate,
and, considering the season, most building materials
are in good request. The estimated value o f building
permits issued in this district during February, however,
was below that o f January although greater than that o f
last February. The leather trades are not as active as
they were last month, and prices of hides are weaker.
Bituminous coal is in poor request, partly because of
seasonal influences and partly because of large stocks;
an additional factor tending to weaken the market is the
fact that operators and miners have reached an agree­
ment regarding a contract for three years beginning
April 1, 1924. Paper manufacturers and dealers report
that business is better than it was last month or a year
ago, and that the granting o f price concessions has
ceased.
It will he noted that those reports that are unfavorable
come for the most part from manufacturers. W ith
distributors, goods are selling actively, as is evidenced
by the fact that o f the seven wholesale lines report­
ing to this bank, five showed sales in excess o f
last year’s. Further substantiation o f the fact that a




large volume of goods is moving into the hands of con­
sumers in this district is found in the figures for sales
at retail, which were 10.7 per cent larger than in Febru­
ary, 1923. That retail trade is large is not surprising
in view o f the generally full employment at substantial
wages. Reports to this bank from 1,032 industrial
establishments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Dela­
ware showed that the number of employes on February
15 was 0.9 per cent greater than it was on January 15
and that total wages paid increased 5.1 per cent. The
larger total o f wages paid is probably attributable to
longer working hours rather than to increase in wage
rates.
The general price level, as measured by the index of
the Bureau of Labor Statistics, advanced from 151 in
January to 152 in February. The increase was largely
due to higher prices for coke, petroleum, gasoline, pig
iron, and other metals. But since March 1 quotations
have declined on such basic commodities as pig iron,
raw cotton, raw silk, hides, rubber, and wheat.
Credit conditions are easy. M oney rates were a trifle
firmer up to the middle o f March, but since then they
have declined.

EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES
The total number o f workers employed at identical
manufacturing establishments in Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, and Delaware changed only slightly from Janu­
ary to February. Total wages paid were more than 5
per cent larger, and average weekly earnings at report­
ing establishments increased more than 4 per cent, in­
dicating longer working hours and more active opera­
tions. Average weekly earnings in all industries are
now about the same as they were in October, 1923, but
are from two to three dollars above the level of a year
ago. The increase in earnings was quite general among
the reporting industries, only five of the forty-eight in­
dustries included in the survey showing a decrease. A s
actual changes in rates of pay were inappreciable, these
larger earnings probably reflect proportionately fuller
employment. The greatest advance in earnings occurred
at lumber mills, hat factories, and plants manufacturing
novelties and jewelry. In the last instance, employment
also increased, but in the first two industries small
decreases occurred.

T

4

he

B

usiness

R

A pril

eview

EMPLOYMENT AND WAGES
IN PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE
Number of wage earners—
week ended

Group and industry

Number
of plants
reporting February
15, 1924

January
15, 1924

Per cent
change

Total weekly payrollweek ended
' February
15, 1924

January
15, 1924

Average weekly wage—
week ended
Per cent
change

February
15, 1924

January
15, 1924

Per cent
change

A ll industries: (48).................. 1,032

392,190

388,759

+ . .9 $10,519,860 $10,007,054

+ 5.1

$26.82

$25.74

+ 4.2

Metal manufactures:
Automobiles, bodies and parts .
Car construction and repair...
Electrical machinery and apparatus......................................
Engines, machines and machine
tools.......................................
Foundries and machine shops.
Heating appliances and apparatus......................................
Iron and steel blast furnaces. .
Iron and steel forgings............
Steel works and rolling mills . .
Structural iron works..............
Miscellaneous iron and steel...
Shipbuilding.............................
Non-ferrous metals..................

350
2.5
14

191,248
7,584
14,826

189,283
7,536
16,260

+ 1.0
+ 0.6
- 8.8

36

17,457

18,101

-

39
74

13,699
14,430

16
12
9
49
12
48
9
7

Textile products:
Carpet and rugs.......................
Clothing...................................
Hats, felt and other.................
Cotton goods...........................
Silk goods.................................
Woolens and worsteds.............
Knit goods and hosiery...........
Dveing and finishing textiles. .
Miscellaneous textile products.
Foods and tobacco:
Bakeries....................................
Canneries..................................
Confectionery and ice cream. .
Slaughtering and meat packing
Sugar refining...........................
Cigars and tobacco..................

5,446,363
214,444
368,573

5,179,185
211,050
394,916

+ 5.2
+ 1.6
- 6.7

28.48
28.28
24.86

27.36
28.01
24.29

+ 4.1
+ 1.0
+ 2.3

3.6

451,843

442,520

+ 2.1

25.88

24.45

+ 5.S

13,469
14,412

+ 1-7
+ 0.1

386,693
411,527

362,870
397,057

+ 6.6
+ 3.6

28.23
28.52

26.94
27.55

+ 4.8
+ 3.5

4,023
14,582
4,196
52,475
2,819
27,458
13,594
4,105

3,891
12,663
4,190
50,544
2,778
27,554
13,761
4,124

+
+
+
+
+
-

3.4
15.2
0.1
3.8
1.5
0.3
1.2
0.5

122,191
418,794
111,487
1,552,297
74,850
834,673
377,802
121,189

108,675
341,708
113,152
1,450,114
71,348
785,929
381,039
118,807

+ 12.4
+22.6
— 1.5
+ 7.0
+ 4.9
+ 6.2
- 0.8
+ 2.0

30.37
28.72
26.57
29.58
26.55
30.40
27.79
29.52

27.93
26.98
27.01
28.69
25.68
28.52
27.69
28.81

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

8.7
6.4
1.6
3.1
3.4
6.6
0.4
2.5

251
14
39
S
24
65
31
46
16
8

72,858
4,06-5
6,351
5,234
7,634
17,581
12,763
10,916
6,240
2,075

72,999
3,923
6,517
5,695
7,514
17,792
13,038
10,596
5,863
2,061

+
+
+
+
+

0.2
3.6
2.5
8.1
1.6
1.2
2.1
3.0
6.4
0.7

1,637,289
114,693
121,288
128,342
180,042
353,905
289,229
223,630
179,987
46,173

1,544,809
103,176
124,024
125,212
176,187
333,596
280.822
202,685
154,604
44,506

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

6.0
11.2
2.2
2.5
2.2
6.1
3.0
10.3
16.4
3.7

22.47
28.21
19.10
24.52
23.58
20.13
22.66
20.49
28.84
22.25

21.16
26.30
19.03
21.99
23.45
18.75
21.54
19.13
26.37
21.59

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

6.2
7.3
0.4
11.5
0.6
7.4
5.2
7.1
9.4
3.1

88

21
6
22
12
4
23

27,526
4,712
2,583
5,776
2,835
4,423
7,197

26,711
4,565
2,455
5,604
2,801
3,476
7,810

+ 3.1
+ 3.2
+ 5.2
+ 3.1
+ 1-2
+27.2
- 7.8

628,829
122,755
57,552
115,780
76,273
140,758
115,711

597,151
117,909
57,255
110,505
78,010
109,.548
123,924

+ 5.3
+ 4.1
+ 0.5
+ 4.8
- 2.2
+28.5
- 6.6

22.84
26.05
22.28
20.05
26.90
31.82
16.08

22.36
25.83
23.32
19.72
27.85
31.52
15.78

+
+
—
+
+
+

2.1
0.9
4.5
1.7
3.4
1.0
1.3

77

21,131

20,827

+ 1.5

602,356

567,154

+ 6.2

28.51

27.23

+ 4.7

12.0
9.0
6.0
1-1

26.40
28.45
27.43
31.64

24.28
26.26
26.23
31.79

+
+
+
-

8.7
8.3
4.6
0.5

6.5
4.4
7.3
8.3
6.9
8.8

30.25
26.62
27.63
26.83
32.55
32.35

28.85
25.64
25.77
26.40
30.88
31.68

+
+
+
+
+
+

4.9
3.8
7.2
1.6
5.4
2.1

Building materials:
Brick, tile and terra cotta products.......................................
Cement.....................................
Glass.........................................
Pottery.....................................

19
14
27
17

3,186
5,355
7,706
4,884

3,095
5,321
7,604
4,807

+
+
+
+

2.9
0.6
1.3
1.6

84,115
152,336
211,360
154,545

75,133
139,728
199,459
152,834

+
+
+
+

Chemicalandallied products:
Chemicals and drugs...............
Explosives.................................
Paints and varnishes...............
Petroleum refining...................
Coke..........................................

74
41
10
12
7
4

29,938
8,113
2,452
1,486
16,494
1,393

29,478
8,071
2,451
1,395
16,253
1,308

+
+
+
+
+
+

1.6
0.5
0.0
6.5
1.5
6.5

905,597
216,001
67,761
39,870
536,895
45,070

850,463
206,945
63,154
36,824
502,102
41,438

+
+
+
+
+
+

Miscellaneous industries:
192
Lumber and planing mill prod8
ucts.......................................
Furniture.................................. ■ 21
5
Musical instruments...............
34
Leather tanning.......................
8
Leather products.....................
28
Boots and shoes.......................
24
Paper and pulp products........
24
Printing and publishing..........
20
Rubber tires and goods...........
10
Novelties and jewelry-..............
All other industries.................
10

49,489

49,461

+ 0.1

1,299,426

1,268,292

+ 2.5

26.26

25.64

+ 2.4

2,341
3,282
9,994
8,109
718
5,375
5,763
3,903
5,776
2,643
1,586

2,427
3,235
9,887
8,130
723
5,378
5,920
4,013
5,758
2,589
1,401

52,995
81,868
289,475
214,049
14,771
104,010
147,038
126,386
1.54,140
66,5.54
48,140

48,093
79,380
281,081
212,134
14,349
100,238
139,915
129,170
164,473
58,828
40,631

+ 10.2
+ 3.1
+ 3.0
+ 0.9
+ 2.9
+ 3.8
+ 5.1
— 22
- 6.3
+ 13.1
+ 18.5

22.64
24.94
28.96
26.40
20.57
19.35
25.51
32.39
26.69
25.18
30.35

19.82
24.54
28.43
26.09
19.85
ISM
23.63
32.19
28.56
22.72
29.00

+ 14.2
+ 1.6
+ 1.9
+ 1.2
+ 3.6
+ 3.8
+ 8.0
+ 0.6
— 6.5
+ 10.8
+ 4.7




+
+
+
+
+

3.5
1.5
1.1
0.3
0.7
0.1
2.7
2.8
0.3
2.1
13.2

T

1924

it i r d

F

ed e r a l

In employment there was a considerable variation
among the different industries in the nature and extent
o f the changes reported. The principal increases— of
15 per cent and 27 per cent respectively— were reported
by blast furnaces and sugar refineries. Notable in­
creases also occurred at textile dyeing and finishing
establishments, canneries, paint and varnish factories,
and coke plants. Fairly large decreases in employment
were reported by cigar factories, hat factories, and
car construction and repair shops. In the last instance
the decrease is attributable principally to a reduction in
working forces at one large establishment. The table
on page 4 shows the changes in employment and wages
in the principal industries.

FINANCIAL CONDITIONS
Total loans and discounts o f reporting member banks
in the Third Federal Reserve District rose from 628
millions on February 13 to 631 millions on March
12. The gain in commercial loans— from 348 to 353
millions— was more marked, but secured loans declined
from 280 to 278 millions. Investments increased and
deposits decreased.

BANKING CONDITIONS
Third Federal Reserve District
Changes in course of
Latest*
Four
weeks

Six
months

One
year

Reporting Member Banks
• Secured loans...............
Commercial loans........

278
353

_ 2
+ 5

— 5
— 5

_ 2
+21

Total loans and discounts...................

631

+ 3

-1 0

+ 19

U. S. securities owned .
Other securities owned.

102
1S7

_ o
4- 7

- 9
+ 7

-1 6
+ 3

Total investments...

289

+ 5

_ 2

-1 3

Demand deposits........
Time deposits..............
Government deposits. .

672
130
10

-1 3
+ 3
0

-1 9
+26
0

-4 0
+46
0

Federal Reserve Bank:
Bills discounted...........
Purchased bills............
U. S. securities............
'V
v
Total earning assets.

41
16
25

+ 2
- 9
+ 2

-1 8
- 2
+ 8

-2 0
-1 2
- 4

82

— 5

-1 2

-3 6

4- 1
4- 1
4-10
+ 2.6%

-1 9
+ 2
+ 1
+ 4.4%

+ 1
0
+44
+ 13.6%

Federal reserve note cirdilation.....................
199
Total deposits..............
119
( ash reserves...............
260
Reserve ratio............... 81.7%

^Reporting member banks— March 12, 1924.
Federal Reserve Bank—
-March 19, 1924.




eserve

D

i s t r i ct

5

o f the Federal Reserve Bank o f Philadelphia declined
from 87 to 82 millions, owing to a falling off o f seven
millions in purchased paper and United States securities
as against a gain o f but two millions in discounted bills.
A n increase o f ten millions in cash reserves, offset bv
only small increases in the note and deposit liabilities,
served to raise the reserve ratio.
The ruling rate for call money on the stock exchange
was 3 per cent on March 20, and it was reported that
money was loaned outside the
Securities
exchange at 2 per cent. A month
ago the rate was 4)4 per cent.
Prices o f industrial stocks declined from the levels o f a
month ago, but bonds and railroad stocks rose.
Statistics o f security prices and transactions are
given b elow :

THE SECURITY MARKET
March 21,
1923

March 20,
1924

February 20,
1924

Averages of—
20 industrial stocks..........
20 railroad stocks.............
40 bonds...........................
4 Liberty bonds.............

.$95.88
81.45
87.86
99.53

$96.58
80.63
87.37
99.48

$105.23
89.67
86.51
97.77

Stock sales* (in shares) . . . .
Bond sales*
Call money (ruling rate). . . .

In the four weeks ended March 19 the earning assets

Figures in millions of
dollars

R

1,031
$14 410
3%

842
$8,534
4R%

1,391
$11,423

*000’s omitted.

Seventy-nine banks in the Third Federal Reserve
District report an increase o f .3 o f one per cent in
savings deposits during February.
Savings deposits This compares with a gain o f 1.1
per cent in February o f last year,
and o f .2 o f one per cent two years ago. All o f the
cities except Trenton report larger deposits on March
1 than on February 1. Little interest was credited
during the interim, so that the increase may be regarded
as being due almost entirely to an excess o f deposits
over withdrawals. Comparative percentages o f change
are shown on the next page.
During March only a comparatively few banks in
the city were buyers o f commercial paper, but they pur.
chased freely. Some institutions
Commercial
outside o f
Philadelphia also
PaPer
bought a fair amount, and
although the sales to them are expected to fall consid­
erably short o f the rather large February transactions,
the total sales in this district will in all likelihood be
as large as they were a month ago. Early in the month
rates were slightly higher than they were during Feb­
ruary, but later they eased off and a number o f sales
were made at 4*2 per cent. Most o f the country banks,
/
l
however, are demanding a higher rate and some o f
them will not buy at less than 5 per cent.

T

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usiness

A pril

eview

TRANSACTIONS IN BANKERS’ ACCEPTANCES

SAVINGS DEPOSITS
Third Federal Reserve District

Sales in Third District
Number
of
banks

Per cent of change
March 1, as compared
with
Month ago

Altoona.........................................
Chester.........................................
Harrisburg...................................
Johnstown....................................
Lancaster.....................................
Philadelphia.................................
Reading........................................
Scranton .......................................
Trenton........................................
Wilkes-Barre................................
Williamsport................................
Wilmington..................................
York..............................................
Others...........................................
Totals.......................................

5
5
4
5
3
9
3
6
6
5
4
5
5
14

+2.1
+ 1.7
+ 1.0
+ 1.3
+ 1.0
+ .4
+ 1.5
+ .02
-4 .3
+ .7
+ -8
+3.2
+ 1.8
+ -8

+ 15.6
+ 10.5
+ 15.8
+ 10.7
+22.5
+ 6.9
+ 16.7
+ 16.2
+ 1.7
+ 19.8
+ 2.8
+ 8.7
+ 9.3
+ 11.0

79

+ .3

+ 8.7

During February, five reporting firms in the Third
Federal Reserve District sold paper to the amount of
$8,430,000, and in February, 1923, to the amount o f
$6,457,000. O f the former total, $2,655,000 was pur­
chased by city banks and $5,775,000 by outside institu­
tions. Almost 70 per cent o f the amount sold was
closed at 4^4 per cent, and the balance was almost
equally divided between A1 per cent and 5 per cent.
/
Only a small fraction o f 1 per cent was marketed at
5^* per cent.
A fair demand for acceptances in this district was
noted by dealers during the four weeks ended March 12.
t
Sales were larger than in the pretSankers
ceding month and a year ago, but
accep ances
q ie actjv^y 0 f tpe
did not
approach in intensity the business stimulated by the de­
cline in the rate for call money on March 20 and 21.
The rate for 90-day bills, which had been steady at
4 per cent for some time, declined to 3^4 per cent, and
for six-months’ bills from 4*4 to 3y6 per cent.
five dealers are summarized

Twelve accepting banks report an increase in the sum
o f acceptances executed. For the month ending March
10 the total was $4,569,000. in the previous month,
$3,338,000, and a year ago, $3,513,000.




To Federal
Reserve
Bank

To others

Purchases
in Third
District

Year ago

The sudden change in the situation was largely caused
by the break in call money rates in New York, and
the resultant seeking for other investment channels
for the large sum o f loanable funds. The supply o f
paper is small, as borrowers do not appear to be greatly
in need o f funds, and the recent increase in the demand
has absorbed a large part o f the paper owned by the
dealers.

The transactions o f
herewith:

Weekly average for period

1924:
February 14 to March 12... .
January 10 to February 13...
December 13* to January 9..
1923:
February 12 to March 11... .

$2,863,000
1,408,000
2,406,000

$366,000
329,000
352,000

$622,000
791,000
353,000

2,424,000

182,000

642,000

* 1923.

Completely overshadowing in interest and importance
all other developments in the foreign exchange market
during the past month has been
Foreign exchange the unprecedented fall and rapid
recovery in the value o f French
francs. For some time past, political and speculative in­
fluences had caused French currency to depreciate more
and more, until the heavy pressure o f selling orders
forced francs down to $.0349 on March 8, a new low
for noon cables. The French Government then took
measures to halt the decline, with the result that a loan
o f $100,000,000 was made by financial interests in this
country to be used to stabilize the franc. Immediately
upon the announcement o f this measure, the currency
strengthened and rose sharply each day thereafter until,
on March 22, the franc reached $.0523, a high point
for the year.

F O R E IG N

EXC H A N G E

RATES

Pc.KLt.nT
OF

PAR

90
80
70

---------- — -------

~ ~ England
___France
Ita ly

eo

50
40
30 G
20

■
. - ' ---------- v . .
----------------------------------------

io
O

J F M A M J

JA
1923

SON

b J F M A M J J A S
1924

o u t

Between October and March the tendency of all four of the leading
European currencies was downward, the decline of French
francs being most pronounced. But In March
both French and Belgian francs
recovered sharply.

Source—Federal Reserve Bank of New York

On March 22 sterling was listed at $4.3038, a dis­
tinct improvement over the quotation o f $4.2632 on

T II I R ]) F E D E R A E R E S E R V E

1924

FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES
Noon cables

Par

London.
$4 8665
.1930
Paris.....................
Antwerp...............
.1930
Milan....................
.1930
^ ienna..................
.2020
Amsterdam..........
.4020
( 'openhagen..........
.2680
Stockholm............
.2680
.1930
Madrid.................
Berne....................
.1930
Buenos Aires........
.9648
Shanghai...............
.7745

March 20,
1924

$4 2941
.0.512
.0406
.0433
.000014
.3706
.1564
.2635
.1289
.1730
.7626
.7012

February 20,
1924

$4 2956
.0414
.0347
.0429
.000014
.3723
.1576
.2610
.1270
.1730
.7712
.7050

March 20,
1923

§4 6923
.0651
.0563
.0485
.000014
.3949
.1918
.2661
.1546
.1853
.8404
.7590

March 10. During the second week o f the month, heavy
selling o f sterling, supposedly to cover contracts in
French francs, was responsible for the decline at that
time. This was also true o f Dutch and Swiss currencies,
both o f which fell on March 10 to new low levels for the
year, the form er to $.3695 and the latter to $.1722. On
March 11, Italian lire were also quoted at a record low
o f $.0413, but quotations have since advanced and are
now listed at $.0427. The decline was thought to be
partly on account o f the effect o f the recent Italian loan
to Poland. Belgian francs followed closely the move­
ment o f French francs and have advanced almost one
cent since their fall to a record low o f $.0316 on March
10. Spanish pesetas are now quoted at $.1285, a higher
figure than they have reached at any time since the
first o f February; but Norwegian kroner, though they
have gained appreciably since, declined on February 25
to $.1325, the lowest quotation since 1921. A strike
among paper and pulp mill workers in Norway, pre­
ceded by a walk-out among dock employees, has had an
unfavorable effect on the exchange market and has
tended to aggravate an already rather tense financial
situation. Quotations on Swedish kroner are higher
than they have been for several weeks and are steady
ut $.2635. South American currencies are lower than
they were last month, the greatest shrinkage being
recorded in Brazilian milreis, which have declined from
$•1211 to $.1049 during the past four weeks.
Chinese tael (H on g K on g) are stronger at $.5053
than they were a month ago, but Japanese yen failed
to hold their position, and owing to Japan’s unfavorable
t’ ade balance and a decline in silk production, quota­
tions fell to a new low record on March 14 o f $.4193.
Canadian dollars on March 15 were listed at $.966109.
the lowest point since 1922, but shortly after, recovered,
<md are now quoted at $.971660.

RETAIL TRADE
Retail sales in March will probably not exceed those
° f last March, because o f the fact that there is one less
business day in this March than last, and because the




D I ST RI CT

7

pre-Easter season falls in April. But reports o f busi­
ness are so encouraging that these disadvantages may
be overcome.
Prices on the whole are steady, but the changes that
have taken place are in favor of the buyer. Some con­
cessions have been obtained on rugs, cotton goods, and
hosiery, and merchandise of nearly all kinds is reported
to be in plentiful supply.
During February sales in this district gained 10.7 per
cent over those o f February, 1923, indicating that special
sales, which always play a prominent part in February’s
business, were successful; and some of the stores state
that the furniture sales broke previous records. In
nearly all parts o f the district improvement is noted,
and in Altoona and Johnstown, where decreases have
occurred during recent months, gains are now recoi ded.
In Scranton, however, the gains are less than those o f
recent months. In Philadelphia the department stores
made an especially good showing, but in the men’s ap­
parel stores sales were not altogether satisfactory.

WHOLESALE TRADE
The volume o f wholesale trade, as is usual at this
season, has become greater during March than it was
in the months immediately preceding. It is thought,
however, that in some lines, such as drygoods and shoes,
sales will not be as large as they were in March, 1923.
Prices have not varied greatly, but the reductions prob­
ably outnumber the advances. Am ong the commodities
reduced are manufactures o f cotton and o f silk and
some food products, butter, eggs, and sugar.
During February, sales o f paper and shoes were
larger than in January or in February, 1923; but sales
o f drygoods were smaller than in either o f those months.
Sales o f drugs, groceries, and hardware were smaller
than in January but larger than in February, 1923,
whereas in jewelry the reverse was true. Collections
have as a rule become slower and in most lines com ­
pare unfavorably with those o f January and o f Feb­
ruary, 1923. Stocks are for the most part increasing.
A t this season o f the year particularly, the drygoods sold at wholesale consist largely o f cotton goods,
and as the quotations for these
Drygoods
have been falling, buyers have
been cautious, and sales in March
are said to be the same as those o f February, or some­
what smaller. Morever, buyers have limited their pur­
chases as to time, and all orders are for shipment either
in March or April. The articles for which the demand is
best are ginghams, dress goods, laces, hosiery, summer
underwear, shirts, notions, ready-to-wear goods, and
play suits. N o advances in price are noted, but nearly
all cotton goods, fibre silk hosiery, and some numbers
o f silk and o f cotton hosiery are lower than they were
last month.

T he

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RETAIL TRADE
Third Federal Reserve District
Comparison of net sales

Comparison of stocks

Feb., 1924
with
Feb., 1923

Jan. 1 to
Feb. 29, 1924
with
Jan. 1 to
Feb. 28, 1923

All reporting firms..............................................................................
Firms in— Philadelphia....................................................................
— Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton............................
— Altoona ..............................................................................
— Chester..............................................................................
— Harrisburg........................................................................
— Johnstown.........................................................................
— Lancaster..........................................................................
— Reading..............................................................................
— Scranton ............................................................................
— Trenton ..............................................................................
— Wilkes-Barre....................................................................
—Williamsport....................................................................
— Wilmington......................................................................
— York ....................................................................................
— All other cities ................................................................

+ 10.7%
+ 11.2“
+ 16.8“
+ 3 .2 “
+33.3 “
+ 3 .7 “
+ 5.2“
+ 8 .4 “
+ 5 .5 “
+ 9.3“
+ 11.4“
+ 14.4“
+ 6 .5 “
+ 13.8 “
+ 10.2“
+ 12.5 “

+ 8.7%
+ 8 .9 “
+ 14.5“
+ 0 .8 “
+ 2 1 .4 “
+ 2 .5 “
- 2 .5 “
+ 11.1 “
+ 10.7“
+ 13.6“
+ 10.3 “
+ 9 .4 “
+ 5.6 “
+ 14.7 “
+ 9 .9 “
+ 9 .1 “

+
+
+
+

All department stores ........................................................................
Department stores in Philadelphia.............................................
Department stores outside Philadelphia...................................

+ 9 .6 “
+ 10.5“
+ 7.2“

All apparel stores................................................................................
Men’s apparel stores............................................................
— in Philadelphia..........................................................
—outside Philadelphia..................................................
W omen’s apparel stores....................................................................
— in Philadelphia. .....................................................................
— outside Philadelphia.............................................................

+
+
+
+

Credit houses.........................................................................................

+

Shoe stores..............................................................................................

+

Feb. 29, 1924
with
Feb. 2S, 1923

Feb. 29. 1924
with
Jan. 31, 1924

Rate of turnover*

Jan. 1 to Jan. 1 to
Feb. 29, Feb. 28,
1924
1923

8.1%
7.8“
12.5“
10.2 “

+
+
+
+

+7%
2 .3 “
7.5“
11.2 “

3.2
3.6
2.0
2.3

3.2
3.6
2.1
2.5

+ 10.5“
+ 13.4“
+ 4 .9 “
+ 7.1 “
+23.7 “
- 0 .7 “
+ 5 .3 “
+ 8 .0 “
+ 0 .8 “
+ 1.5“
+ 10.4“

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

9 .3 “
18.8“
10.8“
6 .5 “
10.6“
8.1 “
11.9“
14.2 “
3 .2 “
13.4 “
5 .9 “

2.1
3.2
2.4
2.0
2.4
2.8
2.8
1.9
1.9
2.4
2.0

2.2
3.5
2.3
2.0
2.6
2.5
2.6
2.0
1.6
2.2
2.0

+ 7.3“
+ 7.5“
+ 6 .7 “

+ 7 .4 “
+ 7.2“
+ 7.8“

+ 3 .7 “
+ 0 .4 “
+ 10.9“

3.1
3.5
2.4

3.1
3.5
2.4

+
+
+
+

16.0“
8 .8 “
6.1“
13.1“
+ 17.5 “
+ 18.2“
+ 14.5“

+
+
+
+
+
+

12.S “
12.6“
12.6“
12.6“
4 .3 “
5 .9 “
- 0 .7“

+
+
+
+

16.3“
12.8“
19.5“
6 .7 “
+ 14.9 “
+ 16.8“
+ 9 .2“

3.9
2.2
2.6
1.9
5.6
6.4
3.2

3.8
2.3
2.8
1.9
5.1
5.7
3.1

11.6“

+ 7 .8“

+ 11.1 “

+ 1.3“

2.2

2.2

15.0“

+

1.4“

+ 2 .2 “

3.2

2.S

15.4 “
6 .0 “
1.8“
13.0“
+ 17.6“
+ 17.4“
+ 18.2 “

14.6“

-

* Times per year based on cumulative period.

During’ February, sales were smaller by 4.8 per
cent than in January, and by 5.7 per cent than in
February, 1923. Collections are not as good as they
were in either the previous-month or the previous year,
as is shown by the ratio o f accounts outstanding, which
was 250.2 on February 29, 236.5 on January 31, and
230.2 on February 28, 1923. Stocks are heavier than
they were at the end o f either January, 1924, or Feb­
ruary, 1923, the gains being 1.4 per cent and 20.7 per
cent respectively.

Sales during February were larger by 2.3 per cent
than in January and by 3.7 per cent than in February,
1923. Stocks are 7.3 per cent greater than they were
at the end o f January, but 4.2 per cent smaller than
they were a year ago. The ratio o f accounts outstand­
ing was 284.3 on February 29. 283.6 on January 31,
and 299.1 on February 28, 1923.

Sales o f shoes at wholesale in March show but little
change from those o f February. U p to the time o f
writing, repeat orders have been
Shoes
disappointingly s m a l l , but as
Easter is almost three weeks later
this year than it was last, these may be received next
month. The demand for women’s shoes in patent
leather and satins continues to be good, but that for
suedes, especially in black, is decreasing. For men’s
wear, tan oxfords lead, though black oxfords are also
wanted. For children, tans and patent leather are the

The call for drugs is fair, and though practically un­
changed since last month, is slightly better than it was
in March, 1923. Staple goods.
Drugs
spraying materials, and seasonable
patent medicines are at present
the best sellers. Dulness still prevails in the botanical
drug market, and prices have continued to soften. The
demand for fine drugs and chemicals is fairly good, but
not as strong as it was last month, and consequently
prices are slightly lower. The price indexes o f 40
botanical drugs and 35 drugs and fine chemicals, as




most popular. Prices are unchanged, and practically
all orders are for shipment before Easter.

IQ24

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F

hird

ederal

R

eserve

D

istrict

9

WHOLESALE TRADE
Third Federal Reserve District
Percentage of increase or decrease in
Index
number
(1923 Av.
= 100)

.

Jan. 1924 Feb. 1923 Jan. 1924

Boots and shoes............................
Drugs..............................................
Dry g ood s.....................................
Groceries.........................................
Hardware.......................................
Jewelry...........................................
Paper..............................................

80
99
89
90
SI

+

+
+

2.3%
4 .7 “
4.8“
3 .1 “
2 .4 “
18.9“
2 .0 “

3.7%
0 .7 “
5 .7 “
6.1 “
14.1 “
- 0 .6 “
+ 3 .5 “
+
+
+
+

compiled by the “ Oil, Paint and Drug Reporter,” are
given in the table below.

Price index of 40
botanical drugs

+

+
+
+

+

7.3%
6 .8 “
1.4“
1.5“
2 .0 “
6.1 “
13.5“

Feb. 1923 Jan. 1924

- 4-2%
- 0 .6 “
+20.7 “
+ 6.1“
+ 5 .0 “
+ 7.4“
+ 0 .2 “

-

+
+
+
+
+

0.1%
1.0“
0 .6 “
1.3“
2 .2 “
4 .2 “
3 .5 “

Feb. 1923 Feb. 1924 Jan. 1924 Feb. 1923

2.2%
2 .0 “
2 .5 “
7.5“
10.7 “
+ 18.0 “
+ 5 .2 “
+
+
+
+

T H IR D

1923

108.2
108.2
108.2
108.1

155.2
152.4
152.3
152.3

201.3
199.3
200.0
200.9

172.2
172.6
172.5
172.8

HAR D W A R E
RESERVE

W holesale drug sales in February were 4.7 per
cent smaller than those for January, but 0.7 per cent
larger than those for February, 1923. Jobbers’ stocks
are moderate and smaller than they were last month.
Collections range from fair to good. The ratio o f
accounts outstanding to sales in February was 141.9,
as compared with 137.8 in January and with 138.1 in
February, 1923.
In February our wholesale hardware sales index
number was 81, or 2 points less than the January num­
ber. The aggregate net sales o f
Hardware
31 hardware firms reporting to us
were 2.4 per cent smaller than the
t°tal during the preceding month, but 14.1 per cent
greater than in February o f last year. During the
ljtst month the demand for wholesale hardware, chiefly
from builders, contractors, and factories, has been fair,
and the call for radio supplies and for seasonal goods
such as farming implements, is in some instances char­
acterized as good. Quotations on several articles are
slightly higher than they were a month ago, and most
hrnis reporting to us say that prices are also higher
than they were at this time last year.

Collections are mostly described as fair, though in
several cases they are said to be poor. The ratio o f
accounts outstanding to sales was 189.9 in February,

DISTRICT

R a tio o f at :cour?ts o u t s t
t o n e t s a le s

—

1924




299.1%
138.1 “
230.2 “
116.4“
193.6 “
294.2 “
146.7 “

-gt

1923

FEDERAL

n
— a

17..........

283.6%
137.8“
236.5 “
112.5“
179.5 “
392.9 “
147.0 “

as compared with 179.5 in January and 193.6 in Feb­
ruary, 1923. In the chart below is depicted the trend
o f collections by months since 1920.

W HO LESA LE

M arch

284.3%
141.9“
250.2 “
117.7“
189.9 “
344.3 “
149.1 “

Price index of 35
drugs and fine chemicals

1924
F e b r u a r y 25.. . .
M a r c h 3 ...........
M a r c h 10.........

Ratio of accounts
outstanding to sales

Net sales
Accounts outstanding
Stocks
Feb. 1924 compared Feb. 1924 compared Feb. 1924 compared
with
with
with

A

r

vA
V * \ yvA N

1920

1921

1922

1923

1924

Collections in the wholesale hardware trade are slowest in January
and February in each year.

Source—Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

In general, the wholesale paper trade is more active
than it was last month, and the demand is good. Fine
papers and book papers are sellPaper
ing well, and the call for tissues
is better than in any previous
month o f the year. W rapping, kraft, and building
papers are moving in greater volume than they did
last month, and prices have become firm. I h e demand
for newsprint is well sustained, but box cover papers
are in only fair request. Some changes in price have
occurred, such as an advance in building papers and
a slight decline in box cover papers, but on the whole
prices have held firm. Stocks held by wholesalers are
slightly larger than they were last month but are by

T

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no means heavy. Collections are fair and a tnfle slower
than they were in February.
Our reports from distributors show that wholesale
paper sales in February were 2.0 per cent larger than
in January and 3.5 per cent greater than in February,
1923. The ratio o f accounts outstanding to sales in
February was 149.1, as compared with 147.0 in Janu­
ary and 146.7 in February, 1923.
The wholesale jewelry market, though quiet, is strong,
and March sales are expected to be as usual somewhat
larger than those o f February,
Jewelry
and about the same as those o f
last March. The demand is a
fairly broad one and embraces clocks, watches, silver
plated table ware, flexible bracelets, mountings for the
remounting o f old diamonds, and low grade diamonds.
For the top grades o f diamonds the call is poor. A c ­
cording to the figures compiled by the Treasury
Department, imports o f diamonds in the United States
during 1923 exceeded those o f any previous year ex­
cepting 1919, when conditions in the jewelry business
were without parallel. The increase, however, is in
cut stones; imports o f rough stones have not gained,
but are in fact smaller than they were before the war.
The following table shows the value o f imports o f cut
diamonds, but the variations in the price per carat, as
shown in the accompanying chart, have a considerable
bearing on the quantity imported.

IMPORTS OF CUT DIAMONDS
1913 .............................................................................. $24,800,000
1914 .............................................................................. 12,000,000
1915 .............................................................................. 13,140,000
1916 .............................................................................. 24,200,000
1917 .............................................................................. 18,400,000
1918 .............................................................................
7,000,000
1919 ................................................................................ 64,200,000
1920 ............................................................................. 45,400,000
1921 ............................................................................. 26,300,000
1922 ............................................................................. 43,200,000
1923 ............................................................................. 53,000,000

Sales during February were 18.9 per cent larger
than in January, but 0.6 per cent smaller than those
o f February, 1923. Collections are somewhat slower
than they were a year ago, as is shown by the ratio
of accounts outstanding to sales, which was 344.3 on
February 29, 392.9 on January 31, and 294.2 on Febru­
ary 28, 1923. Stocks were 6.1 per cent heavier on Feb­
ruary 29 than on January 31 and 7.4 per cent heavier
than on February 28, 1923.
The accompanying chart depicts the course o f the
cutters’ prices o f commercial one carat Wesselton dia­
monds from 1914 to date. In the spring o f 1920 prices
had risen to $575. Then buyers began to offer pre­
miums, and no real market quotations are available
until well into 1921.
Prices o f diamonds are now




R

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evie w

105 per cent higher than they were in 1914, whereas
on the same basis the general wholesale commodity
index number is 57 per cent higher.

Quotations named by cutters for commercial one carat Wesselton
diamonds

Source— The Jeweler's Circular Publishing Co.

The demand for groceries is fair and much the same
as it was last month, but greater than in March, 1923.
Canned goods, particularly canned
Groceries
fish, and dried fruits, salt fish,
cheese, and staple groceries are
at present selling actively. Few price changes have
occurred during the month, and in general quotations
have held firm. Cheese, butter, eggs, dried fruits, and
sugar have dropped; but soap, coffee, canned fish, dried
beans, and a few canned vegetables have advanced.
Stocks held by jobbers vary from moderate to heavy
and have changed but slightly.
Reports from wholesale grocers show that sales in
February were 3.1 per cent smaller than those o f Janu­
ary, but 6.1 per cent greater than those o f February,
1923. The ratio o f accounts outstanding increased
from 112.5 in January to 117.7 in February.

SUGAR
The settlement o f the railroad strike in Cuba near the
end of last month resulted in heavy shipments of raw
sugars to Cuban ports early in
Raw sugar
March. Consequently offerings
o f raw sugar for prompt shipment
on the Sugar Exchange thus far this month have been
large, and prices have gradually softened. On February
25, refiners made purchases o f Cuban raw sugar at 5jH
$
cents, c & f, equivalent to 7.41 cents, duty paid; but
since then prices have declined an eighth or sixteenth
o f a cent at a time, and on March 17 refiners bought
heavily at 5 yi cents, c & f, which was equal to 6.91

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cents, duty paid. Further declines brought the price of
Cuban raws to 5 cents, c & f, equal to 6.78 cents, duty
paid, but on March 19 it again advanced to 5% cents,
c & f. Refiners have also purchased considerable quan­
tities of Porto Rican sugar at prices conform ing to
those paid for Cuban, the last recorded sale for late
March and early April delivery being at 6.72 cents. A
sale o f Philippine sugars, too, was reported on March
19, but this has not been confirmed. Buying by the
refineries has been cautious, and practically all purchases
they have made have been for immediate requirements.

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11

ing period o f 1923. The accompanying table shows
how receipts in the same periods o f both years compared.

The demand for refined sugar is only -fair and at
times during the month has been very light. Falling
prices in the raw sugar market
Refined sugar
have caused wholesale grocers
and confectioners to be extremely
cautious in buying. But despite a rather light demand,
prices on refined sugar held firm at from 8.60 to 9.00
cents for hard granulated at the refineries during the
first two and a half weeks of the month. On March
Buyers from the United Kingdom have been active,
18, however, all refiners lowered their quotations on
and their purchases have exceeded in size the quantities
fine granulated to 8.50 or 8.60 cents per pound, a re­
bought during the first three weeks o f March, 1923. duction o f from 10 to 40 points.
Since then one
The prices they paid were equal to those for spot sugar, refiner has further lowered his list to 8.40 cents.
c & f, New York. Belgium, Holland, and Denmark
Several small-sized lots were offered by second hands
have also entered the Cuban market, and a shipment to
during the first half o f the month at from 25 to 35
H ong K ong has been recorded by the Cuban govern­ points below the highest quotations of the refiners, and
ment. Exports to Europe from the island thus far this
these were quickly sold. Since the middle of the month,
month have been fully 50 per cent larger than those for , however, second-hand offerings have been few.
the corresponding weeks of last March.
Foreign purchases o f refined sugar have been small,
and export business is dull. Exports of refined sugar
In some parts o f Cuba the grinding season is already
thus far this year have been only about one-third o f
drawing to a close. The Central Nueva Pas in Havana
what they were in the corresponding period of last year.
province has finished its production and has closed. Its
The export trade has practically ceased to be a factor
output was 37,000 bags, instead o f the 40,000 bags esti­
o f importance in our refined sugar market.
mated. On the other hand, three additional centrales—
Refiners’ stocks, up to the 10th o f the month, were
Porvenir, Pennsylvania, and Bahia Honda (Pinar del
considerably larger than they were last year, and during
Rio P rovin ce)— have started grinding during the month,
the latter half o f February were accumulating rapidly.
rhe first two, Porvenir and Pennsylvania, were not ex­
But since March 10 they have fallen slightly below
pected to operate this year. Receipts o f raw sugar at
the amounts on the same dates o f March, 1923, and
Cuban ports thus far in March have been heavier than
they were last year. During the week ending March S
approximately 226,000 tons arrived at the ports, an
amount greater than that received in any previous week
on record. The railroad strike, which was promptly set­
tled at the close of February, undoubtedly held up much
sugar that was in transit to Cuban ports and probably
accounts for the huge receipts in the first week of
Harch. The weather on the island has been fine and
favorable for grinding operations.
Raw sugar receipts at the ports of Baltimore, Phila­
delphia, New Y ork, and Boston for the first three weeks
° f March were smaller than those for the correspond-

RECEIPTS OF RAW SUGAR AT ATLANTIC PORTS*
Tons (2240 lbs.)

February 29 to
March 21, 1924

March 2 to
March 23, 1923

From Cuba......................
£rom Porto Rico...................
^ rom Philippine Islands.......
* r< m other countries...........
>

258,865
35,103
9,695
1,228

292,859
45,522
5,294
856

Total receipts..................

304,881

344,531

*Amcrican Sugar Bulletin.




now seem to be about normal for this time o f the year.
Meltings for the first three weeks o f the month at the
refineries in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Y ork and
Boston amounted to 222,000 tons, as against 238,000
tons for the same period in 1923. This represents a de-

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crease o f 6.7 per cent. Meltings at Atlantic Ports during
February. 1924, were larger than in February of the
two preceding years, but as is shown in the chart on
page 11, the meltings for January were smaller than in
either January, 1923, or January, 1922.

CONFECTIONERY
In general, the demand for candies is not as heavy
as it was in March, 1923, but the majority of manu­
facturers find it better than it was last month. Handto-mouth buying by the jobbers and retailers, and the
late Easter, are responsible for this condition. In 1923,
Easter came early in April, and consequently the heavy
buying for the Easter trade was done in March. Manu­
facturers have, o f course, booked large orders for
Easter, but as buyers hesitate to order ahead, the volume
o f business does not equal that of a year ago. P ro­
ducers o f hard candies report that their staple lines are
not moving as well as they were last month, but the
demand for jelly beans is heavy. Staple varieties of
chocolate-coated penny piece goods are not selling as
well as in February, but there is an excellent demand
for coated Easter eggs. The call for box chocolates
exceeds that o f a month ago, but is not as heavy as in
March, 1923. Bar chocolate, baking chocolate, chocolate
coating and cocoa are in good request, and makers of
these report better business than in last month or in
March, 1923. The average o f factory operations in this
district approximates 80 per cent of capacity. Most
manufacturers agree that sales thus far this year exceed

Sugar and glucose are higher than they were In 1914, but cocoa
beans are lower.

Sources—Frank G. Alden, Inc., Dun's Review, Sugar, New
Commercial, and Journal of Commerce

York

in volume those of the same period of 1923, but they
complain that the extreme caution of buyers is making
business very uncertain. Few producers have more
than 20 days’ business on hand.




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Quotations for candies are holding firm and have
remained practically unchanged during the past two
months, though a few manufacturers are offering such
slight concessions as freight allowances. Prices of raw
materials have fluctuated within narrow ranges, but the
trend o f sugar and cocoa beans has been upward. As
shown in the preceding chart, cocoa beans are higher
than they were at the close o f last year, but considerably
cheaper than in the early months o f 1923.
Stocks o f finished products at the factories vary from
moderate to light, and supplies of raw materials are
moderate. A slight scarcity o f skilled labor is reported
by a few manufacturers, but on the whole lioth skilled
and unskilled labor is in ample supply. W ages are
unchanged. Collections are fair, and though slower
than they were a year ago, are about the same as in
February.

BUILDING
Fifteen cities in the Third Federal Reserve District
report that 1.892 building permits of an estimated cost
of $9,989,406 were issued during February. Owing
to a fire which destroyed important statistical data,
W illiamsport officials were unable to report building
operations for January. This fact, together with the
adding o f Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, to the list of report­
ing cities, makes comparison of totals with the preceding
month impossible. Including the Bethlehem figures,
the total number o f permits granted last month was
145 less than in the corresponding month of last year,
and the estimated cost declined $1,833,168. In Read­
ing, Scranton, W ilkes-Barre, Atlantic City, Camden and
Philadelphia, the number of permits issued wr greater
as
than in January, but the estimated cost was less, while
in Altoona and Trenton the reverse was true. In Phila­
delphia 956 permits, representing a proposed expendi­
ture o f $7,173,885, were issued, as compared with 884
permits granted in Tanuary at an estimated cost of
$8,642,525.
The demand for bricks is in general fair and in some
instances good. It is better than it was at this time
both last month and last year, and
Bricks
with the promise o f a large build­
ing program ahead, manufactur­
ers are inclined to be optimistic. Some orders now on
the books are for delivery either within 60 days or
from 60 to 90 days, but the greater part are for ship­
ment in late spring.
Prices in most cases are firm and unchanged since
last month, though a few manufacturers state that
weakness has developed in quotations for face bricks
and for some grades o f fire bricks. In Philadelphia,
prices on common bricks fluctuate around $21 per
thousand. In only one instance is there said to be any
resistance to present quotations.
Stocks o f finished building bricks are mostly m od­
erate and stationary, though some inventories are char-

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13

BUILDING PERMITS
Third Federal Reserve District
February, 1924

February, 1923

January and February
1924

Permits

Operations

Estimated cost

Permits

Operations

Permits

Allentown..........
Altoona.............
Atlantic City*.. .
Bethlehem*.......
Camden.............
Harrisburg........
Lancaster..........
Philadelphia. . . .
Reading.............
Scranton*..........
1rent on.............
W ilkes-Barre*...
W llliamsport*.. .
W Umington.......
Vork..................

1923

Estimated cost

22
.58
149
12
84
37
44
956
133
91
84
71
36
55
60

27
60
149
12
84
42
44
1454
155
91
98
71
36
55
60

$121,200
98,888
380,509
16,060
240,529
135,000
620,860
7,173,885
225,325
220,950
309,696
182,951
67,240
103,778
92,535

19
61
173
5
51
37
28
747
128
40
49
42
13
66
32

35
69
173
5
52
49
28
967
131
40
52
42
13
80
32

$107,725
141,300
1,144,564
2,500
551,798
151,925
238,625
6,504,100
345,925
187,955
84,183
100,933
19,105
149,286
39,720

Total for F eb.. . 1892

2438

$9,989,406

1491

1768

$9,769,644

64
124
285
38
139
ti
80
1840
251
165
184
129
36**
128
132
3672

Estimated cost

Permits

Estimated cost

$540,700
53
$199,225
146,856
93
168,985
1,024,417
391
1,863,464
23
47,850
100,381
772,177
658,461
95
332,600
226,750
66
893,305
53
361,525
15,816,410
13,304,060
1515
466,350
248
555,530
473,165
80
308,210
498,935
108
807,532
391,675
79
216,645
67,240**
25,580**
24**
284,857
695,034
123
209,065
234,450
118
$22,018,133

3069

$19,673,301

* Operations not reported.
** Figures for January not available.

NEW BUILDINGS AND ALTERATIONS
1924

1923

New buildings

Alterations

Alterations

New buildings

Permits

A l l e n t o w n ...........
A l t o o n a .................
C a m d e n ..
I la r r is b u r g . . . .
L a n c a s t e r ............
P h ila d e lp h ia . . .
R e a d i n g .................
1r e n t o n .................
W l l l i a m s p o r t .. .

W i l m i n g t o n .. . .
^ o r k ____

Oper­
ations

Estimated
cost

Permits

Oper­
ations

Estimated
cost

Permits

Oper­
ations

Estimated
cost

Permits

Oper­
ations

Estimated
cost

7
16
31
29
23
453
35
65
21
37
28

12
18
31
31
23
942
57
79
21
37
28

$73,800
65,200
216,505
119,875
548,2.50
6,522,925
162,125
296,106
58.150
84,662
85,480

15
42
53

15
42
53
11
21
512
98
19
15
18
32

$47,400
33,688
24,024
15,125
72,610
650,960
63,200
13,590
9,090
19,116
7,055

19
5
18
19
11
368
12
35
15
38
60

21
5
28
26
11
876
14
71
15
72
60

$63,600
13,248
76,575
57,500
91,350
6,248,835
149,075
646,330
23,470
515,659
150,500

15
27
26
10
14
400
108
24
9
19
26

15
27
26
11
14
419
108
37
9
19
26

$27,900
14,440
30,088
17,325
31,550
551,125
60,530
77,019
2,110
30,089
44,230

8

21
.503
98
19
15
18
32

acterized as either heavy or light. Supplies o f raw
materials range from moderate to heavy and are also
stationary. Stocks of fire bricks are either heavy or
moderate and are unchanged, as are also supplies o f raw
materials.
Manufacturers reporting to us are operating at from
^0 to 100 per cent o f capacity, and though some fac­
tories are closed entirely at this time, the average rate
production o f those that are working is estimated
to he close to 74 per cent, a higher schedule than that
maintained during February. Unfilled orders now held
Wl^ insure this rate for from two weeks to the end of
the year, the average being approximately two months,
j he supply of both skilled and unskilled labor is su f­
ficient and in several cases plentiful. One firm an­




nounces a reduction o f 10 per cent in the wages o f its
skilled workers, but no other changes are reported in
this district. Collections are fair and practically the
same as they were a month ago.
Manufacturers report that the demand for lumber
is good, but dealers classify it as little better than
fair. Considerable difference of
Lumber
opinion exists among both as to
whether or not it is as good as it
was a month ago, but most of them agree it is better
than it was in March, 1923. The call for white pine is
fairly steady, but prices are somewhat lower than they
were at the beginning o f the year; but spruce and hem­
lock are as usual moving at unchanged quotations. H ard­
woods are in good request, especially floorings, and

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prices for these too are firm. Demand for both yellow
and North Carolina pine is good, and prices have fluc­
tuated but little. There has been a strong call for laths
and shingles, especially from suburban builders. Some
dealers are quoting several grades of building lumber
at somewhat higher levels than those o f a month ago,
but no general increase has occurred. Though many
orders now taken are for delivery up to and beyond 90
days, the majority are for within 60 days.
Stocks o f both finished goods and raw materials are
moderate and stationary, though the latter begin to show
indications of decreasing. Manufacturers reporting to
1 1s are operating at an average rate of over 90 per cent
o f capacity, which is practically the same as that in the
preceding -month. The supply of both skilled and un­
skilled labor is sufficient, and no wage changes are noted.
On February 15, 2,341 workmen were employed in 8
lumber and planing mills in this district, earning an
average weekly wage of $22.64. These figures repre­
sent a reduction of 3.5 per cent in the number o f em­
ployees on January 15, but an advance of 14.2 per cent
in average wages.
Collections for the most part are fair and have
changed very little from those at this time last month
and last year.
The call for most products o f the glass industry is
somewhat less than fair, and a rather unusual fallingoff in business has taken place
Glass
during the past month. In the
case of window and plate glass,
however, the decline is attributed to the fact that few
o f the many building operations now going on have
reached the stage at which glass products are needed.
One manufacturer reports that orders for glass to be
used in new church buildings are unusually numerous.
The majority o f the orders now on the books are for
delivery within 60 days, though some are for shipment
up to and beyond 90 days.
Prices are in general firm, but quotations on a few
grades o f building glass are not as strong as they were
a month ago. There is little resistance to present prices,
except in the case of those bottle manufacturers whose
wares are in competition with machine-made products.
Stocks o f both finished goods and raw materials are
either moderate or light and practically unchanged.
Operations are at approximately 80 per cent o f
capacity, which is a somewhat lower rate than the aver­
age maintained during February. Unfilled orders are
sufficient to insure this schedule of production for from
three weeks to six months. In practically all cases the
supply of both skilled and unskilled workers is reported
as plentiful. W ages are virtually unchanged from those
in February.

Collections range from fair to good, and are the same
as they were a month ago and at this time last year.




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Manufacturers report that the call for paints and
varnishes is fair and about the same as it was a month
ago. Until recently, the demand
Paint
has been consistently better than
it was in March, 1923, but at pres­
ent it is thought to be somewhat poorer. W ith the
approach of spring, however, repainting o f the interiors
and exteriors o f buildings is expected to increase con­
sumption o f both paints and varnishes. Colors in oil
have been in good demand, as has also the call for red
lead, much o f which is being used in the manufacture
of glass. Uithopone and zinc oxides are holding up
well, but litharge is moving more slowly of late.
Prices are relatively stable. Quotations for pig lead
are firm, and consequently there has been little or no
change in the price o f lead pigments. Chrome yellow
advanced slightly during the first part o f the month, but
owing in no small measure to keen competition, it failed
to maintain its position. Quotations on dry colors and
most grades o f varnish were unchanged. The figure
for spot delivery o f linseed oil has declined to 90 cents
per gallon for carload lots.
Stocks of both finished goods and raw materials are
from moderate to light and are tending to increase.
Manufacturers are operating at an average rate o f
nearly 80 per cent o f capacity, which is about the same
as it was during February.
Most o f the orders now taken are for immediate
delivery, there being but few for shipment beyond 30
days. The supply o f both skilled and unskilled work­
men is sufficient, and no wage changes were made dur­
ing the month. Collections are but fair, and though
they are the same as in February, they are not as satis­
factory as they were a year ago.
The market for gas and electrical fixtures varies,
some manufacturers reporting good sales and an equal
.
number poor. Though the deGas and
maud is better than it was a
electric fixtures
^
.
month ago, it is somewhat weaker
than in March of last year. Most of the orders alreadv
taken are for delivery within 60 days, but a fair portion
are for deliverv at a later date. Quotations are generally firm at February levels. Some resistance to
prices is offered in the cheaper grades o f lighting fix­
tures, and in a few cases quotations have been shaded.
Stocks o f both finished goods and raw materials range
from moderate to light and are stationary.'
Manufacturers reporting in this district are operat­
ing at an average o f approximately 60 per cent o f
capacity, which is close to the rate that prevailed a
month ago. Unfilled orders will insure the mainte­
nance o f the present rate for from one week to two
months, the average being about five weeks. The sup­
ply o f skilled labor is scarce, but no shortage o f un­
skilled workmen is reported. In one instance an in­
crease o f 10 per cent was granted in the wages o f
skilled operatives. Collections are from poor to fair

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and are slower than they were a year ago, but the same
as at this time last month.
The call for pottery is good, and manufacturers say
that it is not only better than it was a month ago, but
considerably stronger than durPottery
ing the corresponding period of
last year. A s in several other
branches of the building trade, manufacturers of sani­
tary pottery and other porcelain products are preparing
for a good spring trade as building progresses.
Prices are firm and practically the same as they were
at this time last month. In isolated cases, it is true,
some shading o f quotations has been in evidence, but
this has been due to competition rather than to any
weakness in the market. A few firms report that resist­
ance to prices is being encountered in the market for
imported English porcelain and various smaller wares,
but in general prices are accepted without serious
objection.
Stocks o f finished goods are either stationary or
decreasing and range from moderate to light. Supplies
o f raw materials are moderate and for the most part
stationary. A s is to be expected in this, the busiest sea­
son in the industry, many firms are operating at capacity,
and the average rate of production in this district is
approximately 88 per cent. Some factories are put­
ting their output into stock, but in others, unfilled
orders, most o f which are for delivery within two
months, are numerous. Orders now on hand will
insure the maintenance o f the present rate o f produc­
tion for an average period of three months. The supply
o f both skilled and unskilled labor is either sufficient or
plentiful, and with one exception, in which the earnings
o f skilled operatives were reduced 10 per cent, no wage
changes have been made during the past month.

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numerous, are at least as plentiful as they were a month
ago. There has been an unmistakable decrease, how­
ever, in the call for iron bars, which all manufacturers
reporting to us classify as poor. Oil supply companies,
the railroads, and automotive interests have been taking
fair quantities of iron and steel castings, but when the
enormous requirements of these three industries are
considered, the present demand cannot be characterized
as more than fair. Orders for crude steel are not hold­
ing up to last month’s levels, but this is attributed to
the fact that consumers using this product as a raw
material are allowing stocks to decrease. The call for
plates and structural shapes is fair-and is about the
same as it was during the preceding month, with build­
ing contractors and oil companies taking most of the
deliveries. Sales of scrap steel and pipe are smaller
than they were during February, and the market for
these is dull. Rails are moving slowly, but the demand
for spikes, cars, engine equipment, and special track has
improved, owing to the placing of several substantial
contracts by railroad and traction companies. Miscel­
laneous articles, such as ball bearing clips, steel pens,
fabricated steel strips, and steel shelving, are in fairly
good request by a wide variety of consumers. Aside
from a few orders placed for moderate tonnages, little
activity in the pig iron market has been evident during
the past month in this district.
Prices have felt the effect o f the lessened demand,
and not only have concessions been granted, but quota­
tions themselves in several instances have been reduced.

Collections are fairly good and are much the same
as they were in February and at this time last year.

IRON AND STEEL
A t the beginning o f the year the mid-winter dulness
m the iron and steel industry gave way to a marked
increase in buying, which created a brisk activity
throughout the market. Part of this was undoubtedly
(1
aie to the low prices prevailing then, as it was com ­
monly believed that prices had reached the lowest levels
compatible with production costs and with standards of
equality. The subsiding of the demand for pig iron and
several steel products which has occurred in the past
two weeks is difficult to explain, except by the theory that
consumers have never wholly given up the belief that
another reduction in prices is imminent. This, at least,
according to several responsible sources is the most
Plausible reason. Not all iron and steel products have
fallen off in demand. The call for light and heavy
hardware is somewhat better than it was during February, and requests for machinery and tools, if no more




After a steady decline since M ay, 1923, the composite price of pig iron
turned upward in recent m on th s; but that of finished steel
has been fairly steady for nearly a year.

Source— Iron Age

In the second week o f March the price o f Philadelphia
2 X pig iron declined from $24.26 to $24.13 per net ton.
The Iron A g e ’s composite prices o f pig iron and fin­
ished steel both declined during the month, the former

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9 cents and the latter .029 cents. A ccording to sta­
tistics kept by this periodical, the composite price of
finished steel is now as low as it has been at any time in
the past twelve months. The chart on page 15 shows the
trend o f these composite prices of pig iron and finished
steel by months since January, 1920.
On the basis o f the annual rate at which the industry
is now producing steel ingots, it is estimated that manu­
facturers are operating at over 91 per cent capacity,
which compares favorably with the average rate o f 87
per cent maintained during February. There were
3.780,663 tons o f steel ingots produced in February,
an increase of 219,275 tons over the total output during
January. Pig iron production also advanced last month,
the output totaling 3,074,757 tons, as compared with
3,018,890 tons during January, an increase o f 55,867
tons.. Notwithstanding the greater production, unfilled
orders o f the United States Steel Corporation continued
to grow. A t the end of February orders on their books
aggregated 4,912,901 tons, representing an increase of
114,472 tons over the total on January 31.
The supply o f both skilled and unskilled labor is in
general sufficient, there being but few instances in
which any scarcity is reported, and that in each case
is in the ranks o f skilled operatives. On February 15,
there were 14,430 workers employed in 74 foundries
and machine shops in this district, earning an average
weekly wage o f $28.52. This represents an increase
o f 0.1 per cent over the number o f workmen employed
on January 15, and an increase o f 3.5 per cent in the
average wage during that period.
Collections are fairly good, but are not quite as satis­
factory as they were at this time last month.

COAL
W ith the end o f the winter approaching and with
dealers showing a disinclination to carry more than
moderate stocks over into the
Anthracite
spring season, the demand for
domestic anthracite has notice­
ably lessened. The call for steam sizes too is weaker
than it was a month ago, though a few operators say
that it shows signs o f strengthening. Purchasers are
thought to be waiting to learn whether or not a reduc­
tion in prices will be made on April 1.
Circular prices have changed little if any during the
month, but in several instances individual companies
have made reductions in the price of both domestic and
steam grades. On March 17 Company stove and barley
sizes were quoted at from $8.90 to $9.25 and at $1.50,
respectively, which were the same as those listed at this
time last month.
All collieries reporting to us are operating at capacity,
and production throughout the Third Federal Reserve
District has been high. Though output for the entire
country declined during the week in which W ashington’s




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Birthday occurred, it recovered in the succeeding week
and is now close to the level maintained in the industry
a year ago. In the table below are presented figures
showing the output in tons for each of the past five
weeks and for the corresponding periods in 1923.
PRODUCTION OF ANTHRACITE*
Week ending

February 1G.......................
February 23.......................
March 1 .............................
March 8 .............................
March 15...........................

1924

1,900,000
1,655,000
1,866,000
1,882,000
1,941,000

1923

net
“
“
“
“

tons
“
“
“
“

1,826,000
1,838,000
2.104,000
2,049,000
2,057,000

net
“
“
“
“

tons
“
“
“
“

♦Estimated by the Geological Survey.

Practically no shortage o f either miners or miners’
helpers was reported this month, and labor disturb­
ances were negligible.
Until the new contract between the miners and
operators was made at Jacksonville, Florida, the demand
for bituminous was increasing.
Bituminous
but with the uncertainty regard­
ing future production at an end,
consumers relapsed into their former policy of cautious
buying and at present the call is barely fair. Most of
the contracts placed come from public utility sources,
and very little business is being received from railroads
and household consumers. Some activity is reported in
the spot market, where prices are from 25 to 50 cents
lower than contract prices. Though quotations have
declined in several sections o f the country, there has
been no change in prices during the past month in this
locality. One operator states that as his mine is now
submitting quotations below the actual cost o f produc­
tion, a further reduction in prices is impossible.
Production declined in the week ending February 23
on account o f the holiday, and since then the trend has
been downward. Output so far this year, however, has
been greater than it was in 1923, and over 100,000,000
tons more bituminous have been mined during the coal
year ending March 15 than during the similar period
o f the preceding year. Output in tons for each o f the
last five weeks is given in the table below, together with
the figures for each o f the corresponding weeks in 1923.

PRODUCTION OF BITUMINOUS*
Week ending

1924

|
February 16............. . . 11,139,000
February’ 23.*........... ..10,367,000
March 1 ................... ..110,705,000
March 8 ................... .. 9,617,000
March 15................. . .1 9,640,000
♦Estimated by the Geological Survey.

net
“
“
“
“

1923

tons
“
“
“
“

10,431,000
10.324,000
10,946,000
10,628,000
10,428.000

net
“
“
“
“

tons
“
“
“
“

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Some non-union mines are running on full time, but
union companies are operating either three or four days
a week, or at a rate not exceeding 65 per cent o f ca­
pacity. There is an ample supply o f both miners and
miners’ helpers in this locality.
Orders for coke are not as numerous as was expected
a few weeks ago, but manufacturers believe that the
hope of lower prices has kept
Coke
blast furnace interests out of
the market, and that those who
have not yet covered their second quarter requirements
will shortly he compelled to do so. Spot prices of fur­
nace coke have recently declined and now range from
$4.00 to. $4.25 per net ton at the ovens, and quotations
on foundry grades declined 25 cents on March 17, to
$4.75 per net ton.
Production of beehive coke increased during the last
week in February, and the output in the week end­
ing March 8 was greater than in any week since last
September. Since then, the weekly output, while not at
as high a level, has been keeping pace with the con­
sumers’ needs. Figures are given below showing the
output in tons for each o f the past five weeks as well
as for each corresponding week in 1923.

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Pennsylvania crude oil advanced several times during
January, until it reached a high figure at $4.50 per
barrel on the 30th o f that month. Since then it has
remained firm and unchanged. In sections o f this field
other than those in which premiums are paid, quotations
are about fifty cents below prices listed in the Northern
section. Necessarily, various refined products have also
advanced, particularly gasoline and lubricating and fuel
oils. On March 22 the tank-wagon price o f gasoline
in Philadelphia was 20 cents per gallon, which was the
same as it was a month ago.
Profiting by the experience gained last year, when
overproduction adversely afifected the market, producers
of petroleum have been restricting their output ever
since November. In January, production for the entire
United States totaled 56,354,000 barrels, or 2,538,000
barrels less than the total for December. Production
in the Pennsylvania field also declined, from 557,000
to 541,000 barrels. The table below shows the monthly
output o f petroleum in the entire country since N ovem ­
ber, 1923. For comparative purposes, figures for the
corresponding months of the preceding year are also
given.

PRODUCTION OF PETROLEUM**
PRODUCTION OF BEEHIVE COKE*
1923-1924

Month
Week ending

F e b r u a r y 16.......................
F e b r u a r y 23.......................
M arch 1 . .
M a r c h 8 ...................................
M a r c h 15

1924

293.000
277.000
319,000
326,000
307,000

1922-1923

1923

net tons .378,000
371.000
“
“
“
“
402.000
“
“
366.000
“
“
410.000

net tons
“
“
“ “
“
“

“
“

November..............................
December...............................
January.................................
February...............................

64.829.000 bbls.* 47.531.000 bbls.
50.137.000 “
58.892.000 “
51.467.000 “
56.354.000 “
55.027.000 “
48.413.000 “

♦Barrels of 42 United States gallons.
♦♦Estimated by the Geological Survey.

♦Estimated by the Geological Survey.

OIL
For some time past several oil producers’ associations
have directed their efforts toward educating the public
C j
1
to make increased use o f the
TX e a n 5? ,
X
various products of Pennsylvama petroleum.
that some
Measure o f success has attended their efforts is evident
F'om the fact that the present demand for crude oil
from Pennsylvania fields is stronger than it has been
for several years. Another important factor stimulating
demand is that some independent refiners have been
willing to pay premiums of from 15 to 25 per cent in
order to obtain this high-grade oil. Because o f weather
conditions, the call for gasoline during January and
February was somewhat better than in the correspondlng months last year, but o f kerosene the reverse was
true- The demand for lubricating, fuel, and gas oils
and for wax is good, and sales this year have been
k1eater than those o f the same period last year.
Starting at $3.00 per barrel, the price o f Northern




Stocks in the hands o f producers are heavy and are
increasing, but refiners state that, except in the case o f
gasoline, their supplies are comparatively light. Neither
o f these conditions is especially noteworthy, as supplies
o f crude oil will diminish as the curtailment o f produc­
tion makes itself felt, and stocks o f gasoline are nor­
mally large at this time and will continue to increase
until the beginning o f heavy consumption in the spring.
Operations are at close to capacity, and the supply o f
labor is adequate. Collections may be classified as good,,
and compare favorably with those o f a year ago.

CHEMICALS
Business in chemicals has been affected by dulness in
some o f the chief consuming industries and by keen
competition among producers. Although manufacturers
o f paper and glass are reported to have purchased
chemicals in fair quantities, demand from the textile
and leather industries has been unsatisfactory. In fact,
some makers o f chemicals largely attribute the decrease
in sales since March 1 to the poor demand from the

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leather trade. A t any rate, few industries are as active
as they were at this time last year, and this is reflected
in smaller sales of chemicals. Spot demand has been
quiet, and though some firms find that withdrawals on
contract have been fairly satisfactory, others state that
they are below expectations.
M oreover, rivalry for business in nearly all chemicals
is keen, and but few plants have been able to run at
capacity. Recently, competition has been particularly
noticeable in alkalies and in bleach and chlorine, with
the result that quotations on these products reached
relatively low levels. But as competition subsequently
lessened, among both manufacturers and dealers, prices
advanced. Conditions in the wood chemical business
also are extremely competitive, and producers report
that methanol, acetate o f lime, charcoal, and wood
alcohol are in poor request. Fertilizers are selling but
slowly at relatively low prices. Owing to the activity
o f the paint and linoleum trades, however, the call for
pigments, such as lithopone, has continued exceptionally
good. Demand for dyestuffs and intermediates is fair.
Dealers in fine chemicals report that prior to February
15 business was excellent, but that since that date sales
have decreased. Retailers are making moderate pur­
chases o f pharmaceuticals, mainly for current needs.
The trend o f prices is irregular, but quotations in
general are weak and the tendency is downward. In
this district but few plants reporting to this bank are
running at capacity, and the majority are operating only
from one-half to three-quarters o f their equipment. The
supply o f labor is for the most part adequate, though
makers o f wood chemicals report a scarcity o f wood
cutters. Many producers state that stocks o f finished
goods are moderate and stationary, but a few indicate
that they are heavy. A s a rule, raw materials are easily
obtained.

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have increased their gain over the figures of the pre­
vious year, and domestic consumption in February—
507,876 bales o f lint and 41,698 bales of linters— though
smaller than those for February, 1923, were larger than
many anticipated. M oreover, news o f the new crop,
though meagre, was not reassuring. Reports o f late­
ness in planting, caused by cold or rainy weather, indi­
cate that the start is from 10 days to 3 weeks late in
different parts o f the cotton belt, and reliable figures on
the acreage o f course cannot yet be had.
The following table compares the last crop with that
o f the two previous years.

SUPPLY AND TAKINGS OF AMERICAN COTTON*
In bales

Season of
1923-1924

Visible supply, American, at
end of previous season
(July 3 1 )...........................
869,968
Crop in sight, American, on
March 21.......................... 10,045,194

Season of
1922-1923

.Season of
1921-1922

1,968,159

4,112,651

9,991,746

8,581,832

Total................................. 10,915,162 11,959,905 12,694,4S3
Visible supply, American, on
March 21..........................
2,467,963 2,468,370 * 3,727,848
World’s takings of American
to March 21.....................

8,447,199

9,491,535

8,966,635

♦Figures compiled by the New York Cotton Exchange.

That the use o f American cotton during the past
four years has been much smaller than it was in the
four years immediately preceding the war is plainly
indicated in the accompanying chart. In this connec-

Several firms have had difficulty with collections, but
on the whole they are fair.

COTTON
The continuing dulness in the cotton goods markets
has more than offset other considerations which might
otherwise have had a bullish
Raw cotton
effect on the price o f raw cot­
ton, and quotations for the
staple, though fluctuating less than they did a month ago,
are lower than they were at that time. The price o f
spot cotton at N ew Y ork, which on February 23 stood
at 29.90, fell to 28.15 on March 7, but since that date
has rallied somewhat and on March 22 was 28.85. Dur­
ing this period another feature affecting the market
adversely has been the almost daily advices o f further
curtailment in production both in northern and southern
mills, which, the trade expects, will be reflected in next
month’s consumption figures.
On the other hand, exports during the past month




In only eight m onths of the past four years has the consum ption and
exports of American cotton exceeded the m onthly
average for the years 1910-1913.

Source— Department o f Commerce

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tion it must be remembered that in the pre-war years
the price o f cotton was much lower than in the more
recent years.
Lower prices have been named on many lines of fin­
ished fabrics during the past month. Reductions were
made by the majority of proCotton goods
ducers reporting to this bank,
and in a number o f instances
amounted to 10 per cent. Weakness in raw cotton was
largely responsible for concessions on finished goods,
but other factors were unsatisfactory demand and
strong resistance to prices on the part of buyers.
These lower prices, however, do not appear to have
stimulated demand for cotton goods as yet, and with a
few exceptions producers state that business is but fair
or poor. In fact, many manufacturers report a decrease
in sales as compared with last month’s. Caution is
the outstanding characteristic, and the instability of
prices for raw cotton is believed to be one o f the prin­
cipal reasons for this conservatism. Buyers showr little
inclination to order ahead and are confining their pur­
chases mainly to current needs. A s a result, a large
majority of the business on the books o f producers is
tor delivery within the next sixty days.
In contrast, however, with the slow movement of most
cotton fabrics, a few products are selling actively,
ta k e r s of surgical elastic goods indicate that demand
ls good, and one producer states that sales are 40 per
cent greater than they were during the first quarter of
1023. The call for crinkled bedspreads containing a
kmge amount of artificial silk is reported to be excel­
lent. Plush continues in good request, and one manu­
facturer in this district is running two shifts. On the
other hand, the call for tapestry is rather dull, since
demand still favors plush as a covering for furniture.
Some makers o f tapestry have noted keen competition
Wlth imported goods. Business in hair cloth is quiet,
and demand for tapes and narrow fabrics is but fair.
I here has been a marked curtailment of operation in
nulls making cotton goods in this district. The number
of unfilled orders is smaller than it was last month, and
at the present rate o f production orders on hand will in
tew cases insure operations for more than two months.
Although some o f the larger producers are running
most of their equipment, the majority o f manufacturers
are operating at from 50 to 75 per cent o f capacity. A s
a .rule, this curtailment has prevented the accumulation
" f finished goods, stocks o f which are reported to be
moderate. In some instances, however, production has
exceeded sales, and stocks are increasing. Supplies of
raw material are o f medium size. In consequence o f
^ duced operations many textile workers have been
md off,” with the result that the supply o f labor is
c’ther sufficient or plentiful.

Collections are fairly good.




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WOOL
Domestic markets for wool are at present influenced'
strongly by the world-wide scarcity o f raw wool and
dulness at the mills. Figures of
Raw wool
the Department o f Commerce
indicate that the total world pro­
duction o f raw wool during 1923 not only fell below
that o f the preceding year, but also was 18.7 per cent:
less than the 1909-1913 average. The sharp decline in
the Australian clip is noteworthy. On the other hand,,
demand for wool from foreign countries has been un­
usually active, and prices abroad have advanced steadily,,
with the result that they are relatively much higher than
quotations in the United States. In consequence, im­
ports o f wool are comparatively small, though they have
shown a seasonal increase since last November, as the
accompanying figures indicate. In this connection it
must be remembered that more than half of the wool
consumed in this country comes from abroad, and the
selling season there is drawing to a close. Domestic
production of raw wool has not changed substantially in
the last 40 years, but owing to the rapid growth o f the
woolen and worsted goods industry, imports have more
than trebled since 1900. This is illustrated in the chart
on page 20.
Owing to small imports, stocks o f wool in the United
States were depleted, and the improved demand late in
1923 and early in 1924 was followed by strengthening"
prices in domestic markets. Dun’s average of 98 quo­
tations on raw wool increased from 74.28 on November
9 to 82.46 on February 8, and on March 21 was 82.47.
Spinners found it difficult to obtain higher prices fo r

IMPORTS OF RAW WOOL INTO THE UNITED STATES*
In pounds
Month

January... .
February.. .
M arch.. ..
April.........
M a y ..........
June..........
July...........

1924

30,785,931
39,289,430

September
Oetober ..

Total... .

1923

56,312,747
57,110,596
63,706,051
77,047,391
47,172,652
30,129,497
13,422,377
10,288,536
7,882,870
9,566,009
9,814,637
11,797,032

1922

22,151,546
27,834,187
43,808,872
38,988,214
32,955,949
16,940,447
33,590,515
34,472,469
27,891,522
25,260,513
26,961,700
45,817,004

1921

21,169,480
42,885,968
98,103,098
65,402,831
14,744,5985,951,755
9,396,864
15,866,744
14,592,459'
9,085,706
10,946,395
12,519,853

394,250,395 376,795,485 320,665,751

♦Department of Commerce.

yarn from manufacturers o f piece goods, and the latter
in turn met with the resistance to their quotations om
finished fabrics. Because o f present unsatisfactory de­
mand for many kinds o f yarns and goods and the un­
certainty of future business, mills are covering only

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their current requirements of raw wool. M oreover,
little speculation in raw wool among dealers is evident.
In the W est, however, some contracting for raw wool
on the sheep’s back is reported. Notwithstanding the
slow movement of raw wool to mills, prices remain firm
because o f limited domestic supplies and the continued
strength o f foreign markets. Collections are satis­
factory.

The relatively greater increase in the imports of raw silk since 1900
indicates a more rapid growth in silk m anufacture than in
wool m anufacture, as domestic raw wool production has
remained practically stationary for forty years.

Source— Department of Commerce

Cautiousness, inspired by lack of confidence in the
future, has led the weaving and knitting trades to
restrict their orders mainly to
Woolen and
the small amounts necessary for
worsted yarns current requirements. This is
not surprising in view of the strong opposition to prices
and the slow response o f buyers to offerings of goods
for future delivery. Although many weavers have
opened heavy-weight lines, orders are coming in but
slowly, and producers have little knowledge o f the
amount or kind o f yarn that will be needed for fall
goods. Consequently, few weavers are covering other
than their immediate requirements o f yarn. This is
likewise true of the knitting trade. The present situa­
tion is in decided contrast with that of a year ago,
when considerable business for future delivery had
been taken by spinners. Some trades are buying more
than others, thus reflecting conditions in the market
for finished goods. For example, makers o f dress goods
have enjoyed a fair business in fancy goods for spring
and have purchased yarns more actively than manufac­
turers o f men’s wear, who, as a rule, have received
comparatively few duplicate orders. Spinners o f woolen
carpet yarns report that demand is quiet. Sales have
slackened considerably during the past two months, and




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a number of carpet manufacturers have not taken the
specified amount of yarns on existing contracts.
Notwithstanding the dull demand, many spinners in
this district are running most of their equipment, but
it is reported that unless business increases in the near
future, they must either curtail production or accumu­
late stocks. Some mills are already operating on re­
duced schedules. Stocks of yarns in the hands of pro­
ducers are as a rule moderate, but a few spinners report
that supplies of carpet yarns are heavy and are increas­
ing. Labor is plentiful.
Spinners complain that prices obtainable for yarns
are unsatisfactory. Since last November raw wool has
advanced about 11 per cent, and during the past few
weeks has remained firm, mainly because o f limited
domestic supplies and strong foreign markets. But for
the most part spinners have been unable to secure pro­
portionate increases for yarns. Although some conces­
sions are reported, quotations on yarn show little change
from those o f a month ago.
Collections range from fair to good.
Conditions in the market for woolen and worsted
piece-goods continue to be unsettled; some firms are
enjoving good business, while
Woolen and
others find that demand is dull.
worsted goods
,
,
,
, r
°
A s a rule, tancy dress goods for
spring have sold fairly well, orders being mainly for
prompt shipment. During recent months demand has
been extremely variable, and business in dress goods has
thus been complicated, but at present, buyers favor
alpaca crepes and twills with hair-line stripes. For the
most part, men’s fabrics have not sold as actively as
women’s, and some tnills indicate that business is very
quiet. In fact, a few have devoted some of their looms
to the making o f dress goods. On the other hand, cer­
tain manufacturers of men’s wear report a fair request
for light-weight fabrics to be delivered promptly.
Makers of fancy woolen cassimeres indicate that de­
mand is good. During the past month producers have
noticed a decrease in sales of men’s wear and dress
goods for spring, which is partly to be expected since
the light-weight season in piece goods is drawing to a
close.
Fall lines o f woolen and worsted fabrics have been
opened by most makers o f men’s wear and by many
manufacturers o f dress goods. Some of the latter, how ­
ever, have deferred the showing of their lines. Like the
largest producer, independent manufacturers have
named prices lower than those on spring goods and ap­
proximating those o f a year ago. Producers have not
only named attractive prices but included many new
fabrics in the new lines, and fancy goods are again
prominent in women’s wear. But in general buyers
have been very conservative in making commitments,
especially on goods for men’s wear, and orders are com ­
ing in but slowly. Some producers find that medium
priced suitings have sold best, while others state that

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they have received an equal number o f orders for all
grades.
Operations in mills in this district vary. Many plants
are running on full time, but some are operating at only
from 50 to 75 per cent o f capacity. A few mills making
men’s wear are running only a small percentage of their
equipment. Operations in the country as a whole dur­
ing the past five years are reflected in the accompanying
chart, showing the ratio between the actual consumption
o f wool each month and the average monthly consump­
tion during the period from 1919 to 1923 inclusive.
Operations were above the average during the latter
part o f 1919 and the first part of 1920, and during
similar periods of 1922 and 1923. In the past several
months the ratio has been below the average, but since
the first of the year it has again risen above.

WOOL

CONSUMPTION

INDEX NUMBERS_______________________________________________________

J

I

m m

______
1919 '

1920

1921

M in ,

Ae o 1 1 -1 2 - loo
v n^ 9 9 9 3
ge
c Ao e overa
bv
Ess Blo a
sa e w verage
1922

1923

J

1924

During the greater part of the past two years, consum ption of wool
has been above the average, but since last June curtailm ent of
operations by m ills has caused the am ount consumed
to fall below the average In several m onths.

Source— Department of Commerce

Although some firms report that stocks o f finished
goods are heavy, the majority state that they are either
Moderate or light. A t present, stocks are tending to
flecrease because of shipments o f spring merchandise.
Supplies of raw materials are moderately light. Labor
ls either sufficient or plentiful. A s compared with those
° f last month, prices on piece goods for spring are as
a rule unchanged. Fabrics in best demand have comruanded prices relatively higher than goods for which
there is little demand. Considerable opposition to quo­
tations is reported, especially on fine worsteds for men’s
VVear and on staple goods.

Collections are fairly good, and according to proc ucers, this indicates that conditions are financially
sound, though buyers are cautious, especially as regards
tuture commitments.




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21

SILK
Demand for raw silk in the domestic market is quiet.
Perhaps the most important factor responsible for this
dulness has been the slow moveRaw silk
ment o f finished goods.
This
has caused producers to lose
confidence in the future, with the result that they have
purchased raw silk in limited amounts mainly for cur­
rent use only. On the other hand, supplies o f raw silk
have accumulated in domestic warehouses, since, for
several months prior to February, imports exceeded
deliveries to mills. This is indicated by figures o f the
Silk Association o f America, given on page 22. Dur­
ing February, however, this situation was reversed,
with the result that stocks decreased somewhat. But
they are still relatively heavy. Instability in quotations
on raw silk at Yokohama and fluctuations in yen ex­
change have also tended to make buyers conservative.
A s a result of the above factors, prices on raw silk
have weakened. Kansai double extra cracks fell from
$8.20-$8.25 on January 5 to $6.70-$6.75 on March 15,
the lowest price since April, 1922. Lower prices, how­
ever, have not stimulated demand appreciably. In fact
weakness has made many producers o f finished goods
more cautious, since they have been forced to grant con­
cessions to their customers. But recently an improved
sentiment has been noticeable in the domestic market
for raw silk and quotations have strengthened some­
what.
According to the Textile World, demand for arti­
ficial silk is only fair. Sharp reductions in prices dur­
ing February have apparently made buyers cautious,
since it is reported that their future commitments are
smaller. Quotations on artificial silk now range from
$1.45 to $3.40 per pound, in contrast with from $6.65
to $7.05 per pound for Japan raw silk. The rapid
growth in the use o f artificial silk in this country dur­
ing the past decade is reflected in the chart on page
22. During 1913 domestic production and imports o f
artificial silk yarns, threads and filaments were only
about 13.8 per cent as large as imports o f raw silk, but
during 1923 they were almost 80.0 per cent as great,
mainly because of- the sharp increase in domestic pro­
duction. The use o f raw silk has also grown rapidly,
as is indicated by the chart on page 20. During the
fiscal year ending June 30, 1923, imports were almost
five times greater than they were in 1900.
W ith few exceptions, consumers o f thrown silk have
continued their policy o f purchasing only for immediate
requirements, and as a result
Thrown silk
business in thrown silk is quiet
and unsatisfactory. Some throw­
sters indicate that demand is fairly good, but the ma­
jority find it poor. Fluctuations in raw silk and con­
sequent changes in prices o f thrown silk, in addition to
the slow movement of silk goods, have made buyers
cautious.

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SILK IMPORTS, STOCKS AND DELIVERIES—AMERICAN MILLS*
Imports during month

Storage at end of month

Deliveries to American mills

In bales
1922

1924

1923

1922

1924

1923

1922

1924

1923

Januarv..........................
February........................
March.............................
April..
M ay................................
............
June............
July................................
August...........................
September......................
October...........................
November......................
December.......................

36,364
25,632

32,593
33,759 28,336
27,414
25,814
23,727
25,622
36,092
28,837
31,229
27,944
28,835

40,177
19,950
19,746
21,438
34,842
35,598
25,575
39,813
38,492
46,569
36,733
33,057

44,398
40,226

47,087
44,615
39,436
28,657
29,962
25,865
22,914
25,459
27,367
32,679
35,398
40,959

31,139
28,982
22,077
19,268
20,826
26,895
27,474
32,515
36,795
45,893
47,159
49,174

32,925
29,804

34,680
36,231
33,515
38,193
24,509
27,824
28,573
33,547
26,929
25,917
25,225
23,274

33,842
22,107
26,651
24,247
33,284
29,529
24,996
34,772
34,212
37,471
35,467
31,042

Total.......................
Monthly average.. .

61,996
30,998

42,312

33,367

32,350

62,729
31,365

358,417
29,868

367,620
30,635

350,202
29,184

391,990
32,666

♦Silk Association of America.

Most o f the orders on the books o f throwsters are for
delivery within the next thirty days, and at the present
rate of production unfilled orders will last only a few
weeks. Operations in this district vary considerably;
some firms are running at as little as 15 or 20 per cent
o f capacity, a few at more than 75 per cent, and the
majority at about 50 per cent. But notwithstanding
curtailment, some scarcity o f experienced help is still
reported. Throwsters apparently have as little confi­
dence in the future as their customers, since they are
reducing stocks o f finished goods and raw materials,
both of which are light.

During 1913 dom estic production and im ports of artificial silk were
only 13.8 per cent as large as imports of raw silk, but by 1923 this
percentage had risen to 79.6, m ainly because of the sharp
increase in domestic production of artificial silk.

Sources—Silk Worm, Textile World, Department of Commerce

Competition for business is keen. Largely because
o f lower quotations on raw silk, some concessions on




thrown silk have been granted during the past month.
Collections show little change since last month and
range from fair to good.
Like most other textiles, silk fabrics are as a rule
moving but slowly. Some manufacturers have enjoyed
a fair or good request for their
Silk goods
products, but the majority indi­
cate that demand is poor and
that sales are smaller than they were last month. One
producer reports a satisfactory volume o f business dur­
ing the first two months o f 1924, but since the end o f
February his sales have steadily decreased. Both
buyers and sellers appear to lack confidence in the
future, which is not remarkable in view o f weakness in
raw silk and strong opposition to quotations on finished
goods. Buyers are confining their purchases mainly
to current requirements, and producers have but few
orders for delivery after the next sixty days. Neither
retailers, jobbers, nor cutters-up are buying actively,
though it is reported that business with retailers has
been best. Demand continues to favor crepes, and for
spring, goods with fancy effects seem to be more
popular than staples. Fancy plaid goods have sold well.
Ribbons, materials for the millinery trade, and linings
for coats and suits are reported to be sluggish.
Probably one o f the principal reasons for caution on
the part of buyers has been the fact that prices for raw
silk have steadily declined. This has led buyers to
request concessions on silk goods and to offer strong
resistance to quotations, especially on staples and piecedyed fabrics. In consequence, most producers have
made reductions ranging from 5 to 10 per cent during
the past month.
But concessions do not appear to have stimulated
trade, and a number o f manufacturers have reduced
operations. Curtailment, however, has not been gen­
eral, since most mills are running at about the same
rate as last month and a few have increased operations.

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I he majority o f plants in this district are utilizing from
50 to 80 pef cent of their equipment, though some are
operating at or near to capacity. A t the present rate
of production unfilled orders will insure operations in
many plants for about one or two months, but in some
instances orders on hand will keep the plant running
only two or three weeks, and a few mills are either
closed down or are operating for stock. In most cases,
however, stocks of finished goods are tending to de­
crease, though they are still fairly heavy. M anufac­
turers are keeping supplies of raw materials moderately
light, mainly because o f declining prices and uncertain
trade in finished goods. Labor is in sufficient supply,
and for the most part wages have remained unchanged
for some time. Collections are fair.

HOSIERY
Conditions throughout the hosiery trade continue to
he of such a mixed character that it is impossible to
describe the business as either good, fair, or poor. A l­
though the great majority o f our reports state that, as
compared with the previous month, trade is either un­
changed or poor, a fair number o f mills are working at

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23

capacity. Indeed, some are working overtime and have
sufficient orders on hand to keep them busy for from
60 to 90 days. Beyond that time, however, compara­
tively few contracts have been closed, and sales for fall
are much smaller than they have been at this season in
the past two years. This is largely because only a few
mills have booked orders for woolen hosiery for either
men or women.
Novelties are in many instances selling better than
staples, as is evident from reports by manufacturers of
children’s hosiery, in which line fancy-topped ribbed
hosiery is the present leader. For women, silk hosiery,
especially in chififon and light weights, is in better re­
quest than are the usual w eights; and light colors, such
as nude and peach, are selling more readily than
the staple black. Full-fashioned mills as a rule are
busier than seamless mills, but orders for women’s
seamless hosiery o f silk and fibre mixtures have been of
good volume. Low-end hosiery has been dull, partly
owing to the unsettlement induced by the decliningprices of cotton yarns, and some mills are reported to
have named very low prices for hosiery in order to
attract business.
Prices for pure silk full-fashioned hosiery for women

HOSIERY INDUSTRY*
Third Federal Reserve District
QUANTITY (DOZEN PAIRS)

January, 1924

M EN’S

W OMEN’S

TOTAL
Full
fashioned

Seamless

Full
fashioned

Seamless

Boys’ and Childrens’ Athletic
Misses’ and Infants' and Sport
(all styles) (all styles) (all styles)

Production............................................................

1,053,707

52,611

360,133

249,296

230,461

34,207

116,338

10,661

Orders and stocks:
Shipments during the month...................................
I* inished product on hand at end of month..........
Orders booked during the month...........................
Cancellations received during the month..............
unfilled orders on hand at end of month..............

907,247
1,786,653
845,240
36,082
2,420,16S

53,324
35,933
50,018
1,201
74,873

283,488 214,545
459,664 465,026
284,600 253,832
16,114
3,029
616,685 840,434

166,313
307,425
158,147
13,542
369,030

31,278
83,214
23,384
286
34,320

150,376
415,438
69,154
1,910
474,086

7,923
19,953
6,105
10,740

QUANTITY (DOZEN PAIRS)

February, 1924

M E N ’S
TOTAL

W OM EN’S
Boys’ and Childrens’ Athletic
Misses’ and Infants’ and Sport
(all styles) (all styles) (all styles)

Full
fashioned

Production...........................................................
an<^ s^o c k
*s:

Shipments during the month..................................
^ wished product on hand at end of month..........
Orders booked during the month...........................
Cancellations received during the month..............
I nfilled orders on hand at end of month..............
Preliminary report prepared by Bureau of the Census.




Seamless

Full
fashioned

984,873

51,929

332,466

255,121

204,432

27,46S

108,717

4,740

963,393
1.785,266
757,484
43,463
2,149,654

35,787
44,832
32,502
877
73,244

284,665
481,842
240,979
26,065
554,911

255,850
491,089
227,443
3,696
792,191

199,805
304,285
164,744
7.125
318,537

33,059
77,720
22,025
352
25,141

150,334
365,991
65,233
5,348
374,925

3,893
19,507
4,558

Seamless

10,705

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usiness

have been fairly steady, but new numbers in lighter
weights have been placed on the market by some manu­
facturers at prices below their regular grades. Lower
quotations have also been named for all hosiery made
either in whole or in part of fibre.
Production in general has changed but little. More
firms, however, report that their output in March has
increased than that it has decreased, as compared with
the figures for the previous month. Reports to the
Bureau o f the Census by 148 identical mills in the Third
Federal Reserve District are summarized in the tables
on page 23. It will be noted that production in Feb­
ruary was 6.5 per cent less than it was in January.
Operations during December and January by 330
identical mills situated throughout the United States,
reporting to the Bureau o f the Census are shown in the
accompanying table.
HOSIERY INDUSTRY IN THE UNITED STATES
December,
1923

January,
1924

Full-fashioned, m en .............................
Seamless, men......................................
Full-fashioned, women.........................
Seamless, women..................................
Bovs’ and misses’ , all styles...............
Children’s and infants’ , all stvles . . . .
Athletic and sport, all styles.............

69,228
1,64.5,061
477,824
999,259
513,342
377,474
23,624

83,172
1,964,345
532,967
1,191,778
595,604
435,631
24,398

Total production..............................
Total shipments during m onth..........
Total finished product on hand, end of
month................................................
Total orders booked during month. . .
Total cancellations received during
m onth...............................................
Total unfilled orders on hand end of
month................................................

4,105,812
4,082,882

4,827,895
4,221,003

7,540.163
3,730,405

8,601,026
3,849,719

260,797

192,914

9,619,470

9,435,031

Moderate or light stocks are reported by the great
majority o f the mills with which this bank is in com ­
munication. and about half the reports state that stocks
have decreased during the past month. Collections are
fairly g o o d : that is, the same as they have been in
recent months.

UNDERWEAR
W ith few exceptions makers o f underwear report that
business is poor, and the majority find that sales are
smaller than they were last month. Weakness in raw
cotton has apparently increased the conservatism of
buyers, especially as regards future commitments, and
as a result demand for heavy-weight underwear has
been especially quiet. Jobbers hesitate to place orders
for underwear at quotations that are considerably higher
than those o f a year ago, while many other finished
cotton goods are selling for about the same as or less
than last year’s prices. M oreover, retailers have not
purchased spring underwear freely from jobbers, who,
in consequence, are placing but few duplicate orders with




R

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producers. Not only is new business limited, but in
one or two instances cancellations and requests to post­
pone shipments have been received, particularly from the
Northwest. Few lines of underwear are selling actively,
but the call for men’s and children’s underwear is better
than that for women’s.
Although some producers have booked a fair number
of orders for shipment after the next three months, the
bulk o f the business is for delivery within the next 60
days. A s compared with last month, unfilled orders
show a decided decrease, and in many instances orders
on hand will insure operations for not more than one or
two months. A few producers, however, have received
sufficient business to keep their plant busy until August
or September. Operations vary considerably, but many
plants are running at only 60 per cent o f capacity, and
the average for this district is only about 70 per cent.
Curtailment has evidently prevented the accumulation
of finished goods, since stocks are reported to be fairly
light and are tending to decrease. Supplies o f raw mate­
rials are also moderately light. A s a rule, the supply of
labor is adequate, and wages are unchanged.
The sharp decline in quotations on raw cotton and
cotton yarns during recent months has disturbed the
market for underwear. Buvers have offered strong resistance to prices and have hesitated to order for the
future at existing quotations. These factors, coupled
with the slow movement o f spring goods, have rendered
prices for underwear weak, and a number of manufac­
turers have made reductions during the past month. It
is reported, however, that these concessions wrere mainly
on spring underwear, and for the most part quotations
remain unchanged.
Collections are in a few instances good, but in the
majority o f cases they are only fair.

FLOOR COVERINGS
Sales of carpets and rugs, though not large, had in­
creased somewhat during the first three weeks o f Feb­
ruary, and greater activity was noted in the mills in
this district. Our survey o f employment and wages in
this industry shows that during the week ending Febru­
ary 15 the number of wage earners in 14 reporting
establishments increased 3.6 per cent as compared with
that of the corresponding week o f January. The total
weekly payroll was 11.2 per cent larger, and average
weekly earnings were 7.3 per cent higher, indicating a
heavier production schedule. It had become generally
understood that most carpet manufacturers had agreed
to return to the custom o f several years ago and hold
their openings in May instead o f April, and this was
considered to be a constructive move by all elements in
the trade.
Then came the announcement o f an auction sale be­
ginning March 3 to be held by Alexander Smith & Sons
Carpet Company, the largest producers o f carpets and
rugs in this country, who stated that they would offer

1924

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87,000 bales o f Axminster, velvet, and tapestry rugs,
and 3,000 rolls of carpets of the same qualities. It was
further stated that this offering represented present
stocks and production, and would all lie shipped during
March. A s usual, the auction sale was largely attended,
and the merchandise was disposed o f for a total of
over $5,400,000. The prices obtained, however, were
considerably lower than those at the October auction,
and Axminsters especially were sold at heavy reductions.
A fter the sale the same firm issued price lists for goods
for shipment before May. These quotations, while
lower than former list prices for rugs, were above the
figures o f the auction sale. For carpets quotations were
the same as in October. It is not known whether in
May this company will sell at fixed prices or hold
another auction.
A s a consequence o f the sale, several of the other large
manufacturers have made reductions in their list prices,
the cut being about 10 per cent on Axminsters and 7
per cent on velvets and some tapestries. N o reductions
have been announced by any makers o f W iltons, and
many of the local manufacturers, stating that wages and
the cost o f materials are higher now than they were when
present lists were issued, have declined to lower quo­
tations on any o f the other weaves. Some manufac­
turers are not optimistic regarding business during the
next few weeks, although they believe that retailers
are, as a rule, facing the active spring selling season
with reduced stocks. During March, therefore, produc­
tion has been curtailed by certain makers, especially by
those whose prices remain unchanged, but others are
operating their plants on former schedules. Quotations
tor carpet wools have been advancing, and carpet and
rug manufacturers feel that on the course of wool
prices next season’s values will largely depend.

Linoleum and felt-base floor coverings continue to be
1 1 good demand, but as is usual during tbe winter, ship­
1
ments by some firms are not as large as production, and
therefore small stocks are available for the spring selling
season, always one o f the largest of the year. Some
" nes> however, are sold up for the season, which ends
May 1, and have been withdrawn from the market.
8ales have shown a gain over the corresponding months
ot 1923, and production, especially of felt-base goods,
fias increased considerably. Prices are unchanged, and
] a\v materials also are steady. Collections in all branches
°* the floor-covering industry are in most cases
satisfactory.

LEATHER
Ihe hide market, which up to about the middle of
"ebruary had been strong and advancing, suddenly became dull. N o trading in ChiHides and skins
cago packer hides was reported
during the last two weeks o f
Cjruarv, and at the same time the Argentine market
Weakened considerably. Then in the first week of




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25

March the packers began to sell, and though their sales
were not large, prices declined 2 j4 cents per pound for
several selections, a loss about equal to the entire gain
made between the middle o f January and the middle o f
February. During the second and third weeks o f March
a further decline o f one cent for butt branded steers
occurred, and tanners are now bidding low for other
selections; but packers have declined to meet these
prices, and little business has been done.
Packer calf skins, largely because of foreign demand,
advanced a further one cent per pound to 22^4 cents
after hides became sluggish, but the domestic buyers
showed little interest, and tanners asked 23 cents.
A fter a short period o f dulness, however, packers sold
some small lots for export at 22 cents, and Chicago
city skins weakened considerably and were reported sold
at a reduction o f two cents. Goat skins o f some de­
scriptions have been in good request. China skins,
many o f which are especially suirable for the manu­
facture o f colored kid, are said to have been disposed
of in large quantities and at advancing prices. Some
fair-sized transactions in India skins have also been
closed, and skins which are cheap enough to make into
lining leather for shoes have also been in demand. But,
as a general rule, tanners are chary of buying raw stock
for shipment, and the largest sales are of merchandise
already arrived in this country. Even as early as the
end of January this spot demand for skins was strong,
as is indicated by the report o f the Department of
Commerce that during January stocks in this country
were reduced 10.3 per cent to 8,903,835 skins, the lowest
figure given since May, 1923. Stocks of all other raw
hides and skins also declined, as fo llo w s : cattle hides,
2.9 per cent; sheep and lamb skins, 14.2 per cent; and
calf and kip skins, 12.5 per cent. Stocks o f all these were
lower than at any time since statistics were first col­
lected in 1920.
During March the demand for nearly all leathers has
slackened, and the improvement o f January and Febru­
ary has not been maintained. This
Leather
dulness may, however, be sea­
sonal, as shoe manufacturers have
covered their requirements until Easter and have little
business booked beyond that time. The increased call

LEATHER
January, 1924 compared with
December, 1923

Backs, bends and sides....................

Production
during month

T 6.0%
4

2 9, “

+ 3.2“
+ 15.1 “
+ .7 “
I — .5 « f
}
i

Stocks at end
of month

4.0* 0
- 1.8“
.3 “
+ 1.6“
+ 1.5“
- 2.4“

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usiness

for leather in January is indicated in the accompanying
table made from the report o f the Department of Com­
merce, which shows that although production of nearly
all leather increased during January, stocks at the end
o f the month were in most classes lower than at the
beginning.
In most heavy leathers, too, the tanners, though still
carrying the bulk of the finished leather, own a some­
what lessened proportion o f it than they did in Septem­
ber, since which time the ratio has slowly decreased.
The accompanying table shows this change.

PROPORTION OF FINISHED LEATHER HELD
BY TANNERS
September 30
1923

Chrome sole......................................
Oak, union and hemlock sole..........
Belting butts.....................................
Offal. 7 .....................................

January 31
1924

Per cent
79.2
90.7
88.0
69.5

Per cent
65.1
90.7
86.6
66.7

In upper leathers, however, tanners continue to hold a
large proportion o f the finished stocks, and this per­
centage has not decreased.
Stocks o f kid have not only increased, but as is in­
dicated in the accompanying chart, the proportion of it
held by tanners has grown steadily during the past year.

STOCKS OF GOAT AND KID LEATHERS
EZ3 Dealers’ and irof^orters’
Eg|3 Boot and shoe manufacturers’
ESS Tanners’

1921

1922

1923

eview

A pril

price have been offered by kid tanners to move accumu­
lations o f black kid, but in many instances their efforts
have failed, as buyers’ prices are set very low. An
increased call is noted for colored kid, and white kid, too,
is selling well. Grain calf leather has held its advance
in price, and in men’s weights light tan and black, and
in women’s weights a medium tan and black, are called
for ; but the request for suedes is decreasing. In colors,
grain calf is wanted, especially for children’s shoes.
Patent leather maintains its popularity, and sales, though
not as large as they were a month ago, are fair.
Harness and saddlery leather is in fair demand, but
prices are reported as either weak or lower. Stocks
are from moderate to heavy, and orders are for small
lots for quick shipment.
Leather belting has been selling in considerable vol­
ume, and sales, as reported to the Leather Belting E x ­
change, are running at an average of about 100,000
pounds weekly. But manufacturers report that buyers
are resisting present prices, which, though some in­
stances o f price cutting are reported, have not changed
during the past two months. Manufacturers of leather
goods report variously. Some state that business is
poor and that at present there is overproduction, others
that the demand is fair, and still others that business is
good and that they have a considerable number o f orders
booked for delivery next autumn as well as a good
volume for early shipment. The demand appears to be
best for specialties, which probably accounts for the
great variations recorded above.
Manufacturers of
trunks and standard luggage, however, report that sales
are keeping up with those o f a year ago, when business
was considered to be good. Prices of luggage are on an
average slightly lower than they were a year ago, and in
a majority of cases plants are running at capacity.
Reductions in wages in kid factories, which were
noted last month, have become more general, and in a
number o f plants in Philadelphia wages have been re­
duced, the average cut being about 10 per cent. In the
Camden and Wilmington tanneries, however, wages are
unchanged, as no advances were made in those cities
last spring, and thus the reduction in the Philadelphia
plants puts wages on the same level in all these places.
Although in general collections are said to be good, some
tanners report a considerable decline in payments dur­
ing March.

1924

Total stocks of kid leather a t the end of 1923 were larger than at the
end of either 1921 or 1922. Of this increased supply, tanners
held a larger proportion and boot and shoe m anufac­
turers a smaller proportion at the close of 1923
than in either of the previous years.

Source— Department o f Corfmerce

Quotations for leather have ceased to advance but in
most cases are fairly well maintained. Concessions in




R

Shoe manufacturers in this district have in most
cases almost caught up with their orders, and in many
factories the cutting rooms have
Shoes
had to slow down because o f lack
o f work. This is, o f course, be­
tween seasons, but repeat orders for the early spring
trade have been disappointingly small, and as yet neither
wholesalers nor retailers are disposed to buy, except in
a small way to meet their May and June requirements.

T

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Prices are in nearly all cases unchanged. A few
rnakers report slight reductions for some lines, and other
manufacturers have made a small increase in the quo­
tations for calf leather shoes; but these changes have
had no effect in stimulating business. For women’s
shoes, suede leathers, while still ordered, are losing
ground ; but patent leather and satin are in request, and
grain calf is in increasing call. W hite leather, too,
promises to be a leader later in the season.
Production o f shoes in the United States in January
amounted to 26,397,808 pairs. This total was larger
than that o f December, when 22,676,436 pairs were
made, but less than the output o f 30,743,740 pairs in
January, 1923. In the Third Federal Reserve District
U 0 identical factories showed a decrease o f 4.2 per cent
m the number o f shoes made in February as compared
with those turned out in January.

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27

RETAIL SHOE TRADE
Third Federal Reserve District
1.

NET SALES (in terms of dollars):
(a) February, 1924, as compared with Jan. 1924 — 14.5%
(b) February, 1924, as compared with February,
1923.............................................................. + 15.0%

2.

STOCKS (selling price):
(a) February, 1924, as compared with Jan. 1924 - f
(b) February, 1924, as compared with Feb. 1923 —

3.

2.2%
1.4%

RATE OF TURNOVER (times per year based
on cumulative period):

3.2
(a) February 1 to February 29, 1924.....................
(b) February 1 to February 28, 1923.....................
2.8
Number of stores reporting above items:
1......................... 20
2 ....................... 18
3 ....................... 17

PAPER
BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY*
Third Federal Reserve District
Number of pairs
Production
February
1924
B o o t s a n d s h o e s , t o t a l .....................................
H i g h a n d lo w c u t ( le a t h e r ) , t o t a l ................
M e n ’ s ..........................
B o y s ’ a n d y o u t h s ’ ................................................
W o m e n ’ s ..................................................
M i s s e s ’ a n d c h ild r e n ’s ......................................
I n f a n t s ’ ...........................................................
-Ml o t h e r le a t h e r o r p a r t -le a t h e r f o o t ­
w ear* . .
1

January,
1924

1,720,102
1,607,702
131,927
138,448
261,531
605,565
470,231

1,795,755
1,680,166
126,819
168,442
238,522
636,381
510,002

112,400

115,589

, Preliminary report compiled by the Bureau of the Census.
Includes athletic and sporting shoes (leather), shoes with canvas, satin,
1 Tether fabric uppers, slippers for housewear, and all other leather or part‘eather footwear.

Skilled labor is reported to be scarce in some locali­
ses, and a few increases in the wages paid to both
skilled and unskilled workers are noted. Collections
are in the main fair, but a goodly number o f firms state
that they are slower than they were a year ago.
At wholesale, sales during February were larger than
11 either January or in February, 1923, as is shown in
1
D e table on page 9. But few orders have been booked
*or shipment later than April 15.
At retail, sales during February fell off 14.5 per cent
r°m those o f January but were 15.0 per cent larger
than in February, 1923. Business during March is
described as only fair and may not reach the total o f
ast year, when the pre-Easter season fell in March.
women, pumps of suede in black, airedale, and gray,
° t Patent leather and black satin, all with strap effects,
die the best sellers. And for men, oxford s in tan and
11 black are wanted. Stocks show but little change
1
r°m those o f a vear ago.




The demand for nearly all grades o f paper has in­
creased, and the majority o f manufacturers report that
business is better than it was either last month or in
March, 1923. Book and fine papers are in good request,
and operations at the mills have advanced to 85 per
cent o f capacity. The call for most grades o f wrapping
papers is also strong, and in this district the majority
o f mills are working at or near capacity. However,
the glassine market is more or less demoralized, owing
to severe price cutting among the manufacturers, and
seme plants are running at only 50 per cent. Toilet
tissues and crepe towels are in active request, and pro­
duction at these plants is close to capacity. Paperboards, particularly box boards, are selling more freely
than they did in the two preceding months, and most
mills are operating at 90 per cent. Manufacturers o f
cardboards and tag stocks report only a fair demand,
and few are working at more than 70 per cent. Makers
o f tags state that competition is very severe and that
they have sufficient orders to keep only two-thirds of
their equipment in operation. W all papers are selling
well, and the mills are working at capacity. Envelopes
and tablets are in good demand, and most converters
are operating at 85 per cent o f capacity. Buyers are
still adhering to their hand-to-mouth policy, as is seen
in the fact that none o f the mills that report to us have
more than 30 days’ business on hand. Jobbers state
that sales are larger than they were last month. A s
is shown in the table on page 9, wholesale paper
sales in February were slightly greater than those of
February, 1923.
Paper production, except in the book grades, has not
yet this year reached the high mark o f last June. The
chart on page 28, which is based upon production figures
compiled by the American Paper and Pulp Associa­
tion for an identical number o f mills in each period o f
two months, shows clearly that production, expressed

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year. However, total sales for the issues o f the first
four months o f 1924 surpass by a considerable amount
those for the corresponding issues o f 1923. Practically
all industries are buying space in good quantity. Sub­
scription sales also have increased over those o f March,
1923. Publishers o f books state that business is ex­
cellent, and most o f them are working at capacity. Lith­
ographers find window display advertising in big de­
mand and that manufacturers o f toilet preparations and
foodstuffs are the heaviest buyers. The majority of
lithographers are operating at close to capacity.
The following chart, based upon reports from 22
printing and publishing firms, shows that employment
in these plants in January and February, 1924, was
greater than in the same months o f 1923. The number
o f employees in January reached the previous high
marks o f March, May, and June, 1923.
Except at book paper m ills, m onthly production has not reached the
total of June, 1923, so far this year. The ou tput of fine and
wrapping paper increased in February but that
of book and newsprint declined

Source: American Paper and Pulp Association.

as an index number, except that o f book paper, is
smaller than it was in June, 1923.
Paper prices are now quite firm and are the same
as they were last month. The slight weakness which
was apparent in kraft paper prices early in February
has now vanished, and the granting o f concessions has
virtually ceased. Mechanical and chemical pulps still
display some softness, but owing to the increasing de­
mand, especially for chemical pulps, prices are tending
to stiffen.
Finished stocks at the mills vary from light to
moderate and show little change since last month.
Mill stocks o f raw materials are moderate. The supply
o f all classes o f labor is adequate and wages are un­
changed. Collections vary from fair to good and are
much the same as they were last month.

PRINTING AND PUBLISHING
The majority o f job printers report a better demand
for printing than in either January or February, and
though several state that business is better than in
March, 1923, others do not find it as good. Direct-by­
mail circulars and general job work are in greatest
request, but a few firms have considerable catalogue
work. The number o f commercial advertising orders
that have been received shows a slight increase over
that o f the two preceding months, and the radio, steel,
metal products, lumber, and leather industries are the
principal buyers. A few printers find business very
good and are working at capacity, but the average o f
operations throughout the district does not exceed 75
per cent. Magazine publishers report that their sales o f
advertising space for April and M ay numbers exceed
those for the same numbers o f 1923, but sales for the
March numbers were not as large as they were last




Em ploym ent during the first two m onths of 1924 in printing and
publishing plants was greater than in the sam e m onths of 1923.

Source— Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Printing and publishing costs have remained sta­
tionary during the past two months. Paper prices have
held firm, as have the costs o f inks and other mate­
rials. Competition continues to be severe, and job
printers must quote their lowest prices to obtain orders.
Labor, both skilled and unskilled, is in ample supply,
and wages have not changed. Collections are fair, being
much the same as they were last month, and slightly
slower than those o f a year ago.

CIGARS
The majority o f cigar manufacturers report that de­
mand is not quite as good as it was last month or in
March, 1923, and is only fair. A s a rule, March is a
rather dull month for the industry, and this March is no
exception; but all manufacturers expect better .business
at the beginning o f spring. Practically all orders are
for immediate shipment. Class C cigars are still the
best sellers, and the A and B grades are in fair demand,

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but none o f these selling as well as they were last
year. Production has declined only slightly, and most
factories are running at the same rate as in February.
Operations vary from 50 per cent to capacity, but the
average for the district is from 75 to 80 per cent.
Jobbers report that the demand is better than it was last
month and about equal to that o f March, 1923.
The accompanying chart shows that the output o f
large cigars in February, 1924, decreased 1.6 per cent,
but that o f cigarettes increased 5.0 per cent, as compared
with the totals for February, 1923.
Cigar prices are firm and unchanged, and tobacco
leaf prices are well maintained. Finished stocks at the
factories vary from moderate to heavy and are increas­
ing. Supplies o f raw materials are moderate but are
decreasing. N o scarcity o f either skilled or unskilled
labor is noted, and wages remain unchanged. Collec­
tions range from fair to good and are the same as they
were last month.

COM PILED AS OF M AR CH 22, 1924.

This business review will be sent regularly without charge to any address upon request




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SYNOPSIS OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
Compiled as of March 22, 1924

Third Federal Reserve District
Labor

Business
Brick
Chemicals
Cigars
Coal, anthracite
Coal, bituminous
| Coke
Confectionery
Cotton goods
Drugs, wholesale
Drygoods, wholesale
Floor coverings

Demand

Prices

Stocks

Supply

Wages

Collections

Fair to good

Firm

Moderate

Sufficient

Poor to fair
Fair
Fair to good
Poor to fair
Fair
Fair to good
Poor to fair
Fair
Fair

Weak
Firm
Firm
Weak
Lower
Firm
Lower
Declining
Firm to lower
Unchanged
to lower

Moderate
Moderate
Moderate
Heavy

Sufficient
Sufficient
Sufficient
Sufficient

Some
reductions
Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged
LT
nchanged

Moderate
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate

Sufficient
Sufficient

Unchanged
Unchanged

Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Firm

Moderate

Some scarcity

Some advances

Poor to fair

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Fair to good

Gas and electric fix­ Fair
tures
Glass

Poor to fair

Firm

Groceries, wholesale
Hardware, wholesale
Hosiery, fullfashioned
Hosiery, seamless

Fair
Fair

Poor to fair

Firm
Some advances
Unchanged
to lower
Lower

Fair

Moderate
to light
Moderate
Moderate

Fair
Fair
Fair to good

to
to
to
to

good
good
good
good

Fair to good
Poor to fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Moderate
Moderate
to heavy
Moderate
Moderate
Heavy
Moderate
to heavy
Moderate
Heavy
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate
Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged
-to lower
Unchanged

Sufficient

Unchanged

Sufficient
Sufficient

Sufficient
Sufficient
Sufficient
Sufficient
Sufficient

Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged
to lower
Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Fair to good
Fair to good
Fair

Iron and steel

Fair

Some weakness

Jewelry
Leather belting
Leather, heavy

Fair
Fair
Poor to fair

Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged

Leather, upper

Poor to fair

Unchanged

Lumber
Oils, crude
Oils, refined
Paint
Paper
Paper, wholesale
Printing and publish­
ing

Fair to good
Good
Fair to good
Fair
Good
Good

Some advances
Higher
Higher
Unchanged
Firm
Firm

Fair to good

Unchanged

Pottery

Good

Firm

Moderate

Sufficient

Some
reductions

Fair to good

Shoes, manufacture

Poor to fair

Unchanged

Moderate

Some scarcity,
skilled

Some advances

Fair to good

Shoes, retail
Shoes, wholesale
Silk goods
Silk, thrown
Sugar
Underwear, heavy
weight
Underwear, light
weight
Woolen and worsted
goods
Woolen and worsted
yarns

Fair to good
Fair
Poor to fair
Poor
f\air

Unchanged
Unchanged
Lower
Weak
Declining

Moderate
Moderate
Fairly heavy
Light
Moderate

Sufficient
Some scarcity
Sufficient

Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged

Fair to good
Fair
Fair
Fair to good
Good

Poor

Unchanged

Fairly light

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair

Poor to fair

Unchanged
to lower
Generally
unchanged
Generally
unchanged

Fairly light

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient
or plentiful
Sufficient
or plentiful

Unchanged

Fair to good

L'nchanged

Fair to good




Irregular
Poor to fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Fair
Fair to good
Fair to good
Fair to good
Fair
Good
Good
Fair
Fair to good
Fair

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ADVANTAGES OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM
PURPOSE OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE ACT

The purpose o f the A ct zvas to remedy well-defined
defects in our banking and currency systems and thereby
put a stop to the panics that regularly appeared when­
ever those systems zvere put tinder an unusual strain.
Business men were especially active in demanding re­
form. The Chamber o f Commerce o f the United States
in a memorial to Congress, declared: “ The defects of
our present system are generally understood to consti­
tute a menace, both to our domestic and international
trade. The business men o f the country should not
again be exposed to the rigors of another such (cu r­
rency) stringency as followed the large crop of 1912.”
The recognized defects w ere: (1 ) an inelastic cur­
rency, (2 ) scattered reserves, (3 ) lack of a bank of
rediscount.
The Federal Reserve A ct was adopted to correct these
weaknesses and it has corrected them. The Act was not
made up o f a conglomerate o f undigested theories but is
“ the product of a lengthy course o f development that
has grown out of the discussion and analysis o f the past
twenty years. It is not drawn, even largely, from any
single source.” *
The new banking system was put into effect by the
opening o f the twelve Federal reserve banks in Novem ­
ber, 1914.
The effectiveness of the system was immediately put
to the test by the disturbances caused by the war and
the following period o f readjustment. The banks func­
tioned successfully and our monetary and banking struc­
ture held firm and secure during the greatest strain we
had ever experienced. The principal faults in the old
system that inevitably brought panics and destruction
under strain had been corrected. The new currency
showed an elasticity that provided for all legitimate de­
mands and was always on a par with gold. The pooling
o f the reserves of the member banks in the twelve great
reservoirs enabled them to be applied effectively wher­
ever the need was greatest; and the reserve banks re­
discounted paper for the members in a volume that far
exceeded any previous estimate o f the possibilities.
MEMBERSHIP IN THE SYSTEM

Under the Federal Reserve Act, only national banks
are required to be members o f the Federal reserve
system. Provision is made, however, for the admission
o f state banks and trust companies.
On June 30, 1923, the membership o f the Federal
reserve system included 8236 national banks and 1620
state banks and trust companies. The total resources
o f the national banks were $21,502,202,000, and the re­
sources o f the state bank members aggregated $12,293,124,000. The resources of member banks constituted
about 63 per cent o f the total resources o f all banks in
* Statement of Dr. H. Parker W illis.




the country and over 70 per cent of those of the banks
eligible to membership.
ADVANTAGES OF MEMBERSHIP

Membership in the Federal reserve system gives
many privileges and advantages of great value to the
banks and to the communities which they serve.
Notable among the privileges of membership at this
time are the follow ing:
(1) To borrozu money front the Federal reserve
bank at its prevailing rates. Member banks may redis­
count with the Federal reserve bank, notes, drafts or
bills of exchange, the proceeds of which have been used
or are to be used in producing, purchasing, carrying or
marketing goods, wares, merchandise, or agricultural
products, including live stock, or for carrying or trading
in United States bonds or notes. Such paper must have
a maturity at the time o f discount o f not more than
ninety days, except that (a ) paper drawn for an agri­
cultural purpose or based on- live stock may have a
maturity o f not exceeding nine months, and (b ) sight
or demand drafts drawn to finance domestic shipments
o f non-perishable, readily marketable, staple agricul­
tural products and secured by bills of lading or other
shipping documents conveying or securing title, are also
eligible for rediscount.
Member banks may also borrow from the Federal
reserve bank on tbeir own promissory notes for periods
not exceeding fifteen days, provided the notes are se­
cured by United States bonds or notes, or by paper
eligible for discount or purchase by the Federal reserve
bank.
(2 )
To obtain currency and coin, as needed, from
the Federal reserve bank. The Federal reserve bank
pays the postage and insurance or expressage on ship­
ments o f paper currency, subsidiary silver and minor
coin to its member banks and on shipments o f paper
currency and all coin from the member banks to it.
(3 )
To participate in the check clearing facilities o f
the Federal reserve system. The Federal reserve bankhandles for its members, at par, checks on the banks ap­
pearing on the par list and checks and warrants on the
United States Treasurer, giving credit according to its
time schedule.
The par list comprises all member banks and all non­
member banks upon whom checks can be collected at
par. On August 31, 1923, over 91 per cent of the banks
in the United States were on the par list. The banks
not now on the par list will gradually see that the sup­
port of a system for the prompt collection o f checks is
to their advantage and protection, and will support it as
heartily as those who now see its advantages. Expense,
delay and risk are minimized bv this plan.
Checks passing through the Federal reserve svstem
are routed direct wherever possible, saving valuable time
in the process of collection.
{T o be continued)


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102