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THE BUSINESS REVIEW
THIRD FEDERAL
PHILADELPHIA

RESERVE DISTRICT
DECEMBER x, 19x3

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

S U M M A R Y OF BUSINESS CO N D ITIO N S IN TH E UNITED STATES
Production of basic commodities and retail trade
increased during October and the volume of freight ship­
ments and wholesale trade continued
Production
large. The level of wholesale prices
and the volume of employment showed
but little change. The Federal Reserve Board’s index of
production in basic industries advanced 3 per cent in
October, after having declined for four months. The
increase for the month, while due in part to the resump­
tion of anthracite coal mining, also reflected increases in
textiles, lumber, and sugar, and most other industries
included in the index. Employment at industrial estab­
lishments showed practically no change between Sep­
tember and October.
Contract awards for new buildings increased through­
out the country considerably more than is usual at this

IM DEX O F PRODUCTIOM IN BASIC IN D U S T R IE S

PRE T
ECN

C O M B IN A T IO N O F
CO RRECTED FOR

22

IN D IV ID U A L S E R IE S
VARIATION

seasonal

140

120
lO
O
80
60
40

20
1 19
9

1920




1921

1922

12
93

season, and were 15 per cent larger than in September.
Residential projects formed a larger proportion of the
total than in any earlier month of the year.
Crop estimates by the Department of Agriculture on
November 1 indicated a substantial reduction from the
September forecast in the yield of cotton, but larger
yields of corn, potatoes, and apples.
Heavy movement of miscellaneous merchandise and
live stock resulted in October in the largest railroad ship­
ments of any month on record. Wholesale
Trade
trade was 12. per cent larger than a year ago
and sales in all leading lines except shoes
showed increases. Department store sales were 13 per
cent larger than last October and sales of mail order
houses were the largest of any month since 1919.
Wholesale prices declined less than one per cent in

T he

2.

B usiness

BANK CREDIT

B A N K CREDIT

1919

1920

1
921

D ecem ber

R eview

1922

19
23

October, according to the index of the Bureau of Labor
Statistics and stood approximately at the
Prices
level of a year ago. The principal changes
for the month were declines in the prices of
fuel, clothing, metals, and animal products, while whole­
sale prices of crops, particularly cotton, increased.
During the first half of November the prices of wheat,
hogs, pig iron, and hides receded, and prices of cotton
and cotton goods, cement, and copper advanced.
Since the middle of October there has been a slight
decline in demand for credit for commercial and agri­
cultural purposes at member banks in
Bank
leading cities. Considerable decreases
credit
in borrowings for these purposes in the
New York and Chicago districts were partially offset by
increases in other districts. Loans secured by stocks and

1919

1920

1921

1922

1923

bonds increased somewhat, while investments continued
to decline and reached the low point for the year.
The total member bank accommodation at Federal
reserve banks declined between October 17 and Novem­
ber z i, and on the latter* date was the lowest since the
middle of the year. The total volume of Federal reserve
bank credit outstanding, however, remained relatively
constant because of increased purchases of bills in the
open market. The volume of Federal reserve note cir­
culation declined by about $50,000,000 during the
period, while other forms of money in circulation
increased.
Money rates showed an easier tendency and during
the early part of November the open market rate on com­
mercial paper in New York declined from 5-53 to
T
5 per cent.

TABLE OF C O N TEN TS
page

Agriculture.......................
Bankers’ acceptances. . .
B r ic k s ............................

B uilding............................
Cigars and cigarettes . .
Coal, anthracite..............
Coal, bitum inous............
C o k e ..................................
Commercial pap er..........
C otton g ood s...................
C otton, ra w .....................
C otton yarrs..................
District sum m ary..........
Drugs, wholesale............
D rygoods, wholesale. . ..
Em ploym ent and wages
Financial conditions
Floor coverings...............




28
6
12
12
27
16
16
17
7
18
17
18
3
9
8
5
6
22

page

Foreign exchange..............................................

7

Furniture......................................................

23

Groceries, wholesale.........................................
Hardware, wholesale........................................
Hides and skins.................................................
H osiery................................................................
Iron and steel....................................................
Leather...............................................................
Lum ber...............................................................
National sum m ary...........................................
P aints............ '....................................................
P aper..............................
Paper b oxes........................................................
Plumbing supplies............................................
Real E s t a te ......................................................
Retail trade.......................................................
Rubber, c r u d e ......................................
R ubber tires.......................................................

10
9
23
21
15
23
12
1
13
26
27
14
14
7
25
25

R ubber, mech anical g o o d s ...........................
Savings deposits...............................................
Securities...........................................................
S hoes...................................................................
Shoes, wholesale...............................................
Silk good s...........................................................
Silk, ra w .............................................................
Silk, th row n ......................................................
Sugar, raw.........................................................
Sugar, refined...................................................
Summary, district............................................
Summary, national..........................................
Synopsis of business conditions....................
Underwear.........................................................
W holesale trade................................................
W oolen and worsted good s............................
W oolen and worsted yarns............................
W ool, ra w .................................................. .. . .

26

6
6
8

24

20
20
21
10

11
3
1

4
22

8

19
19
19

SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
IN THE

THIRD FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT

The general tone of business has improved since last production during recent weeks, stocks are said to be
month, despite the fact that conditions in some lines are heavy and accumulating.
considered unsatisfactory. This is evidenced not so
Quotations on most grades of hides have declined,
much in orders for future delivery as in substantial sales although sales have been in fair volume, and certain
for prompt shipment and in a feeling of greater confi­ types of shoes have been in moderately good demand.
dence regarding business during the next few months. Leather, however, has continued dull. Manufacturers
That distribution of goods is still heavy is shown by of cigars and cigarettes report business to be satisfactory.
freight car loadings and by the well sustained volume of ‘ Paoer and paper box makers state that sales are some­
sales at both wholesale and retail.
what smaller than they were a year ago, but that in some
Among other encouraging signs are the reports con­ lines the volume is of goodly proportions. Retail sales
cerning building operations. During October the value are running considerably ahead of those of a year ago in
of permits issued both in the Third Federal Reserve Dis­ spite of unsatisfactory weather early in October. Whole­
trict and throughout the United States was not only sale dealers, too, are doing a fair business, and only in
larger than at any time since last May, but considerably the case of shoes are sales reported to be smaller than
in excess of the figures for October, 192.21. Such reports they were last year.
are indicative of confidence in the future, if nothing
Prices have fluctuated considerably in individual com­
more. Most building materials are in good demand, but
modities, but on the whole have changed little since last
as is to be expected, those materials which are used in
month. The index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics was
the latter part of operations such as paint, glass, and
slightly lower at the end of October than in September.
plumbing supplies are selling better than others. The
Metal goods, including pig iron, declined, and several
iron and steel industry, though still weak in spots, shows
of the fuels, namely, crude oil, bituminous coal, and coke
some improvement since last month. Inquiries are be­
were easier in price. O f farm products, some advanced
coming more numerous, and sales have been made for
while others declined. Quotations on textiles, too,
the first quarter of 1914. In addition, pig iron production
varied; cotton is higher, but silk has tended downward
is better adjusted to the present demand than it was a
in recent weeks.
month ago.
The employment situation shows little change. The
In the textile industries conditions vary. Sales of raw
wool have increased, woolen and worsted goods are number of wage earners at 1,054 manufacturing estab­
moving better, and certain types of yarns are selling more lishments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware,
readily. But in cotton and silk sharp price fluctuations reporting to this bank declined .2. per cent between
have tended to make buyers cautious, and consequently September and October. The total weekly wage pay­
there has been little or no improvement since last month. ments, on the other hand, were somewhat higher in
Conditions in the textile markets have been reflected in October, but this was due to longer working hours rather
the hosiery and underwear industries, which are un­ than to wage increases. Except in agricultural districts,
settled. Most grades of floor coverings, however, are in where a shortage of labor has interfered somewhat with
good request, and linoleums and felt-base goods are harvesting and fall plowing, the supply of workers
selling exceptionally well. As might be expected, appears to be adequate.
The credit situation continues easy, and money rates
in some instances are slightly lower than they were a
month ago.

domestic sizes of anthracite are in good demand, but
steam sizes continue to move slowly. The market for
bituminous coal is still dull, and in spite of curtailed




a

T he

4

B usiness

D ecem ber

R eview

SYN O P SIS OF BUSINESS C O N D ITIO N S
Compiled as of November 23, 1923

Business

Demand

Third Federal Reserve District

Prices

Finished
Stocks

Labor situation
Collections
Supply

Wages

Brick

Fair

Firm

Cigars
Coal, anthracite
Coal, bituminous
Coke

Good
Good
Poor
Fair

Cotton goods

Fair

Cotton yarns
Drugs, wholesale
Drygoods, wholesale
Floor coverings
Furniture
Groceries, wholesale
Hardware, wholesale
Hosiery, fullfashioned

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

Firm
Firm
Lower
Lower
Unchanged
to higher
Higher
Firm
Firm
Firm
Firm
Firm
Firm

Moderate to
light
Moderate
Moderate
Heavy
Heavy
Moderate
to light
Moderate
Mod 'rate
Heavy
Moderate
Moderate
Heavy
Moderate

Fair

Unchanged

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Hosiery, seamless

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Poor to fair

Iron and steel

Fair

Moderate
to heavy

Some scarcity

Unchanged

Fair to good

Leather belting

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Leather, heavy

Poor

Heavy

Sufficient

Unchanged

Good

Leather, upper

Poor to fair

Heavy

Sufficient

Unchanged

Good

Lumber

Fair to good

Unchanged
to higher
Unchanged
to lower
Unchanged
to lower
Lower
Unchanged
to lower
Unchanged
to lower

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Paint

Fair to good

Firm

Moderate
to light

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Paper boxes

Fair

Plumbing supplies
Real estate
Rubber, mechanical
goods
Rubber tires

Fair
Fair to good

Unchanged
to lower
Unchanged
to lower
Weak
Higher

Fair

Unchanged

Fair

Shoes, manufacture

Poor to fair

Unsteady
Unchanged
to lower

Paper

Shoes, retail

Poor to fair

Unchanged

Shoes, wholesale

Poor to fair

Unchanged

Silk goods

Poor

Lower

Silk, thrown

Poor

Lower

Sugar

Fair

Higher

Underwear, heavy
weight
Underwear, light
weight
Woolen and
worsted goods
Woolen and
worsted yarns

Fair




Some scarcity

Unchanged

Fair to good

Sufficient
Some scarcity
Sufficient
Sufficient

Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged
Unchanged

Fair to good
Fair to good
Fair to good

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Sufficient
Scarcity skilled

Unchanged
Unchanged

Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair
Fair

to good
to good
to good
to good

Moderate

Some scarcity

Unchanged

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient
Some scarcity

Unchanged
Unchanged

Fair to good
Fair to good

Moderate to
ght
Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair

Moderate
to heavy
Moderate
Moderate
to heavy
Light
Moderate
to light

Good
Poor to fair
Some scarcity,
Unchanged
skilled
Scarcity, skilled Unchanged

Fair

Sufficient

Unchanged

Good

Light

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Light

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair to good

Fair

Poor to fair

Unchanged
to higher
Unchanged
to higher

Poor to fair

Weak

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Poor to fair

Poor to fair

Unsettled
firmer tendency

Moderate

Sufficient

Unchanged

Fair
l

T hird

£9H.

F ederal

R eserve

D istrict

1

E M P L O Y M E N T AN D W A G E S
IN PENNSYLVANIA, NEW JERSEY AND DELAWARE

Number of wage earners
reported
Group and Industry

Number
of plants
reporting

T otal weekly payroll week ended

Oct. 15.
1923

Sept. 15,
1923

1,054

415,210

416,207

344
24
13
34

203,320
7,265
30,715
13,090

205,444 — 1.0
7,463 — 2.7
30,622 + .3
13,410 — 2.4

37
76
15
11
12
50
10
47
9
6

13,228
16,132
4,081
13,415
5,162
51,339
2,816
30,329
11,997
3,751

13,410
17,052
4,267
13,183
4,976
51,082
2,820
31,439
12,0S0
3,640

Textile products:
Carpets and rugs.......................
Clothing.....................................
Hats, felt and other...................
Cotton goods.............................
Silk goods...................................
Woolens and worsteds...............
Knit goods and hosiery.............
Dyeing and finishing textiles...
Miscellaneous textile products..

252
15
37
7
23
70
33
42
17
8

76,432
4,455
6,817
5,559
7,758
20,387
14,635
9,270
5,535
2,016

Foods and tobacco:
Bakeries......................................
Canneries.............. _
....................
Confectionery and ice cream. . .
Slaughtering and meat packing.
Sugar refining............................
Cigars and tobacco...................

95
22
10
22
15
4
22

Building materials:
Brick, tile and terra cotta products
Cement...........................................
Glass...............................................
Pottery...........................................
Chemicals and allied products:
Chemicals and drugs.............
Explosives..............................
Paints and varnishes.............
Petroleum refining.................
Coke........................................

All industries (48).

Metal manufactures:
Automobiles, bodies and parts...
Car construction and repair.. . . .
Engines, machines and machine
tools............................................
Foundries and machine shops
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................

Miscellaneous industries:
Lumber and planing mill products
Furniture........................................
Musical instruments.....................
Leather tanning.........................
Leather products. . v .................
.
Boots and shoes.........................
Paper and pulp products.........
Printing and publishing............
Rubber tires and goods.............
Novelties and jewelry...............
All other industries...................




Oct. 15,
1923

Sept. 15,
1923

Per cent
change

Oct. 15,
1923

Sept. 15,
1923

Per cent
change

511,095,203 510,908,760

+ 1.7

$26.72

$26.21

+ 1.9

5,832,242
195,718
970,220
313,317

5,809,325
194,47C
994,924
336,110

+ .4
+ .6
- 2.5
- 6.8

28.69
26.94
31.59
23.94

28.28
26.06
32.49
25.06

+ 1.4
+ 3.4
2.8
- 4.5

— 1.4
— 5.4
— 4.4
+ 1.8
+ 3.7
+ .5
—
.1
—
3.5
—
.7
+ 3.0

368,046
475,183
123,006
340,509
140,395
1,488,296
74,480
887,232
341,384
114,450

359,386
493,177
135,232
354.660
127,301
1,420,966
74,784
874,018
338,101
106,199

+ 2.4
- 3.6
- 9.0
- 4.0
+ 10.3
+ 4.7
+ .4
+ 1.5
+ 1.0
+ 7.8

27.82
29.46
30.14
25.38
27.20
28.99
26.45
29.25
28.46
30.51

26.80
28.92
31.69
26.90
25.58
27.82
26.52
27.80
27.99
29.18

+ 3.8

+
+
+

75,327
4,447
6,789
5,577
7,400
2 0 ,10 1
13,936
9,521
5,505
2,051

+ 1.5
■ .2
f"
+ .4
—
.3
+ 4.8
+ 1.4
+ 5.0
— 2.6
+ .5
— 1.7

1,684,323
130,571
133,885
125,083
180,648
402,499
330,145
185,792
149,230
46,470

1,584,817
118,669
135,343
117,968
162,808
385,236
297,670
171,698
149,399
46,026

+ 6.3
+ 10.0
- 1 .1
+ 6.0
+ 1 1 .0
+ 4.5
+ 10.9
+ 8.2
.1
+ 1.0 ■

22.04
29.31
19.64
22.50
23.29
19.74
22.56
20.04
26.96
23.05

21.04
26.69
19.94
21.15
22.00
19.17
21.36
18.03
27.14
22.44

+ 4.8
+ 9.8
— 1.5
+ 6.4
+ 5.9
+ 3.0
+ 5.6
+ ii.i
— .7
+ 2.7

29,448
4,810
3,374
6,136
3,583
4,444
7,101

30,509
4,890
4.718
5,840
3,671
3,962
7,428

— 3.5
— 1.6
-2 8 .5
+ 5.1
— 2.4
+ 12 .2
— 4.4

670,886
127,258
66,107
1 2 2 ,1 1 1
97,718
141,610
116,082

676,846
122,832
115,728
111,542
92,307
125,566
108,871

.9
+ 3.6
-4 2 .9
+ 9.5
+ 5.9
+ 12 .8
+ 6.6

22.78
26.46
19.59
19.90
27.27
31.87
16.35

22.19
25.12
24.53
19.10
25.14
31.69
14.66

+ 2.7
+ 5.3
- 2 0 .1
+ 4.2
+ 8.5
+ .6
+ 11.5

81
22
15
28
16

23,411
3,371
7,497
8,226
4,317

22,801
3,269
* 7,497
7,730
4,305

_i_ 2.7
+ 3.1
0
+ 6.4
+ .3

673,442
90,069
226,264
216,828
140,281

640,532
95,105
216,891
191,314
137,222

+
+
+
+

5.1
5.3
4.3
13.3

28.77
26.72
30.18
26.36
32.50

28.09
29.09
28.93
24.75
31.88

+ 2.4
8 .1
+ 4.3
+ 6.5
+ 1.9

73
39
10
13
7
4

30,671
8,464
2,819
1,422
16,701
1,265

30,252
8,356
2,952
1,371
16,304
1,269

+ 1.4
+ 1.3
— 4.5
+ 3.7
+ 2.4
— .3

903,935
227,930
77,060
36,170
516,235
46,540

865,400
216,220
74,199
33,107
500,721
41,153

+
+
+
+
+
+

4.5

5.4
3.9
9.3
3.1
13.1

29.47
26.93
27.34
25.44
30.91
36.79

28.61
25.88
25.14
24.15
30.71
32.43

+
+
+
+
+
+

209

51,928
2,313
3,472
9,592
9,214
740
6,077
5,560
3,780
5,243
2.948
2,989

51,874
2,470
3,399
9,109
9,156
710
6.013
5,862
3,659
5,289
3,012
3,195

+

1,330,372
51,303
84,592
280,013
250,298
14,780
116,288
139,142
120,399
133,689
72,897
66,971

1,331,837
54,171
S5,112
278,975
244.124
13,924
113,292
142,948
114,424
139,852
68,827
76,188

.1
5.3
.6
+ .4
+ 2.5
+ 6 .1
+ 2.6
2.7
+ 5.2
- 4.4
+ 5.9
- 1 2 .1

25.62
22.18
24.36
29.19
27.16
19.97
19.14
25.03
31.85
25.50
24.73
22.41

25.67
21.93
25.04
30.63
26.66
19.61
18.84
24.39
31.27
26.44
22.85
23.85

.2
+ 1 .1
2.7
4.7
+ 1.9

8

22
6
40

8

32
24
25
20
11

1
3

Per cent
change

Average weekly wages week
ended

.2

—

+
+
+
+
+
—

+
—

.1

6.4
2 .1
5.3
.6
4.2
1 .1
5.2
3.3
.9
2 .1
6.4

-

2.2

1.9

—
+
+

4.9
5.7
6.3
4.2
.3
5.2
1.7
4.6

3.0
4.1

8.8
5.3
.7
13.4

1.8

+ 1.6
+ 2.6
f 1.9
3.6
f 8.2
6.0

6

T he

B usiness

R eview

E M P L O Y M E N T AN D W A G E S

D ecem ber

July

25

Population

The total volume of employment at industrial estab­
lishments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware
showed only a slight change from September to October.
The number of wage earners on the payrolls of the 1,054
manufacturing establishments in 48 industries reporting
to this bank was 4155X10 in October, as compared with
4165X07 in September— a decline of .x per cent. Total
weekly wages paid by these establishments increased 1.7
per cent, and average weekly per capita earnings increased
from $x6.xi to $x6.yx, or 1.9 per cent. This advance
in earnings was chiefly due to longer working hours,
as very few changes were made in wage rates. Only 56
establishments reported wage increases, and these
affected only x,49i workers, or less than 1 per cent of the
total number employed at reporting plants.
Four
plants reported wage reductions, affecting 576 workers.
Of the six groups of industries included in our survey,
three— chemicals and allied products, building materials,
and textile products— showed a noticeable expansion in
employment. The foods and tobacco group reported the
biggest decline— 3.5 per cent, owing principally to the
marked seasonal curtailment in canning operations. The
miscellaneous industries reported a small increase, and
metal plants a decrease of 1 per cent.
In textile mills producing silk, wool, and cotton goods
there were considerable increases both in the number of
employes and in average weekly earnings. Employment
at blast furnaces, forging mills, and steel works increased
noticeably, and in the last two, average earnings also
advanced considerably. Indeed, it is noticeable that at
a large majority of the industries included in the survey
there were increases in average earnings, which were due
to longer working hours.
The table on page 5 shows
the results of our latest survey of employment and wages
in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

FINANCIAL C O N D ITIO N S
A reduction of from 638 to 6x8 millions in total loans
and discounts in the four weeks ending November 14 is
reported by member banks in Philadelphia, Camden,
Scranton, and Wilmington. The falling off was entirely
in secured loans, however, as the total of commercial
loans remained unchanged. Investments and deposits
declined slightly. We give below a table showing the
trend in the deposits of all member banks, classified by
size of city or town.
Bills discounted by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Philadelphia, after increasing from 51.8 millions on
October 3 to 61.8 millions on October 31, declined to
51.x millions on November x i. In the past four
weeks the changes in earning assets were as follows:
discounted bills declined from 58.4 to 51.x millions,
United States securities owned fell off from 17.4 to ix.4
millions, and purchased bills increased from xo.3 to
X7.X millions. In the items affecting reserves, there was




Aug. 29

Sept. 26

Oct. 24

Figures in millions of dollars

Demand deposits:
Less than 5,000............
5,000 to 14,999.............
15,000 to 99,999...........
100,000 and over.........

129.9
74.0
130.6
744.5

131.3
75.2
130 7
737.8

131.6
76.4
135.8
731.5

132.0
75.2
136.0
739.8

Time deposits:
Less than 5,000............
5,000 to 14,999.............
15,000 to 99,999...........
100,000 and over.........

198.9
100.2
175.1
138.2

210.4
100.9
177.8
138.1

202.7
101.4
181.6
136.6

205.1
100.7
182.3
139.7

an increase in note circulation from xio.6 to xix.7 mil­
lions, a decrease in deposits from 119.9 to 118.3 millions,
and an advance in reserves from X56.3 to X59.9 millions.
The reserve ratio rose from 77.5 to 78.5 per cent.
In the security markets activity has increased during
November, and prices have moved higher. The average
price of xo industrial stocks on
Securities
November xi was $9x.i7, as against
$87.83 a month earlier; and the
average of railroad shares increased from $78.95 to $81.45.
Bonds, too, followed the same trend; first-grade rails
went up from $85.8x to $86.X7; second-grade rails from
$81.85 to $8x.xi; industrials from $9x^7 to $93.49; and
Liberty bonds from $97.4X to $97.54. The only decline
was in the average of 10 public utility bonds, from $85.16
on October xo to $84.94 on November xi.
Owing to large purchases by the Federal Reserve Bank,
the average weekly sales of bankers’ acceptances by
p
i
>
dealers operating in this district
were larger during the period from
acceptances October * , to Novemba- .4 than
they have been at any time since August, 19XX. But
apart from sales to this bank, the demand was only fair.
Purchases within the district by dealers were the largest
reported since the inauguration of the present form of
reports, in February of last year. Rates for 90-day bills
remain unchanged at 4 ^ per cent. Data submitted by
the dealers are summarized below:
Sales in Third District
W eekly average for period

T o Federal
Reserve Bank T o others

Purchases
in Third.
District

1923:
October 11 to November 14 83,071,000 $286,000 $1 ,210,000
324,000
September 12 to October 10 2,520,000 281,000
424,000
August 16 to September 11. 1,549,000 311,000
271,000
July 12 to August 15........... 1,442,000 186,000
1922:
919,000
October 16 to November 12 1,483,000 284,000

A small gain in savings deposits during October is re­
ported by 79 banks in this district. The combined
figures in four cities out of twelve
Savings
reporting showed decreases. Data
deposits
by cities follow:

9M

T h ird

F ederal

R eserve

SAVINGS DEPOSITS
Third Federal Reserve District

D istrict
FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES

Noon cables
Number

of

Per cent increase or
decrease November 1
compared with

banks
Month ago

Altoona.............
Chester................
Harrisburg. . . .
Johnstown*.........
Lancaster.................................
Philadelphia.................................
Reading......................................
Scranton ...............................
Trenton......................................
Wilkes-Barre..............................
Williamsport..........................
Wilmington........................
1 ork....................................
Other cities.............................
Totals.................................

5
5
4
5
3
9
3
6
6
4
5
5
14
79*

*T w o reporting banks consolidated since last report.

Year ago

+ 1.3
+ .5
- .1
+ 1.6
+ .6
+ .2
- .4
+ .5
- 2.2
+ .1
- .2
+ .6
+ 1.7
- .7
+ -1

+ 13.2
+ 1 1 .6
+23.1
+ 13.0
+31.4
+ 7.8
+ 13.3
+ 16.7
+ 2.0
+23.9
+ 7.7
+ 9.9
+ 13.9
+ 16.6
+ 9.9

London ............
Paris................
Antwerp...........
Milan...............
Vienna.............
Amsterdam. . . .
Copenhagen. . .
Stockholm.......
Madrid............
Berne...............
Buenos Aires...
Shanghai..........

Par value

$4.8665
.1930
.1930
.1930
.2026
.4020
.2680
.2680
.1930
.1930
.9648
.7411

November 20
1923

$4.3353
.0538
.0461
.0434
.000014
.3766
.1719
.2642
.1308
.1739
.7042
.7145

October 20,
1923

N ovember 20
,
1922

$4.5104
$4.4903
.0590
.0720
.0510
.0675
.0450
.0468
.000014
.000014
.3909
.3932
.1747
.2019
.2631
.2678
.1342
.1530
.1787
.1860
.7316
.8217
.6973
.7145

During late October, sales of commercial paper to
Philadelphia banks increased considerablv, and purchases

Commercial

" 7 e? ? d
e,

a' least ° ne ,ary bank

which had not been a buyer of com” F
mercial paper for several years. Since
October the volume of business with Philadelphia banks
has been fairly well maintained, but country banks have
purchased less than they did last month, owing probably
to the lower rates now prevailing. Usually country
banks buy more freely when rates are above 5 per cent
than when they are lower.
The supply of paper is slightly larger than it was last
month, but some dealers still report a very short list of
names. A considerable number of the new offerings are
at 4 ^ per cent for the best names, but sales at less than
5 per cent are infrequent, and the majority of the trans­
actions are at the latter figure.- A fair amount of paper,
however, is still sold at 534 per cent.
Sales by six dealers in this district during October
amounted to $8,563,000, the largest volume since June.
This total compares with $6,805,000 in September and
$7,033,000 in October, 1911. Purchases by Philadelphia
banks totaled $4,441,500, and those by outside insti­
tutions, $4,110,500.
One small sale was made at 4J4 per cent, and of the
balance of the sales about 5 per cent were at 5 per cent,
over 65 per cent at 534 Per cent, about 15 per cent at 5)4
per cent, and about 1 per cent at 524 pcr cent.

More than the usual amount of activity has char­
acterized the movement of foreign exchanges during
Foreign
November. Political developments
during the past three weeks are said to
®
be largely responsible for the erratic
tendencies of most of the European currencies, and the
wide fluctuations in the values of several have caused new
low records for the year to be established. Since the first
of the month, sterling has declined from $4.4810 to a new
low level of $4.z816 for noon cables on November 17. Two
days later, upon receipt of the news that the threatened
break between England and France had been averted,
sterling made a sensational recovery to $4.36, but on
November zo declined again to $4.3475. Both French
and Belgian francs dropped during the month, the former
touching the lowest level for this year at $.0535. Lire
lost ground steadily but recovered somewhat after they
had reached a low record of $.0419 on November 17. All
so-called neutral currencies fell, and trading in these has
been active. Guilders were low at $.3731, and Spanish
pesetas declined consistently during the month to a low
record of $.12.88. Swiss francs are more stable than any
of the other European currencies, although they too
have declined somewhat. On November 17, all of the
Scandinavian exchanges were quoted at lower rates than
RETAIL TRADE
they have been at any time this year.
Sales at retail during November are running ahead of
Far Eastern currencies, not being directly affected by
the factors that govern European exchanges, are in a those of last November, and the gain promises to be as
more stable condition. Chinese tael (Shanghai) are large as it has been in recent months. As is usual at
stronger than they have been for six weeks and are now this season, sales of toys and of apparel both for men and
quoted at $.7101. Quotations for Japanese yen are fairly women are heavy. The demand for house furnishings of
steady and have declined but little since their recovery all kinds, including rugs, continues to be strong, and
after the earthquake. South American money has de­ with very few exceptions all merchandise is moving
preciated. Argentine pesos touched a new low point steadily to the consumer.
Price variations are slight, and retailers are buying
for the year, and both Chilean pesos and Brazilian milreis
very close to their immediate needs and are giving little
are lower than they have been for several months.
Canadian dollars failed to maintain the position they held attention to the higher quotations listed bv a number of
at this time last month and are now quoted at $.9788. manufacturers of cotton goods for the spring and summer




T he

B usiness

During the last two years, department store sales in the Third Federal Reserve
District have been at a higher rate, relative to the 1919 average,
than those in the United States as a whole.
Source— Federal Reserve Board

trade. Charge accounts are increasing considerably in
number, but collections continue to be good.
The accompanying chart illustrates the fact that retail
sales in this district compare favorably w ith those of the
country as a whole.
The table on page 9 shows that during October
sales in the Third Federal Reserve District were 15.z per
cent greater than in October, 192.2.. Sales by the Phila­
delphia department stores increased 16.z per cent, and
w ith the exception of stores in the smaller towns, which
are grouped under the heading “ all other cities,” the
gains throughout the district were satisfactory. Credit
houses, though recording an increase as compared w ith
last year, are not taking the lead as they did in 191a.
Our figures for October, 1911, showed that while retail
trade in the district was 4.7 per cent greater than in
October, 19x1, credit sales were Z9.3 per cent greater.
In this year, the gain in credit sales was only 6.7 per
cent, as compared w ith 15.Z per cent in retail sales.
Possibly fuller employment at higher wages has in­
creased the ability of purchasers to pay cash.

W H O LE SA LE TRADE
Business at wholesale during November, in all report­
ing lines except shoes, continues to be active, and w ill
probably be larger than was that of November, 19ZZ.
The average prices are much the same as they were a
month ago, the small advances and declines about off­
setting each other.
Sales in October were larger in all lines except drygoods than they were in September, and in drygoods the
decline was small and was caused by the fact that a few
firms reported large decreases. As compared w ith those
of October, 19ZZ, sales in all lines but shoes showed a
gain. The decrease in shoe sales is generally ascribed




R eview

D ecem ber

to the warm and clear weather which prevailed during
the month.
Collections during October varied considerably, as
appears in the table on page 10. In some lines they were
better than in the previous month and than a year ago,
but in others they were slower.
Preliminary estimates of the sales of shoes by whole­
salers during November indicate that the total w ill be
smaller than it was in November, 19ZZ.
Shoes
During recent weeks retailers have purchased
only sparingly, and therefore any improve­
ment in distribution by retailers should be quickly re­
flected in larger wholesale sales.
In the orders received for women’s shoes, blacks con­
tinue to predominate, and patent leather and suede
remain the most popular leathers. Satins and brocades
for evening wear are also in fair request. Men’s shoes,
in the medium and higher grades, and children’s shoes,
both boys’ and girls’ , are called for in fair volume. Holi­
day lines of romeos and felt slippers have sold well, and
orders for rubbers have shown a seasonal increase.
Wholesalers have purchased but little for spring, and
the lower prices at which some lines can now be bought
have failed to move them from their policy of caution.
Stocks, although not burdensome, are fairly large for so
late in the season, and renewed efforts are being made to
reduce them considerably before the inventory period.
During October, sales in this district, as reported to
the Federal Reserve Bank, increased q.z per cent over those
of September, but were 6.5 smaller than those in October,
19ZZ. Collections are still slow, as is shown by the ratio
of accounts outstanding to sales, which on October 31
was Z45.0. The ratio was Z57.3 on September 30 and
Z17.0 on October 31, 19ZZ.
Sales of drygoods have been on about the same level
in November as they were in October, seasonal conditions
being taken into consideration. ExDrygoods
cept for advances in the price of some
articles made of cotton, caused by
the higher price of the raw material, prices show little
change. The increases that have been made are small
and are difficult to obtain.
Blankets, sweaters, flannels, underwear, and hosiery
are in good request, and orders in nearly all cases are for
delivery within thirty days. Stocks in the hands of
wholesalers are declared to be heavy in the majority of
the reports received, only a few firms listing them as
light. Collections have changed but little, the great
majority of reports stating that they are fair.
Sales of drygoods at wholesale during October de­
creased 1.0 per cent as compared w ith those of September,
but were larger by 5.8 per cent than those of October,
19ZZ. The number of firms that reported heavier sales
than in September was, however, greater than those
reporting a decrease; but the individual gains reported
were in most cases small. The ratio of accounts out­
standing to sales was Z14.3 on October 31, as against

T hird

F ederal

R eserve

D istrict

9

RETAIL TRADE
Third Federal Reserve District
Comparison of net sales

Comparison of stocks

Hate of turnover*
Percent of orders
outstanding
July 1 to July 1 to Oct, 31, 1923, to
total purchases
Oct. 31 Oct, 31,
in 1922
1923
1922

October, 1923
with
October. 1922

July 1 to
Oct, 31, 1923
with
Julv 1 to
Oct. 31, 1922

Oct. 31, 1923
with
Oct. 31, 1922

Oct. 31, 1923
with
Sept. 30, 1923

+ 15.2%
+ 17.1 “

+ 11.7%
+ 1 2 .0 “

+ 13.8%
+ 1 2 .0 “

+ 2 .8 %
+ .6 “

3.0
3.5

3.0
3.3

All reporting firms......................................
Firms in—Philadelphia...............................
—Allentown, Bethlehem and Easto n ............................................
— Altoona..................................
— Chester.......................................
-—Harrisburg...............................
—Johnstown..........................
—Lancaster...........................
— Reading............................
—Scranton .........................
— Trenton............................
— Wilkes-Barre..............................
—Williamsport............................
—Wilmington..............................
— Y o rk ............................
—All other cities...........................

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

1 1 .0 “
14.0“
5 .8 “
13.8“
1 1 .0 “
6 .5 “
6.7“
16.2“
13.0“
13.2“
5.3“
8 .4 “
5 .5 “
2 .5 “

+ 7.5“
+ 16.6“
+ 2 1.8 “
+ 9.7“
+ 11.9“
+ 9 .3 “
+ 11.4“
+ 2 1 .5 “
+ 7.2“
+ 15.0“
+ 1 .6 “
+ 6 .1 “
+ 5 .2 “
+ 1 0 .1 “

+ 11.3“
+ 15.5“
+46.5 “
+ 19.3“
+ 19.7“
+ 12.7“
+ 15.5“
+ 3 4 .4 “
+ 16.2 “
+29.2 “
+ 18.1 “
+ 1 2 .0 “
+ 3 .8 “
+ 9 .5 “

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

6 .9 “
8 .4 “
5 .2 “
10.3“
6.4“
3 .4 “
7.1 “
4 .2 “
4 .9 “
9.0“
2 .4 “
6 .3 “
5.5“
5 .7 “

2.2
2.5
1.4
2 .1
2.7
2 .1
1.9
2.4
2.4
2.7
1.9
1.7
2.3
2 .1

2.3
24
1.5
2.3
2.9
2.2
1.9
2.6
2.6
2.9
2.4
1.8
2.2
2.2

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

+ 14.7“
+ 16.2“
+ 10.7“

+ 1 0 .8 “
+ 1 0 .8 “
+ 1 1 .0 “

+ 12.9“
+ 1 1 .2 “
+ 16.0“

+ 7 .0 “
.5 “
+ 2 .1 “

3.0
3.4
2.3

3.0
3.3
2.4

12.3 “
1 0 .2 “
17.7“

All apparel stores........................................
Men’s apparel stores....................................
—in Philadelphia.................................
—outside Philadelphia........................
Women’s apparel stores...............................
— in Philadelphia.................................
—outside Philadelphia........................

+ 2 0 .1 “
+ 7.6“
+ 5.4“
+ 10.5“
+25.0 “
+28.1 “
+ 12.7“

+ 17.8“
+ 8 .7 “
+ 3 .7 “
+ 14.5“
+20.9 “
+25.1 “
+ 5 .8 “

+ 17.4“
+ 16.7“
+23.0 “
+ 1 1 .8 “
+ 1 0 .0 “
+ 6 .4 “
+20.7 “

+ 8. 8 “
+ 6 .1 “
+ 7.7“
+ 4 .9 “
+ 16.9“
+ 19.3“
+ 10.9“

3.3
2.0
2.3
1.7
4.7
5.4
2.7

3.4
2.4
2.4
2.4
4.0
4.3
3.1

3.1 “
7.2“
7.2“
3.5 “
3 .4 “
3 .9 “

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

+ 6 .7 “

+ 14.8“

+24.1 “

+ 5 .9 “

2.5

2.7

5 .9 “

10.7%
8 .7 “

4 .5 “
6.9 “

* Times per year based on cumulative period.

in the previous month and 100.6 on October 31,1911.
The net sales 0/31 hardware firms in the Third Federal
Reserve District during October increased 18.1 per cent
over those for the month before and
Hardware
were 16.0 per cent greater than the
net sales in October of last year.
Our October sales index, compiled from the reports of
10 representative firms, and adjusted for seasonal vari­
ations, was 131, an increase of 11 points over that for
the month before, and of 16 points over the figure for
October, 1911.
Demand is from fair to good and is slightly better than
it was at this time last month. The call for holiday
goods and sporting accessories is one of the features of
the market at present, but sales of builders’ and plumbers’
hardware are also in good volume. M ill supplies and
mechanics’ tools are in fairly good request by factories
and mines. Prices in nearly all cases are higher than
they were at this time last vear. Some dealers state that
prices are unchanged, but in only one instance is any
reduction reported. Holiday and specialty goods in a
few cases are quoted at somewhat higher prices than they
i o o .o




were during October, but quotations as a whole are about
the same as they were then.
Stocks are from moderate to heavy but are smaller
than they were in October. Collections are in most
cases fair. A few firms report that they are good, but
three others describe them as poor. According to our
reports, the ratio of accounts outstanding to sales was
151.4 in October, as compared with 169.1 in September
and 155.1 in October, 192.1.
Wholesalers report that the demand for drugs is fairly
good and better than it was last month or in November,
1911. Proprietary medicines and pharD ru g S
maceutical chemicals are selling actively,
but toilet articles are not in as good request
as they were in October. The botanical drug market is
steady, and the demand is fair and well sustained. Fine
chemicals and prepared drugs, too, are in request, and
prices, though slightly lower than they were a month
ago, are advancing. The table below gives the price
indexes of 40 botanical drugs and 35 drugs and fine
chemicals, as compiled by the “ Oil, Paint and Drug
Reporter.”

IO

T he

Price index of 40
botanical drugs

B usiness

Price index of 35
drugs and fine
chemicals

1923

October 2 2 ........................
October 29........................
November 0 .....................
November 1 2 ...................
November 19...................

1922

1923

1922

123.8
123.8
123.9
123.6
123.5

116.0
117.5
117.3
117.2
117.0

204.9
201.7
2 0 1.0
203.8
203.1

167.1
167.1
167.1
168.3
171.8

Sales at wholesale in October were 11.4 per cent larger
than in September and iz .z per cent greater than those of
October, 19x1. Wholesalers’ stocks vary from moderate
to heavy and are about the same as they were last month.
Collections vary from fair to good. The ratio of ac­
counts outstanding to sales in October was 138.1, as
compared w ith 151.1 in September and 144.1 in October,
1911.
The demand for groceries is good, and wholesalers
report that sales are greater than they were in October.
Shipments of new pack canned goods
Groceries
and of dried fruits and vegetables are
still heavy, and holiday specialties,
such as nuts, raisins, mince meat, cranberries, etc., are
selling in large volume. Buckwheat and pancake flours,
syrups, molasses and other seasonable commodities,
too, are in good demand. In general, prices are firm, and
although some commodities, particularly evaporated
milk, cheese, macaroni, and dried peaches and apricots,
have declined, others have advanced, as rice, coffee, lard,
syrup and butter. Jobbers’ stocks are heavy and are
larger than they were in October, because of continued
heavy deliveries of new crop dried vegetables, fruits, and
canned goods and also large receipts of holiday and sea­
sonable commodities.
Sales by wholesale grocers during October exceeded
those of September by 10.4 per cent and were 17.0 per cent
greater than those of October, igzz. The ratio of ac­
counts outstanding to sales decreased from 109.1 in Sep­
tember to 104.0 in October.

R eview

D ecem ber

SUGAR
Although sales of raw sugar have been of only moder­
ate size, the limited offerings of sugar for prompt ship­
ment have steadied the market,
Raw Sugar
and prices have not fluctuated
greatly. Cuban raws, for prompt
shipment, at the close of October were selling at from
5 5-16 to 5^ cents, c. & f, equivalent to 7.09 and 7 . Z 8
cents, duty paid. In the first week of this month the
price fell to 5 1-8 cents, c. & f, equivalent to 6.91 cents,
duty paid. But since then prices have risen, and the
latest recorded sales for Cubas, prompt shipment, were
made at 5% cents, c. & f, or 7.53 cents, duty paid.
Because of the light offerings of Cuban sugars during
the month, eastern refiners have been active buyers of
Philippine and full-duty sugars at prices equivalent to
those paid for Cuban. The last remaining lot of the
19Z Z - 19Z 3 Santo Domingo crop was purchased by New
York refiners, and several sales of small lots of Peruvian
have been reported.
British refiners have shown more interest in American
sugars than they have for several months, and have
purchased some lots of South American sugars at prices
equivalent to those paid by American refiners. Their
Java supply was practically closed on November 1, and
as Europe is unable to offer much beet sugar for sale in
England, they must depend on South America and the
island of Mauritius until the new crop of Cuban sugar
arrives on the market.
The harvest of the 19Z 3- 19Z 4 Cuban crop w ill start
in December, when several centrales w ill begin grinding;
but not many cargoes w ill arrive in American ports until
the middle of January. The weather in Cuba has been
cool and clear for several weeks and favorable for the
ripening of the cane, but in many parts of the island the
cane has not yet reached normal growth, and in a few
sections there is need of rain.
Receipts at Cuban shipping ports are decreasing
weekly, and little sugar now remains at the mills. On
November 10, there were 73,133 tons at the ports and

W H OLESALE TRAD E
Third Federal Reserve District
Percentage of increase or decrease in

Number of
reporting
firms

Net sales
Oct., 1923, compared
with —
Sept., 1023

Boots and shoes........................................
.............
Drugs..................................
Drygoods...................................................
Groceries....................................................
Hardware...................................................




13
20
51
32

+
+
+
+

4.2%
12.4“
1 .0 “
10.4“
18.1 “

Oct., 1922

— 6.5%
+ 1 2 .2 “
+ 5.8“
+ 17.0“
+ 16.0“

Katio oi accounts
outstanding to
sales

Accounts outstanding
Oct., 1923, compared
with.—

Sept., 1923

+
+
+
+

-8 %
1 .2 “
6 .2 “
3 .0 “
5.9“

Oct., 1922

+
+
+
+
+

4.7%
9 .3 “
13.1 “
1 1 .2 “
13.9“

Oct., 1923

Sept., 1923

Oct., 1922

245.0%
138.2 “
214.3 “
104.0“
152.4“

257.3%
152.1 “
200.0 “
109.1 “
169.1 “

217.0%
144.2“
200.6 “
109 3 “
155.1 “

T hird

£ 9i i

F ederal

only 18,781 tons on the plantations. The total remaining
supply on the same ^late was 91,914 tons, as compared
w ith 177,798 tons on November 10, 1911. About one
half of the supply is said to be owned by American
refiners, and the remainder is in a few strong hands.
Stocks at Cuban ports are the lowest they have been in
many years at this date. The following chart shows
that the stocks on November 10, 1913, were only slightly
larger than those on December 1, 1919 and 1911, when
they were also very low.

CUBAN

SUGAR

R eserve

D istrict

ii

of the production of the chief growing areas for the two
crop years:
ESTIMATED SUGAR CROPS OF THE WORLD

(in long tons)
Cane sugar

1923-1924

1922-1923

United States and Insular Possessions...
Cuba..........................................................
Other West Indies, Central and South
America.................................................
India, Java, Formosa and Japan............
Australasia, Africa and Europe...............

1.457.000
3.700.000

1,339,548
3,602,910

1,944,500
5.120.000
865,000

1,844,936
5,125,675
912,561

Total cane............................................. 13,086,500 12,825,630
Beet sugar

United States............................................
Canada......................................................
Europe.......................................................

750,000
14,500
5,294,500

615,936
12,400
4,493,562

Total beet.............................................. 6,059,000 5,121,898
Total world production........................ 19,145,500. 17,947,528

Receipts of raw sugar at the ports of Philadelphia,
Baltimore, New York, and Boston for the first three
weeks of November were smaller than those for the same
period last year. The following data, compiled by the
“ American Sugar Bulletin,” show how receipts for the
same periods of both years compare.
RECEIPTS OF RAW SUGAR AT ATLANTIC PORTS
Stocks at Cuban ports on November io were very low, and at the close of
the crop year on November 30 will be reduced still further. The
1922-1923 figures are not complete, as they include only
figures from December 1 to November 10 and
the crop year closes on November 30

Source— American Sugar Bulletin

The harvest of sugar beets in the United States is now
virtually completed, and reports concerning the crop are
more favorable than they were a month ago. On
November i, Lionel L. Janes, beet sugar statistician,esti­
mated that the production in the United States would be
760,000 long tons instead of 755,000 as on October 1.
The beets are heavier than they have been for several
years, but the sugar content is rather low. In Colorado,
Wyoming, Montana, and Nebraska, the harvest was
greatly delayed by rain, snow, and frosts, but practically
the entire crop was pulled before serious injury occurred.
F. O. Licht, the German sugar statistician, estimates
that this year’s European beet sugar crop, including that
of Russia, w ill be 5,105,000 metric tons. Last year the
same authority estimated the European crop, exclusive
of that of Russia, at 4,450,000 metric tons.
W illett and Gray in their preliminary report for the
year 1913-192.4 estimate the total production for the
world at 19,145,500 tons, as compared w ith 17,947,52.8
tons in the year 192.2.-192.3. Should these figures prove
to be correct the 192.3-192.4 crop w ill be the largest ever
produced. The following are W illett and Gray estimates




Tons (2240 lbs.)

From
From
From
From

Novem ber 2 to
• Novem ber 23,
1923

N ovember 3 to
November 24,
1922

Cuba....................................
Porto R ico...........................
Philippine Islands...............
other countries....................

25,151

154,161
7,036
5,596
25

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

97,530

166,818

72,379

The demand for refined sugar, though not as heavy as
it was during the first three weeks of October, is fair,
•n
j
and buyers are pressing urgently for
early delivery. The market displays
SUgar
considerably more strength than it did
on the first of the month, and prices have stiffened. At
that time refiners were quoting fine granulated at from
8.60 to 8.70 cents per pound, but on November 9 prices
advanced to from 8.80 to 8.90 cents per pound at the
eastern refineries and are now firm at from 9.00 to 9.15
cents. Confectioners are buying moderately, and some
wholesale grocers whose stocks are low have recently
come into the market; but practically all orders are for
immediate delivery. However, the refiners have little
sugar in stock and they show no desire to sell except at
list price. Because of the favorable prices more beet
sugar has appeared in the Atlantic states than has come
in for several years. In the third week of this month a
carload of beet sugar arrived in Philadelphia.

T he

12.

B usiness

Numerous inquiries from foreign buyers are being
received for refined sugar from the new crop, but as the
prices they have offered to pay do not meet American
prices, practically no sales have been made, and as
refiners are reluctant to offer any sugar for the first
quarter of next year, little stimulation has been given to
the export market.
Meltings for the first three weeks of the month at the
refineries at Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, and
Boston amounted to 148,000 tons, as compared with
170,000 tons for the same period in 1911. This repre­
sents a decrease of 13 per cent.’

BUILDING
During October the value of building permits issued
by fourteen cities in the Third Federal Reserve District
reached a total of $15,443,618, an increase of $3,838,950
over that for the preceding month. The total number of
permits granted was 3,199, which exceeds the figure for
September by 551. The greatest increase occurred in
Philadelphia where the number of permits rose from
1,097 in September to 1,419 in October, representing a gain
of $3,863,150 in total value. Most of the other reporting
cities showed sizable gains excepting Atlantic City,
Camden, Harrisburg, and Wilmington. The value of
building operations in these four cities declined some­
what sharply and offset to some extent the gain made in
Philadelphia. The value of permits issued in October
was $1,637,333 greater than the figure for October of
last year. The following chart shows the trend in the
value of building permits for the Third Federal Reserve
District and for the city of Philadelphia from 1910 up
to the present time.
Following the seasonal slowing up in the building

Although the value of building permits in Philadelphia and the district has
declined considerably from the exceptionally high peak in the spring,
it will compare favorably with that of previous years.

Source— Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia




R eview

D ecem ber

trade, the demand for bricks has decreased since last
month. However, the present demand
Bricks
for all kinds of bricks seems to be
greater than it was at this time last year,
although reports received by us are conflicting on this
point. Builders are hastening to complete work before
the arrival of winter weather, and the orders taken are
for the most part for early delivery, or at least for de­
livery within 60 days. As would be expected, the ma­
jority of orders are for smaller quantities than they
were at this time last month. The call for fire bricks is
only fair, but although the market for these has been
weak for some time, some optimism is apparent regard­
ing later fall business.
Prices of building bricks in most cases are strong and
are the same as those prevailing at this time last month.
Some manufacturers, however, report that prices are
lower as a result of the slackened demand. Quotations
on fire bricks are weak and in one case were reduced 7
per cent from those of October 15. On November 13,
building bricks, delivered, in Philadelphia, were quoted
at $ ii per thousand.
Finished stocks in general are from moderate to light
and are beginning to increase, as they usually do at this
time, when preparations are begun for winter piling.
Supplies of raw materials also range from moderate to
light and at present are practically stationary.
The average rate of operation for 19 manufacturers
of fire, building, and paving bricks is about 83 per cent
of capacity, which is less than the average rate for last
month. A t the present rate of production, unfilled orders
w ill insure operation for from 10 days to 6 months, the
average being about 60 days. In some instances a scarcity
of both skilled and unskilled workers is reported, but in
most cases the supply is sufficient, and in a few is plenti­
ful.
Collections are from fair to good but are slower than
they were both at this time last month and during
November, 1911.
The demand for lumber was from fair to good during
the early part of November, but a seasonal slowing up
has been noticed since the middle of the
Lumber
month. There is less call for most grades
than there was at this time last month,
but according to some manufacturers, sales have been
better in November than they were during the same
month last year. Buyers as a rule are purchasing only
for immediate needs. Although several large contracts
have been awarded to firms on the West Coast by the
Japanese Government, these have affected the local
market but little. Hardwoods are in better request than
pine, and spruce, as usual, is selling well.
Quotations for hardwoods are fairly steady, but some
of the soft woods, particularly pine, are available in
many cases at the purchaser’s price. Quotations have
not greatly changed from those prevailing at this time
last month, but the tendency is toward lower prices, and

T hird

1Q2-3

F ederal

R eserve

D istrict

i^

BU ILDIN G P E R M IT S
Third Federal Reserve District
October, 1922

October, 1923

January to October, inclusive
1923

Permits

Operations

Estimated cost

Permits

Operations

Permits

91
Allentown..........
187
Altoona.............
287
Atlantic City*.. .
154
Camden.............
93
Harrisburg........
96
Lancaster..........
Philadelphia. . . . 1,429
Reading............. • 265
Scranton*..........
113
Trenton.............
187
105
Wilkes-Barre*...
97
Williamsport*...
100
Wilmington.......
95
York...................

126
194
287
188
135
96
1,972
269
113
245
105
102
100
95

$501,030
216,373
590,994
239,665
486,470
573,555
10,949,310
241,050
212,598
512,535
372,029
115,563
176,949
255,517

71
176
330
118
71
59
1.420
292
115
136
86
73
111
111

104
179
330
166
96
59
2,037
305
115
162
86
78
111
111

Total for October 3,299

4,027

$15,443,628

3,169

3,939

1922

Estimated cost

$269,373
919
1,652
174,965
750,746 2,299
437,828
1,088
818
160,075
294,495
815
9,876,025 12,646
354,925 2,757
1,293
293,643
582,615
1,578
287,599
1.015
927
108,505
127,091
1,008
1,312
88,410

Estimated cost

Permits

Estimated cost

$4,515,120
822
2,765,687
1,600
8,015,186
3,259
6,516,849
1,037
7,155,712
827
3,377,985
738
112,806,900 12,632
4,045,755
2,848
2,925,009
1,257
5,994,646
1,291
2,757,826
1 ,1 1 1
1,099,864
964
3,134,181
893
1,970,726
1,238

$3,075,163
2,307,744
7,397,152
3,810,372
3,531,770
2,511,515
95,496,450
4,335.376
4,298,059
3,918.211
3,444,550
1,476,609
2,531,741
1,106,829

$13,806,295 30,127 $167,081,446 30,517

$139,241,541

♦ D o not report operations

N EW BU ILD IN G S AND A LTER ATIO N S
1922

1923
New buildings

Permits

Allentown........
Altoona............
Camden...........
Harrisburg. . . .
Lancaster........
Philadelphia. . .
Reading...........
Trenton...........
Williamsport...
Wilmington....
York................

69
71
81
85
oo

816
90
158
48
83
51

Oper.

104
78
115
127
55
1,333
94
215
48
83
51

Est. cost

$491,630
177,143
197,005
478,695
553,290
10,346,455
147,300
490,165
107,856
157,103
189,430

Alterations

Permits

Oper.

22
116
73
8
41
613
175
29
49
17
44

22
116
73
8
41
639
175
30
54
17
44

some shading has been made in order to secure large
orders. Orders taken this month have been somewhat
smaller than those in October, and of the orders now on
the books, the majority are for delivery within 60 days.
Manufacturers reporting in this district are operating
at approximately the same rate as they were at this time
last month, and present orders in most cases will insure
operations for from 30 days to 4 months. Stocks of
finished goods at the mills are moderate and in some
cases light, as are also supplies of raw materials. Dealers
state that stocks of finished lumber in the yards are
moderate and increasing. The supply of both skilled
and unskilled workers, although inadequate in a few
instances, is in general sufficient.




New buildings

Est. cost

$9,400
39,230
42,650
7,775
20,265
602,855
93,750
22,370
7,707
19,846
66,087

Alterations

Permits

Oper.

Est. cost '

Permits

Oper.

Est. cost

50
51
65
60
39
792
82
116
47
87
45

82
54
112
80
39
1,397
95
141
52
87
45

$229,473
127,570
389,609
123,700
251,550
9,389,235
285,000
575,073
101,145
115,291
63,850

21
125
53
11
20
628
2 10
20
26
24
66

22
125
54
16
20
640
2 10
21
26
24
66

$39,900
47,395
48,219
36,375
42,945
486^790
69,925
7,542
7,360
11,800
24,560

Collections are from fair to good and are the same as
they were in October and during the corresponding
period of 1911.
The call for paints and varnishes has been from fair
to good during the past month and in most cases is re­
garded as entirely seasonable. As was
Paints
expected, the demand for nearly all
classes of paint was better than during
the month before. New building requirements and the
desire of contractors to complete operations are at
present the stimulating factors in the market, rather
than plans for redecorating and repairing, which in
many cases have been postponed.
Prices of both mixed paint and raw materials are in

i4

T he

B usiness

general strong, although keen competition among pro­
ducers of dry colors has resulted in some shading of
quotations. Excess production has caused a decline in
the price of black carbon, but quotations for lead pig­
ments are mostly the same as those listed in October.
Linseed oil is quoted at 88 cents per gallon, tank car
price, for December delivery, which is one cent below
the quotation prevailing at this time last month. Stocks
of both finished goods and raw materials are from
moderate to light, and in most cases are stationary,
although in a few instances supplies of finished goods are
beginning to increase, as is usual at this time of the year.
Reports vary as to the size of unfilled orders as com­
pared with those for last month, but the majority state
that they are unchanged. The greater number are for
delivery within 60 days, but many are for up to and be­
yond 90 days. Manufacturers reporting to us are oper­
ating at an average of 73 per cent of capacity, and un­
filled orders now on the books w ill insure the maintainance of this rate of production until January 1. Both
skilled and unskilled labor is sufficient and in a few
cases even plentiful.
Collections are fair, and though they have changed but
little since last month, are more prompt than they were
during the corresponding period of 19x1.
The demand for plumbing supplies has been fairly
good during the past month, but because of seasonal
conditions it has not been as heavy

Plumbing

as k was during Qctober

In_

S u p p lie s
stallations of heating equipment
have been carried on at an active rate incidental to the
closing of the season for this class of work, but the call
for general plumbing supplies has not been as good as it
was at this time last year. Building additions, alter­
ations, and delayed w ork are responsible for a fair vol­
ume of small orders, which, though they do not greatly
augment total sales, are profitable to the dealers.
The
total of unfilled orders is smaller than it was in October,
and of those now on the books, the majority are for
delivery within 60 days, although some are for up to and
beyond 90 days.
Prices are weak in most cases, and some reductions are
noted on soil pipe and fittings; but on a few other articles
quotations have slightly advanced.
Several manu­
facturers report that prevailing prices are being met with
resistance. Stocks of both finished goods and raw
materials are from moderate to light and in most cases
are decreasing. In a few instances, however, supplies of
finished goods are heavier than they were three months
ago. Manufacturers in this district are operating at
from 50 to 100 per cent of capacity, the average rate
being near 80 per cent, which is much the same as that
for last month. A t the present rate of production, un­
filled orders w ill insure operations for from 10 days to
5 months, the average being about 4 weeks. The supply
of both skilled and unskilled labor is in general sufficient,




R eview

D ecem ber

there being but few instances in which any scarcity of
skilled workers is reported.
Collections are fair and in some cases even good. They
are about the same as they were at this time last month,
but as compared w ith those of the corresponding period
of 192.x, they are slightly poorer.

REAL ESTATE
Real estate dealers and operators state that the demand
for houses and apartments is very good at present and
that of the two, houses are in greater request. There is
a shortage of private dwellings renting at from S3 5 to
$75 per month, and the supply of apartments renting at
these prices is not w holly adequate. Tfie large number
of apartment houses constructed during the late summer
and fall, however, has greatly increased the number
available at present, but rents for these are higher than
those for houses, and prospective tenants naturally turn
first to the dwelling market. Rents in general are about
the same as they were at this time last year, but in some
cases they have increased. Houses selling at from $6,coo
to $9,000 are in greatest request, and of these there is
likewise a shortage. Prices asked for both old and new
houses are somewhat higher than those prevailing at
this time last year. The price of building sites has not
materially advanced during the last quarter, but desir­
able locations are becoming more difficult to obtain,
especially within city limits. One real estate dealer ob­
serves that desirable industrial sites are scarce in the
vicinity of Philadelphia, and that in several instances
factories have been erected on ground considerablv re­
moved from railroad facilities.
Both operators and individual buyers are finding it
increasingly difficult to finance their building operations
and purchases. Many building associations have made
loans up to their legal capacity, and the mortgage
market is becoming stagnant. Some real estate dealers
are making loans up to 60 per cent of the appraised value
of the property, and first mortgages are taken on a basis
of not more than 50 per cent of the selling price. The
prevailing interest charged by dealers and brokers con­
tinues to be 6 per cent, and commission charges in this
district average about x per cent. It is reported that as a
result of the difficulty in securing funds, bonuses and
high commissions are being paid in some cases in order to
obtain financing accommodations. Trust companies
reporting in this district say that applications for assis­
tance in financing are much the same as they were during
the third quarter, and are about equally divided between
house and building construction. These companies are
taking mortgages on property both finished and under
construction for from 40 to 60 per cent of their own ap­
praisement. In some cases, valuations are based on actual
building costs; in others, they are founded on present
market prices. Trust companies are also charging 6 per
cent interest on mortgage loans, but are asking no com-

T hird

I 9H

F ederal

mission fees. Usually a very nominal fee is required to
defray the expenses of appraising and of recording titles.
As a rule, operative builders build only for sale, ex­
cepting of course apartment houses, but several cases
have been reported in which dwellings have been rented
temporarily until such time as an improvement in the
financing situation w ill enable the prospective pur­
chasers to secure mortgage accommodations.
The supply of building materials is in most cases
sufficient, and no difficulty is experienced in securing
them. The supply of labor, in general, is adequate.

R eserve

D istrict

15

3,12.5,512. gross tons in the month before. But the fact
that October was a month of 31 days reduced the average
daily output to 101,586 gross tons, which is the lowest
for the year. Production is being curtailed, as w ill be
seen in the accompanying chart, which depicts produc­
tion and stocks on hand by months, together w ith the
trend of prices since November, 1911.
PIG IRON

IR O N A N D STEEL
The past month has been marked by an encouraging
increase in the number of inquiries for tonnages of both
iron and steel. A distinct trend of forward buying
is noticeable and though the general purchasing policy
is still one of caution, many manufacturers are more
optimistic than they have been for some time past.
The demand for pig iron is better than it was last
month, but continued production and increasing stocks
have combined to make the market distinctly favorable
to the buyer. Orders have been slow in forthcoming, on
account of the weakness of prices. The feeling is preva­
lent among many producers in the steel industry that
heavy future buying is imminent, but the present demand
for most classes of steel is no better than it was at this
time last month, and in some cases not as good. Manu­
facturers of iron and steel castings report that the call for
their products has decreased since last month, and this is
also true of plates and structural shapes. Machinery and
tools are in fair request, and orders are being taken at
about the same rate as they were in October. Good
sales of light and heavy hardware have been made, most
of the deliveries being to jobbers and building con­
tractors. Locomotive manufacturers are taking sizable
quantities of iron bars, and crude steel is also in fair de­
mand. Automobile makers using sheet steel are placing
occasional orders, but the call for this product is only
moderate. The demand for miscellaneous materials is
fair, but is no better than it was in October. Rails and
railway materials were in good request on the first of the
month, and contracts for substantial tonnages have been
closed for 1914 delivery. For the seventh consecutive
month, unfilled orders of the United States Steel Cor­
poration have declined. The total for October was
4,672.,8x5 tons, as compared w ith 5,035,750 tons for
September, a reduction of 361,92.5 tons.
Production of steel ingots during October was main­
tained at very near the September level. The total out­
put of the entire country was estimated at 3,547,956 gross
tons, which, although greater than the figure for Sep­
tember, represents about the same daily average, when
the difference in the number of working days is taken into
consideration. During October, 3,149,158 gross tons
of pig iron were produced by all furnaces, as against




The production of pig iron has shown a downward trend since last M ay, but
stocks have been increasing since March. Figures for production
represent the total for the United States, but those for
stocks are obtained from only a fraction of the
producing firms. Hence production and stocks
for any one month are not comparable.

Sources— Iron Age and Department o f Commerce

The total number of furnaces in blast on November 1,
was 2.45, or ten less than were operating on the first of
October. In this district one furnace was blown out and
one blown in; consequently the total number of 34
furnaces now in operation is the same as it was last
month.
Corporation producers are operating at an average of
about 87 per cent of capacity and independent com­
panies at nearly 70 per cent. Manufacturers of iron and
steel in this district state that they are working at from
75 to 80 per cent of maximum output. Practically all of
the reporting firms say that they are having no difficulty
in making prompt deliveries. Stocks of finished goods
in most cases show little change from those held last
month. Stocks of pig iron, however, are increasing.
Skilled workers are more scarce than are unskilled, but
the supply of both, in most cases, is sufficient. On Octo­
ber 15 the total number of employes in 50 rolling mills
and steel plants was .5 per cent greater than it was on the
corresponding date in September, but in 76 foundries and
machine shops the total figure declined 5.4 per cent. In
the former case, the average wage increased 4.2. per cent;
and in spite of the decrease in the number of workers in
foundries and machine shops, the average wage was 1.9
per cent greater than on September 15.
There has been a slight reduction in prices of iron and

16

T he

B usiness

steel castings, iron bars, and plates and structural shapes,
but although quotations are weak on some other classes
of steel, prices are mostly unchanged from those quoted
at this time last month. A few advances in the price of
light rails and heavy steel scrap have offset reductions in
other lines, according to the Iron Age, whose composite
price for all steel products on November 13 stood at
z.775 cents per pound. This figure has remained con­
stant for the past 18 weeks. The average price of pig
iron on the same date, as computed by the above periodi­
cal, was $10.77 per ton, as compared with $11.96 per ton
on October 13. On November 10, Philadelphia iX pig
iron was quoted at $11.64 Per ton>representing a reduc­
tion of $1.11 from the price on October 13. During the
same period the price of number 1 Valley Furnace pig
iron declined $1.00 and was last quoted at $11.00 per
ton.
Collections are from fair to good, but are not quite as
satisfactory as they were during October.

COAL
The demand for domestic sizes of anthracite has been
good during the past month, and winter supplies have
been going into the individual bins
Anthracite
at the same heavy rate as they did in
October.
Considerable difficulty is
experienced, however, in disposing of steam sizes, and
an effort is being made to stimulate consumption of
these sizes by inducing domestic consumers to mix certain
grades w ith stove and egg coal. The poor demand for
steam coal is partly due to the use of bituminous as a
substitute, and increasing tonnages of buckwheat and
other steam grades are being stored by many companies.
Quotations for the domestic grades are unchanged,
but prices of steam sizes are lower than they were at this
time last month. Company stove coal is still quoted at
from $8.90 to $9.15 per ton, f. o. b. mines, but inde­
pendent prices on several grades of steam coal are from
15 to 75 cents less per ton, f. o. b. mines, than they were
on October 11.
The observance of three holidays since October 17 was
responsible for a decline in the production totals, which
in October had averaged over two million tons weekly.
During the week ending November 3, 1,373,000 tons
were produced which, when actual working time is taken
into account, indicates that the average rate of output
was very near that of the week before. The following
table shows the total output for the four weeks ending
November 17 and for the corresponding four weeks of
1911.
Week ending

1923

1922

October 20.................................
October 27.................................
November 3 ...............................
November 10.............................

2.045.000 tons
2.069.000 “
1.373.000 “
1.967.000 “

2.039.000 tons
1.836.000 “
1.872.000 “
1.897.000 “




R eview

D ecem ber

The mines are operated at a close to capacity schedule,
but as has been the case since the end of the strike,
reports state that there is some shortage of miners and
helpers.
The status of the bituminous market is not as favorable
as it was at this time last month, and the lack of demand
for all grades which has existed for
Bituminous
the past few months has caused some
pessimism among operators and dealers
in this district. Efforts to persuade consumers to pur­
chase more bituminous coal have met w ith little success.
The Geological Survey estimates that during the past
twelve months, users have purchased more than they
have consumed. If this is true, there is no immediate
likelihood of an increase in demand. Railroads have
already stored more than their average tonnages for
this time of year, consequently few of them are in the
market at present. The only bright spot in the situation
is the fair demand in the South and Middle West, and
one colliery in this district reports that wherever equip­
ment is available, coal is being screened into prepared
sizes and sent to those markets for household con­
sumption.
Several reductions in prices have occurred during the
month, and present quotations are far from stable. Some
operators say that prices bid are below the cost of pro­
duction, and that most of the coal now being delivered is
going forward under contract prices, which are from
$1.00 to $1.50 higher than spot quotations. On Novem­
ber 19 the spot price of Pool 10 coal was from $1.70 to
$1.00, f.o.b. mines, as against $1.85 to $1.15 on October 11.
Production declined somewhat during the first two
weeks in November, but this was largely on account of
the cessation of work on three holidays. For the week
ending November 3, the output was 10,547,000 tons, as
compared w ith 10,919,000 tons during the week ending
October 17. Notwithstanding the poor demand at the
present time, the rate of production is high, and the out­
put for the present year promises greatly to exceed the
average output for the six preceding years. Production
for the last four weeks and for the corresponding four
weeks of 1911 is estimated by the Geological Survey as
follows:
Week ending

1923

October 20................................. 10.694.000 tons
10.919.000 “
November 3 ............................... 10.547.000 “
November 10............................. 10.737.000 “

1922

10.378.000 tons
10.683.000 “
10.666.000 “
10,147,000 “

Stocks continue to increase, and although precise
figures are not available, the coal in storage throughout
the country is doubtless considerably in excess of the
56,000,000 tons estimated as the amount held at this
time last month. The chart on page 17 depicts the size of
stocks by months as compared with production. It w ill

T hird

192-1

BITUMINOUS

F ederal

R eserve

D istrict

i7

November 10 established a new low record for the present
year. In the preceding table, production figures are given
for each of the past six weeks and for the corresponding
weeks in 192.2..

COAL

C O TTO N

N b J F M A M J J A S O N b J F M A M J J A S O H b

1921

1 922

1923

Although production of bituminous has been at a fairly steady rate since
March, estimated commercial stocks have been steadily increasing.
Present supplies over the entire country are greater than
they have been at any time since April, 1922.

Sources— Department o f Commerce and Department of Interior

be seen that the supply now on hand is in excess of the
monthly rate of output.
Companies reporting to us are operating at from 33 ^
to 100 per cent of capacity, but the average rate is only
about 50 per cent, and some mines are operating but two
or three days a week. Under these conditions, labor in
practically all cases is sufficient, and in only one instance
is any scarcity reported. Collections are from fair to
good and are unchanged from those of last month.
The situation in the pig iron industry is reflected in the
poor demand for coke in this market, and as blast furnaces
are by far the largest consumers, no improveCoke ment is expected until conditions change de­
cidedly for the better. Most furnaces have
sufficient stocks on hand to last through the remainder
of the year, but not many sales have been made thus far
for more than first quarter requirements. For the fifth
consecutive week, prices of both foundry and furnace
grades have remained unchanged. On November 2.0 the
spot price of Connellsville foundry coke was $4.75 per
net ton, and furnace coke was quoted on the same date
at $3.75 per net ton.
The estimated production of beehive coke during the
four weeks ending October X7 totaled 1,158,000 net tons,
or 160,000 less than the output during the corresponding
four weeks in September. The production of only
2.56,000 net tons of beehive coke during the week ending
Week ending

1923

1922

October 6 ..................................
October 1 3 ...............................
October 2 0 ................................
October 2 7 ................................
November 3 .............................
November 1 0 ..........................

312.000 net tons
284.000
“ “
286.000
“ “
276.000
“
“
269.000
“ “
256.000
“ “

173.000 net tons
185.000
“ “
210.000
“ “
237.000
“ “
213.000
"
“
246.000
“ “

The most striking feature of the raw cotton market
during the past month has been the sharp increase in
prices. Spot cotton advanced from
Raw Cotton
31.00 cents per pound on October
14 to 35.90 cents per pound on N o­
vember x i, when quotations were 60 per cent higher
than on July 31, at which time they touched the lowest
point of the season. Factors affecting the supply of
cotton were largely responsible for the rise, although
demand factors were also important.
On November x the Department of Agriculture re­
duced its crop estimate from 11,015,000 bales to io ,x48,000 bales. Generally unfavorable weather, excessive
insect damage, and the heaviest abandonment of acreage
on record, were the principal causes of this decrease.
With a carry-over from last season of only x,087,919
bales and w ith domestic consumption and exports
totaling about eleven and a half million bales during the
season of 19XX-X3 and about twelve million bales during
19X1-XX, this reduction of 767,000 bales in the size of the
present crop is especially significant. Moreover, during
the past month several private estimates have placed the
crop at less than ten million bales, and its quality is re­
garded by many as being poor.
Reports of ginnings by the Department of Commerce
are also of a bullish nature. That total ginnings have
continued to run well below those of last year is indicated
by the accompanying chart, which shows ginnings to
November 14. Although in Texas X5 per cent more
cotton was ginned prior to November 14, 19x3, than up




Cotton ginnings prior to November 14, 1923, were 5.65 per cent smaller than
last year, but were somewhat larger than the 5 year average. Texas
ginnings are larger than any in the past five years.

Source— Department of Commerce

T he

i8

B usiness

to the same date last year, returns from “ all other states’ ’
were z i per cent smaller. Using the latest government
estimate of the total crop as a basis for 1913 , and the
final returns for previous years, we find that 8Z .5 per
cent of the cotton was ginned prior to November 14,
19Z 3, as compared w ith 91 . z per cent in 19Z Z , 91 . z per
cent in 19Z 1 , and 67. z per cent in 19Z 0. It must be
remembered, however, that the present crop in many
states is believed to be late.
As a result of the above factors, both speculative and
trade buying has been active, in spite of reports of cur­
tailment of operations, of resistance to prices, and of poor
business in cotton goods. Domestic consumption of
cotton during October, according to government figures,
was 541, 8Z 5 bales, as compared with 483, 85Z bales
during September, 19Z 3 , and 533,744 bales during October,
19Z Z . In the three months ending October 31 , this
vear, 1,517^81 bales were consumed by domestic mills,
in contrast with 1 , 554,137 bales in 19Z Z , while during
the same period exports totaled 1 , 715 , 57Z bales in 19Z 3
and only 1,439,86z bales last year. As reported by the
New York Cotton Exchange, total exports from August
1 to November Z 3 were 8.9 per cent greater in 19Z 3 than
in 19Z Z . However, total w orld’s takings of American
cotton to November Z 3, as indicated by the following
figures, were considerably smaller this year than last.
SUPPLY AND TAKINGS OF AMERICAN COTTON*

In bales

Season of
1923-1924

Season of
1922-1923

Season of
1921-1922

Visible supply, American, at end
of previous season (July 31) 869,968 1,968,159 4,112,651
Crop in sight, American, on
November 23......................... 6,173,988 6,678,651 5,376,261
T otal....................................... 7.043,956 8,646,810 9,488,912
Visible supply, American, on
November 23......................... 3,166,401 3,973,266 4,657,787
World’s takings of American to
November 23......................... 3,877,555 4,673,544 4,831,125
♦Figures com piled b y New York C otton Exchange.

In spite of the sharp advance in quotations on raw
cotton during the past month, the demand for cotton
yarns has shown but little improveCotton yarns
ment and is still rather quiet. Dealers
state that although inquiries were
more numerous, the volume of orders failed to show any
substantial change. Because of unsatisfactory business
in cotton goods and the fear that present quotations on
raw cotton cannot be maintained, manufacturers in
general hesitate to buy yarns in greater quantities than
are needed for current use. The desire to reduce in­
ventories at the end of the year has aggravated the situ­
ation. As a result, dealers report a decided lack of orders
for future shipment, and the bulk of the business on the
books is for spot delivery.
The dulness in cotton yarns seems to be general in all




R eview

D ecem ber

branches of the trade. However, the demand for carded
yarns is relatively stronger than that for combed. Mer­
cerized yarns are in poor request. It is reported by some
dealers that sales of weaving yarn to manufacturers of
towels have been made in fair quantities.
In consequence of higher prices on raw cotton, quo­
tations on cotton yarns have advanced notwithstanding
the poor demand, and are from 11 to 14 per cent higher
on carded and from 4 to 6 per cent higher on combed yarns
than they were during the latter part of October. But
price resistance on the part of buyers is marked, and some
dealers have continued to grant concessions. Owing to
poor business and the fact that dealers have moderate
stocks of yarn bought at lower prices, dealers’ quotations
have tended to lag behind spinners’, and increases by
both have not as a rule kept pace with advancing prices
of raw cotton.
Collections are but fair, dealers stating that some
manufacturers are slow in paying their accounts.
Lack of confidence on the part of buyers in the main­
tenance of prices on finished products is one of the most
disturbing factors in the cotton
Cotton goods
goods industry. Increases in quo­
tations on raw cotton and cotton
yarns were followed by advances in cotton fabrics. But
since distributors doubt their ability to merchandise
goods at the higher prices, these advances have en­
countered decided resistance. As a result quotations on
cotton goods have not kept pace with raw cotton prices.
This is indicated by the fact that although cloth prices
have again reached the level of last March, quotations
on raw cotton are about 15 per cent higher. Since Octo­
ber Z4 prices of raw cotton have increased 15.8 per cent,
but gray goods advanced only from 5 to 8 per cent,
and many finished goods have been sold at unchanged
prices. Moreover, a large manufacturer of ginghams
reduced quotations by two cents per yard.
These factors have resulted in a situation whereby
both the buyer and the seller have become very cautious
with regard to future business. Buyers have for the most
part kept their stocks as light as possible and bought
mainly for current needs, and many manufacturers have
refused to consider orders for future shipment except at
higher prices. Consequently, most of the business on
the books is for delivery within the next 60 days.
Although some producers of finished goods state that
at present prices, which many consider unsatisfactory,
cotton fabrics are selling freely, the majority find that
demand ranges only from poor to fair. The trend of de­
mand, moreover, is indefinite, since, as compared with
last month, almost as many firms report a decrease as an
increase. Seasonable goods such as flannels, flannelettes,
and towels for the holiday season, have sold fairly well,
orders being mainly for prompt shipment. Some manu­
facturers of towels, however, state that business is poor
and that competition from southern mills is severe. The
latter is also true of many other cotton goods, since, be-

T9M

T hird

F ederal

R eserve

D istrict

19

cause of lower operating costs, southern mills can under­
sell eastern producers. Manufacturers of drapery and
upholstery fabrics report that demand is fairly good,
having increased during the month. But competition is
keen, and some mills have cut prices.
Stocks of finished goods are in general moderately
light, though in a few cases they are heavy. Stocks of
yarn are moderate and are either stationary or decreasing.
Reports on production vary, some plants having in­
creased operations during the month, and others having
reduced them. However, the majority of manufacturers
have continued to operate from one half to three fourths
of their equipment, and some are running at or near
capacity. The supply of labor is in general sufficient.
Collections show little change since last month and
range from fair to good.

States have been reduced, as is shown by the table
below. Total stocks on September 30, 1913, were 54,547,536 pounds smaller than they were last year, having de­
clined 11.3 per cent since June 30, 1913. The latter was
mainly due to the decrease in manufacturers’ stocks,
which declined 16.5 percent, as compared with a shrink­
age of only 6.5 per cent in the stocks held by dealers.
During the third quarter of this year supplies of wool
held by dealers in Philadelphia were reduced by Z5.4 per
cent, and on September 30 were 5,051,6x3 pounds smaller
than they were last year.
Woolen and worsted yarns have continued in dull
request, and business is “ spotty.” Because of the poor
sales of men’s wear fabrics for
Woolen and
spring, and because the heavy
worsted yarns
weight season is still some
weeks distant, demand for weaving yarns for men’s fabrics
WOOL
is especially quiet. Moreover, sales of yarns for dress
During the past month the Philadelphia raw wool goods, which were of fair volume last month, have
market has been featured by larger sales, firmer prices, diminished. And although the call for yarns for Axj^a w
and a generally improved sentiment. Con- minster carpets is reported to be good, in most instances
tinued strength displayed at foreign wool woolen carpet yarns are in only fair request.
But the market has not been entirely without improve­
auctions, notwithstanding the poor de­
mand from this country, and decided improvement in ment. Spinners of knitting yarns, which have sold more
sales in the Boston market, in addition to broadening actively than weaving yarns, report that recently the de­
local business, have been largely responsible for the mand for French spun knitting yarns and yarns for bath­
better feeling. Although many spinners are still buving ing suits has increased. Not only are spot sales larger,
mainly for their current needs, as manifested by the fact but some future orders have been placed.
O f the busi­
that immediate deliveries are often specified, others are ness on the books, however, the majority is for delivery
showing more disposition to buy for the future. Medium within the next 60 days, and most manufacturers con­
and low grade wools have, in general, comprised the tinue to cover their immediate needs only. Still, a
greater part of the sales. But recently, more interest in number of spinners have secured sufficient business to
fine wools has also been shown, especially for Ohio fine enable them to run most of their equipment without ac­
delaines.
cumulating large stocks of finished goods. Prices, how ­
Dealers are now less inclined to grant concessions, and ever, are very unsatisfactory to the spinner, and decided
in some instances quotations have been advanced. The resistance to any advance is reported. As compared with
bulk of the consigned wool in this market is being held last month, quotations are for the most part unchanged.
for higher prices, and in this connection it must be re­ Collections are fair.
Demand for woolen and worsted goods has shown
membered that as compared w ith quotations in foreign
countries, domestic prices for raw wool are relatively some improvement during the past month but is not as
low. Evidence of this is to be seen in the small imports
Woolen and
“ ronS as “ was a/ ear
, ,
,
Many producers of women s
of foreign wools into this country and the re-exporting
worsted goods
fabricsF ha¥e continued to
of them.
report a fair volume of business, but the call for men’s
Consequently stocks of wool in and afloat to the United
W O OL STO C K S IN AND AFLOAT TO TH E UNITED STATES*
(in pounds)
Dealers
Manufacturers
Total

September 20 1923
June 30, 1923...............................
M a rch 31, 1923...........................
D ecem ber 31, 1922.....................
Septem ber 30, 1922.....................
June 30, 1922...............................

Boston

Philadelphia

216,864,338
232,032,947
174,150,542
177,715,894
206,303,157
181,203,498

126,048,294
147,555,952
119,682,792
117,552,127
127,517,286
108,167,907

23,503,276
31,537,599
25,341,283
23,203,634
28,554,899
24,039,626

67 312 768
52,939^396
29,126,467
36,960.133
50,230,972
48,995,965

♦Departments of Commerce and of Agriculture.




Total

180,395,847
215,989,803
235.787,655
250,767,717
245,504,564
225,081,781

397,260,185
448,022,750
409,938,197
428,483,611
451,807,721
406,285,279

All others

T he

2.0

B usiness

fabrics, except overcoatings, which in some instances
have sold well, is still unsatisfactory. Cassimeres are
in poor request. In the dress goods division, sport
fabrics and fancy goods have comprised the greater part
of the business, the demand for staples being rather quiet.
Satin twills and wool crepes in checks, stripes, and dis­
tinctive colorings have in some cases been in fair request,
although wool crepes are not as active as they were in
the previous season. The demand for camel’s hair fabrics
for women’s cloakings continues to be good, and manu­
facturers have booked a satisfactory amount of orders
for future delivery. But owing to the conservative policy
of buyers, most of the business in both men’s wear and
dress goods is for prompt shipment. Of the orders on
the books about three quarters are for delivery within
the next 60 days.
It is noteworthy, however, that the number of unfilled
orders is larger than it was last month, and that more
than half of the firms reporting to this bank have in­
creased operations and are running most of their equip­
ment. But some mills, especially those making men’s
wxar, are still operating on curtailed schedules. A t the
present rate of production unfilled orders w ill insure
operations for from two to three months. Stocks of
finished goods and raw materials in the hands of pro­
ducers are moderate, but the former are stationary, while
the latter are decreasing. Both skilled and unskilled
labor is in adequate supply.
Quotations, though weak, show little change since
last month. But considerable resistance to present
prices is reported, and in order to move stocks some con­
cessions have been granted. Collections range from poor
to fair and are not as prompt as they were a year ago.

SILK
. After quotations on raw silk had risen about 45 per
cent during the first half of September, they again weak­
ened and are now but slightly higher
Raw silk
than they were before the earthquake.
Both supply and demand factors have
been responsible for this decline. Poor business in silk
goods and in thrown silk caused manufacturers to buy
raw silk very sparingly, and in many cases plant oper­
ations were curtailed. Moreover, shipments of raw silk
from Japan and other countries have been larger than was
generally expected. Consequently no scarcity of raw
silk has developed, and notwithstanding lower prices,
the demand is still quiet.
The accompanying chart shows that imports of raw
silk into this country were somewhat larger during
October than during September; in fact, imports ex­
ceeded deliveries to mills by 5,3iz bales. As a result,
stocks in American warehouses increased and were
larger than at any time since March. Of the shipments
received during October, 17,049 bales were Japanese
silks.




R eview

D ecem ber

Alter a sharp decrease during the first half of 1923, stocks of raw silk in Ameri­
can warehouses have again increased. No scarcity of raw silk has
developed, owing to comparatively small deliveries to mills
and larger imports than were anticipated.

Source— Silk Association of America

Unsettled prices have been one of the most disturbing
elements in the silk goods business during the past few
months. In consequence of the sharp
Silk goods
increase in quotations on raw silk,
following the earthquake, many man­
ufacturers of silk fabrics, whose stocks of raw materials
were for the most part rather light, raised their prices on
finished goods. But demand for the latter was con­
siderably reduced, and buyers in general refused to place
orders in excess of their current needs. Since quotations
on raw silk- have again receded almost to the level of
September i, many producers have reduced prices on
silk fabrics. During the month decreases ranged from
■ 5 to 10 per cent. However, demand has not been stimu­
lated as yet, and owing to considerable resistance to
present prices, quotations are weak. In a quiet market,
crepes are in better request than other fabrics, and printed
crepes in conservative patterns are selling fairly well.
Notwithstanding the present slow demand, which is
in part due to seasonal factors, producers expect a good
spring business, and some manufacturers are operating
for stock. As a result, supplies of finished goods are
moderately heavy and are increasing. Stocks of raw
materials are moderately light and are either stationary
or decreasing. Operations in this district vary consider­
ably, but the majority of producers are running only
from 60 to 80 per cent of their equipment. Of twentytwo firms reporting to this bank, sixteen state that, as
compared w ith a month ago, operations are unchanged,
three that they have been curtailed, and three that they
have increased. Although the supply of labor is in
general sufficient, some scarcity of experienced help is
still reported.
Collections are fair and show little change since last
month.

1 9^

T hird

F ederal

Thrown silk, like silk fabrics, is in poor request, and
the majority of producers state that demand has de­
creased since last month and is
Thrown silk
smaller than it was a year ago. For
the most part, manufacturers of silk
goods have purchased only enough thrown silk to cover
their actual needs. Consequently most of the business
on the books of throwsters is for delivery within the
next 30 days. Rather than accumulate stock, however,
producers have curtailed operations and are running
only from 40 to 60 per cent of their equipment. Stocks
of finished goods and of raw silk are light and are de­
creasing. But in spite of curtailment, more than half of
the firms reporting to this bank state that skilled labor is
scarce.
In sympathy with declining quotations on raw silk,
prices of thrown silk have also been lowered, the re­
ductions in some instances ranging from 5 to xo per cent
during the past month; and because of considerable
resistance, quotations are still weak. With regard to
collections, statements are conflicting, some throwsters
reporting that they are slow and others that they are
fairly good.

H O SIE R Y
Hosiery manufacturers have been confronted with an­
other and a considerable change in the raw material
markets during the past month. This has in some cases
retarded business to no small extent, but in others it has
improved conditions.
Raw silk and hosiery tram, both of which advanced
sensationally during September and lost a considerable
part of that gain during October, have continued to fall
in price during November and have now almost reached
the levels at which they were quoted before the Japanese
disaster. Cotton and cotton yarns, including mercerized,
have on the contrary advanced sharply and are selling at
the highest prices of the season. Artificial silk, however,
has remained unchanged throughout this period of dis­
turbed quotations.
The result of these conditions is seen in a considerable
increase in the use of artificial silk, usually in combina­
tion with either pure silk or mercerized cotton, but in
some cases in hosiery made entirely of artificial silk.
Pure silk hosiery, however, is now in increasing demand
because of more satisfactory prices. The recent advance
in the price of cotton has seriously affected mills whose
principal output is cotton hosiery, and not only in this
district but in the large southern mills it is reported that
the amount of machinery that is idle has increased. The
advance in the quotations for low-end hosiery w ill make
it impossible to retail it at former prices, and this is a
serious obstacle to trade. If, for instance, hosiery that
has been retailing at 15 cents per pair must be increased
to, let us say, xo or X5 cents, the business in that trade
w ill come virtually to a standstill. Therefore, all such ad­
vances are being resisted by both wholesaler and retailer.




R eserve

D istrict

2.1

HOSIERY INDUSTRY
Third Federal Reserve District .
(In terms of dozens of pairs)

Oct., 1923
Oct., 1923
compared with compared w-ith
Sept., 1923
Oct., 1922

Firms selling to the wholesale trade:
Number of reporting firms—30
Product manufactured during month
Finished product on hand at end of
month............................................
Orders booked during month...........
Cancellations received during month
Shipments during month.................
Unfilled orders on hand at end of
month............................................

+19.4%

+ 11.3%

+ 6.7 “
—34.0 “
+ 3 .2 “
+ 1 .6 “

+ 2 7 .4 “
-4 3 .7 “
- 7.0“
+ 1.9“

+ 2 .6 “

-1 6 .8 “

+ 9 .9 “

+ 11.4“

— 5.5 “
-1 9 .6 “
-5 1 .3 “
+ 6 .8 “

+ 17.1 “
-4 2 .8 “
-3 6 .3 “
+ 2 2.0 “

-1 6 .7 “

-1 8 .6 “

Firms selling to the retail trade:
Number of reporting firms—9
Product manufactured during month
Finished product on hand at end of
month............................................
Orders booked during month...........
Cancellations received during month
Shipments during month.................
Unfilled orders on hand at end of
• month............................................

M ills selling to the wholesale trade have in a consider­
able number of cases booked orders for delivery up to
M ay, 19x4. These sales include hosiery of many kinds,
but men’s and women’s of silk and artificial silk com­
bined, and infants’ of mercerized cotton and of mer­
cerized cotton and artificial silk in combination, are
prominent in the sales for future delivery. Retail mills,
however, have sold very little merchandise for delivery
later than January.
The accompanying chart shows the monthly produc­
tion by certain seamless and full-fashioned mills in this
district since the beginning of 19x1. During that year a

Since the end of the strike in 1921, the production of full-fashioned hosiery has
been subject to less violent fluctuations than has seamless hosiery.
Source— Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

2.2.

T he

B usiness

strike in a number of the full-fashioned mills not only
curtailed production of that kind of hosiery but in­
creased the demand for seamless. Since 192.1 more
normal conditions have prevailed, and the seasonal
variations are more clearly marked.
According to the report of the Department of Com­
merce, production again decreased in September as com­
pared w ith the previous month, 7,72. mills producing
3,814,694 dozen pairs in September and 4,2.01,114 in
August. Shipments also fell from 6,645,888 in August to
6,477,511 in September, but orders booked increased from
3,574,411 to 5,057,467 during the same periods; and un­
filled orders were 8,351,988 dozen pairs on September 30,
as compared w ith 7,488,878 on August 31.
In the Third Federal Reserve District production in
October increased as compared w ith September and with
October, 1911, in both wholesale and retail mills, as is
shown in the table on page 11.
Collection reports vary greatly, some stating that they
are good, others fair. But an increasing number are to
the effect that collections have become slower and are
poor.

UNDERWEAR
The past month has been a quiet one with manufactur­
ers of underwear. Much of the business that was in
prospect has been rendered impossible of acceptance by
the manufacturer on account of the great increase in the
cost of cotton yarns and the refusal of buyers to pay a
proportionate advance for underwear. Some orders for
winter weights, for stock replacement, it is true, have
been booked, but in cases in which an advance in price
was paid the advance was only a slight one. Buyers
UNDERWEAR INDUSTRY
Third Federal Reserve District
(In terms of dozens)

Oct,, 1923
Oct., 1923
compared with compared with
Sept., 1923
Oct., 1922

Summer underwear
Number of reporting firms— 11
Product manufactured during month
Finished product on hand at end of
month...........................................
Orders booked during month...........
Cancellations received during month
Shipments during month.................
Unfilled orders on hand at end of
^ month.................................

+45.1%

+28.4%

+33.6 “
—38.0 "

-1 9 .9 “
- 5 .7"

- 2 6 .3 "

+ 3 8 .3 "

-

+ 4 1 .5 "

3 .5 "

Winter underwear
Number of reporting firms— 9
Product manufactured during month
Finished product on hand at end of
month...................................
Orders booked during month...........
Cancellations received during month
Shipments during month.................
Unfilled orders on hand at end of
month.......................................




+29.6%

+41.9%

+ 7 .7 "
+ 12.9“

- 2 6 .7 "
-1 8 .2 "

-

4 .2 “

+30.3 "

- 2 9 .2 "

+ 4 1 .7 "

R eview

D ecem ber

may later on change their attitude, but so far they have
looked upon the threatened shortage in the cotton crop
w ith equanimity.
In spring weights, many of the wholesalers bought
early in the season at prices which to-day must appear
very attractive, but the amount sold by them to retailers
is said to be comparatively small, and until a larger part
of their purchases is contracted for, the wholesalers w ill
probably take little interest in making further com­
mitments.
Only a very few plants in this district are operating at
capacity. Some are running at as low as 10 per cent and
others at as high as 90 per cent, the probable average
being about 65 per cent. Collections are the same as
they were a month ago and are either fair or good.
In the preceding table the reports of firms in the Third
Federal Reserve District are summarized.

FLOOR COVERINGS
The buying of carpets and rugs this season is very
different in character from that of recent seasons. Few
jobbers or retailers are placing orders for more than
sixty days’ requirements, and many are buying even
more closely than that . This hesitancy on the part of
buyers brings the carpet and rug industry in line with
many others, and w ill result in manufacturers being
compelled to carry stocks from which to fill orders for
prompt shipment. In fact, some buyers have plainlv
told manufacturers that in placing their orders they w ill
favor those who have the merchandise on hand and ready
to ship.
During the past month orders for most weaves, except
low grades such as art-squares and wool fibres, have been
in good volume. The demand for Wiltons has improved,
especially for worsteds; and manufacturers of Axminsters are kept busy filling orders, largely, however,
for the lower grades. The request for carpets is increas­
ing. Mills manufacturing tapestries report buying for
both prompt delivery and delivery in January, and are as
a rule running on full time; in fact, some are working
part of their machinery overtime. Velvets too, are
meeting with a fair market. In a word, now that prices
have been named for the next few months and raw
material markets keep so strong as to prevent any likeli­
hood of an early lowering of quotations, buyers appear
to be better satisfied with the situation. Some manu­
facturers, however, state that there is still resistance,
on the part of buyers, to their present quotations.
Manufacturers of linoleums and of felt-base goods are
producing and selling larger quantities than in anv
former year. The market for these goods is country
wide, and that new outlets have been found is manifest.
For felt-base lines an increasing export demand is
reported, and more manufacturers are entering this field.
As the future activity of the floor covering industry
is closely associated with that of building, some of the

1913

T hird

F ederal

large producers have made investigations into the build­
ing situation and report that the prospects are good for
a continuation of construction work in 19x4 on a large
scale. Collections in most lines of floor coverings are
said to be either fair or good, and some firms report that
they show an improvement over those of last month.

FURNITURE
Furniture manufacturers report that their products are
in fair demand and that business is better than it was at
the close of summer, but not so active as in November,
19Z Z . Retailers of furniture are buying for immediate
needs only, and few factories except those that have
contracts for furnishing large hotels and apartment
houses, have more than 30 days’ business on hand. Be­
cause of the completion of many houses that were erected
during the summer, the call for tables, chairs, bedroom
suits, dining-room suits, parlor suits, etc., is fairly good.
Producers of cheap furniture, however, state that the
demand is not as heavy as had been expected, and
makers of medium and high-priced furnishings are
busier than the manufacturers of cheaper grades. The
call for cabinets for the radio and phonograph industries
is good, and desks and office furniture are selling in fair
volume. In general, the present demand for furniture is
fairly good, but little business for future delivery has
been received. Reports to this bank show that the aver­
age of operations at factories in this district is 88 per­
cent of capacity.
Prices of furniture are firm and show little change from
those of a month ago. Quotations on raw materials also
are firm. Hardwoods, plate glass, glue, veneer, and
varnishes have remained practically stationary in price
during the past three months.
Stocks of furniture at most factories are moderate and
are remaining stationary, although a few manufacturers
are increasing them in anticipation of receiving large
orders for next spring. Supplies of raw materials, too,
are moderate.
Unskilled labor is in sufficient supply at all factories,
but skilled labor is scarce. Some employers are offering
slightly higher wages to secure cabinet makers and
other skilled workmen, but in general wages are un­
changed. Collections are reported as being fair and show
no change since October.

LEATHER
Packers have disposed of a fair number of hides during
the past month, but prices continue to decline in all
descriptions in which the tradHideS and skins
ing has reached good propor­
tions. Quotations on cow-hides
are particularly weak: branded hides fell
cents to
8 cents; heavy native ip2 cents to ii.}^ cents; and light
native z % cents to 9l cents. Heavy native steer hides
A




R eserve

D istrict

3
d

were not active, but are offered at 1 4 ^ cents, a decline
of a half cent. Buyers, however, are holding back.
Texas steer hides declined
cents in both heavies and
lights. Country hide markets are thoroughly demoral­
ized, and prices have declined sharply during the month,
heavy steers being lower by from z to 3 cents and heavv
cows by
cents. As prices of these a month ago ranged
from 11 cents down, the recent losses are severe.
American hides have now reached a price level at
which some European buyers are becoming interested,
although no large transactions are reported.
Calf skins have held fairly firm, packer skins and
Chicago cities having sold at a decline of a half cent.
Goat skins are lower in price than they were a month
ago; the Calcutta market has dropped quite sharply,
and other leading centers report weakness. Tanners’
purchases have been confined largely to cheap spot lots
suitable for trimming, and all such offerings are said to
have been purchased. Only a few tanners are showing an
interest in imports, many of them being content to let
the market take its course and buying only when sales
of kid justify it. Sheep skins from foreign countries are
lower in price than they were earlier in the season by
about 10 per cent, but the latest quotations indicate
that the market is hardening. Prices of domestic sheep
skins, however, have not receded from the higher level
reached last spring.
The leather markets continue to be dull, w ith prices
favoring the buyer. Shoe manufacturers are purchasing
only for their immediate needs, and as
Leather
these are said to be less than they were a
month ago, the total volume of shoe leather
sold is probably smaller than it was then. The curtail­
ment in the production of heavy leathers which was
inaugurated by the tanners last spring shows clearly in
the following table, but that sales during September de­
creased even faster than production is evidenced by the
increase in stocks.
September, 1923, as compared with
August, 1923
R a elrs, b e n d s a n d s i d e s ......................................

Production Stock at end
during month
of month
-1 7 .9
-1 3 .6
-1 1 .3

+ .6
+ 1 .7
+ .9

Belt makers state that although buying is entirely for
early shipment, the volume of business is good. Prices
are fairly well maintained, but an increased number of
reports show that quotations are being shaded by some
belt makers. But this is to be expected, as butts have
declined in price considerably in recent months. In
upper leathers too, with the exception of cattle side,
production had begun to decrease in September, as is
shown in the following table, and later reports indicate
that further curtailment has since been accomplished.
Stocks also decreased.

T he

M

September, 1923, as com pared with
August, 1923

B usiness

Production Stock at end
during month
of month

Cattle side, upper.....................................
+ 2.8
Calf and kip..............................................
- 2.7
Goat and k id ............................................. j —12.7* |
Cabretta....................................................

-1 .3
-3 .3
-1 .4
-3 .8

♦Production figures not separated.

In calf leathers, suede is still selling in fair volume, al­
though the demand is much weaker than it was in early
autumn. Calf grain leathers in black, in both heavy and
light weights, are being bought by some manufacturers,
but browns are in slackening request. For the tops of
children’s shoes considerable white calf leather is being
called for. Kid leathers in black in the low grades con­
tinue in good demand, but total sales of this leather are
disappointingly small, and some reported larger pur­
chases lack confirmation. Sheep leathers are in fair re­
quest for trimming, lining, hat bands, and chamois, but
the demand from glove manufacturers has decreased.
Manufacturers of shoes for women are receiving from
week to week only a fair volume of orders, practically
all of which call for delivery as soon as possiShoes
ble. No forward business of moment has
been booked. Some reports of shading of
prices have been received, but the reductions are slight
and are made only by manufacturers who are anxious to
keep their plants working until spring business begins.
On December i the new wage scales go into effect in
most Philadelphia factories, and in nearly all cases the
cost of making shoes w ill be somewhat increased. The
materials being used for present orders are patent leather,
suede, grain calf, and for evening wear, satin and
brocades.
In factories making children’s shoes a considerable
spring business has been received, and some are booked
to capacity up to the end of April. Prices for these
shoes are generally unchanged. Shoes w ith patent
leather vamps and white or colored tops are popular,
and grain calf is also largely used. Staple lines of foot­
wear, such as are made by the larger producing com­
panies, are reported to be in increased demand, which is
probably due, in part at least, to certain reductions in
price.
BOOT AND SHOE INDUSTRY
Third Federal Reserve District
Number of reporting firms— 31
(In terms of pairs)

Product manufactured during month. .
Shipments during month.....................
Orders booked during month..............
Orders on hand at end of month.........
Cancellations received during month. .
Stocks (unsold) on hand at end of
month.................................................




Oct., 1923
Oct., 1923
compared with compared with
Oct., 1922
Sept., 1923

+ 9.6%
- 1.7“
+75.8 “
+ 16.6“
+37.6 “

+ 7.3% '
- 3 .3 “
-2 9 .5 “
+ 1 .6 “
-6 0 .8 “

+ 3 9 .8 “

+ 3 5 .4 “

R eview

D ecem ber

As indicated by us last month, production of shoes in
this country during September decreased as compared
with that of last September. This is the first month in
this year which did not run ahead of 1922. The Sep­
tember production figures are 17,471,695 pairs in 192.3,
and 2.8,188,169 in 1911. This total decrease of 817,000
pairs was more than exceeded by the decrease in leather
shoes, which was 1,087,000 pairs. The classes described
as “ canvas, satin and other fabric’ ’ and “ all others
(slippers and miscellaneous)’ ’ both show considerable
increases. Even so, however, production for nine
months of 1913 is more than 35,000,000 pairs greater than
that of the same period in 1911, and is only 53,000,000
pairs less than the total for the calendar year 1911.
RETAIL SHOE TRADE
Third Federal Reserve District

(In terms of dollars)
1. Net sales:

(a) Oct., 1923, as compared with Sept., 1923......
(b) Oct., 1923, as compared with Oct., 1922.......
(c) July 1 to Oct. 31, 1923, as compared with
July 1 to Oct. 31, 1922.............................

+29.8%
+ 8.8 “
+ 5.1 “

2. Stocks (selling price):

(a) Oct., 1923, as compared with Sept., 1923......
(b) Oct., 1923, as compared with Oct., 1922.......

+ 3 .4 %
+11.0 “

3. Rate of turnover (times per year based on cu­
mulative period):

(a) July 1 to Oct. 31, 1923....................................
(b) July 1 to Oct. 31, 1922.....................................
Number of stores reporting above items:
1........................ 12
2 ....................... 10

2.6%
2.9 “

3 ......................... 9

Collection reports vary greatly. Some firms say that
they are good, and more that they are fair; but the
number reporting them as slow has increased consider­
ably. In the Third Federal Reserve District the produc­
tion of shoes by reporting firms during October, as
shown in the preceding table, was 7.3 per cent greater
than that of October, 1922. Orders at hand on October
31 were 1.6 per cent larger than at the same period a
year ago.
At wholesale shoes have sold but poorly, according to
preliminary reports for November.
Distribution by
retailers is said to be below expectation, and stocks have
to be reduced before the retailer is w illing to make
further commitments. From the table on page 10 it
w ill be seen that sales in October were larger by 4.2
per cent than in September, but that as compared with
October, 1922, sales decreased 6.5 per cent.
Better sales of shoes at retail during the latter part of
October brought the total for the month above that of
October, 1922. During November, however, business
in the stores is said to have been very spotty, and it is
impossible to estimate how the total w ill compare with
that of a year ago. But the large number of advertised
sales may bring the hoped for increase.

T h ir d

i2 ii

F e d e r a l

The preceding table shows that sales by reporting
firms in October were z^.8 per cent greater than those of
September, and 8.8 per cent larger than in October, 192.1.
Stocks continue to be somewhat heavier than they were
a year ago.

RUBBER
As the United States consumes about three quarters of
the rubber used in the world and as the manufacture of
tires accounts for about 80 per cent
Crude rubber of domestic consumption, the for­
tunes of the crude rubber industry are
linked more or less closely w ith those of the tire industry.
M ainly because of the heavy production of rubber tires
during the first five months of 192.3, consumption of crude
rubber in this country during that period was large. Im­
ports of crude rubber, too, were of record proportions.
But disappointing sales in tires caused a sharp curtail­
ment of operations in the factories during June, and as a
result, the demand for crude rubber was reduced.
Consequently, since imports continued heavy until
July, stocks of crude rubber in this country increased.
But during July, imports declined sharply, as is shown by
the table below. Total imports during the first six
months of the year were 39.1 per cent greater than in the
same period of 192.1, but during the third quarter im­
ports were 17.1 per cent smaller than last year. Since
prices are much higher this year than last, however, the
total value of imports during the third quarter was con­
siderably greater in 1913 than in 1911.
As a result of curtailed imports, supplies of crude
rubber in the United States have again decreased and
according to the Rubber Association of America, were
85,658 tons on September 30, in contrast w ith 100,885
tons on June 30. London stocks which increased from
47,600 tons on August 17 to 60,405 tons on November
11, chiefly because of smaller takings from this country,
began to decline during the past month and on November
19 were 59,958 tons. Moreover, factory buying of crude
rubber is reported to have improved and during October
imports increased 51.4 percent over those of the preced­
ing month.

R e s e r v e

D istr ict

11

Therefore, prices of crude rubber which had declined
to 16M cents per pound for first latex crepe during October,
have again strengthened and on November 1 1 that
grade was quoted at i8J^ cents. The average London
price for the three months of August, September, and
October was not sufficiently high to permit the release,
after November 1, of 65 per cent of the “ standard” pro­
duction in Ceylon and Malaya, and consequently only
60 per cent w ill be released until the end of January, as
was the case in the previous quarter.
Price revisions have continued to cause unsettled
conditions in the rubber tire business. Following the
reduction of quotations on 30 x 3y2
Rubber tires
inch tires during September, an­
other change was made during Octo­
ber by which prices of large size tires were reduced and

Stocks of pneumatic casings, which because of a decline in shipments during
the spring became exceptionally heavy in M ay and June, have since been
reduced by curtailment of operations and increased shipments.

Source— Rubber Association o f America

quotations on the small size were increased. Moreover,
the trade discount for cash was decreased from 5 to 2
per cent, and it was announced that consumers’ price
lists would be abolished. Although raw materials and

IM PORTS OF CRUDE RUBBER INTO THE UNITED STATES*
1922

1923

1921

1920

M onth
Quantity
(in pounds)

October...............................
September...........................
August................................
July......................... v .........
.
June.....................................
M ay....................................
April....................................
March.................................
February.............................
January...............................
♦Department of Commerce.




Value
(in dollars)

39,473,412
25,902,645
42,741,430
44,634,798
79,188,711
80,107,447
69,580.014
69,280j706
60,379,290
79,763,620

$7,345,347
6,509,319
11,612,618
13,008,840
23,941,937
24,953,222
21,925,814
19,041,565
13,150,823
14,310,825

Quantity
(in pounds)

Value
(in dollars)

74,315,183 $10,189,101
44,344,862
6,202,136
54,332,275
7,884,512
56,854,758
8,259,754
50,952,024
7,422,114
35.725.240
5,427,605
43,407,359
7,272,098
64,215,222 10,999,040
66.744.240 10,827,106
8,110,912
54,010,946

Quantity
(in pounds)

Value
(in dollars)

Quantity
(in pounds)

Value
(in dollars)

47,642,303
34,546,411
33,103,804
27,647,874
34,624,748
23,890,838
26,087,408
28,508,995
21,933,165
26,911,753

$6,694,418
4,750,534
4,938,038
4,214,459
5,831,817
4,051,921
5,505,177
8,683,368
6,885,677
7,922,433

20,516,090
27,883,748
44,047,264
45,454,437
43,538,723
44,099,902
63,629,269
82,477,607
71,354,904
66,427,415

$7,518,880
10,957,854
20,097,267
19,982,559
19,961,307
19,788,550
29,489,666
37,383,161
30,646,535
27,967,228

T he

2.6

B usiness

labor costs are comparatively high, tires are selling at
about the lowest prices in the history of the country.
These reductions have been largely due to overpro­
duction of tires, as is seen in the preceding chart.
During the first six months of 192.3, the production of
pneumatic casings exceeded shipments by 18.8 per cent.
As a result, stocks in the hands of manufacturers in­
creased from 4,599^08 on December 31, iyzz, to 7,040,600
on June 30, 192.3. On that date they were larger than at
any time in the past three years. But they have been re­
duced somewhat bv curtailment of operations, and since
June shipments of pneumatic casings have exceeded
production.
As dealers have begun to place orders for tires under
the spring dating plan, the demand has improved during
the past month, and some producers state that business
is fairly active, though at unsatisfactory prices. De­
liveries on these orders w ill begin immediately or in the
near future, but payment w ill not be made until spring.
In consequence of the better demand, production has
in some instances been increased, but it is still com­
paratively small. Collections are fair.
Mainly because of lessened activity in many in­
dustries, the demand for mechanical and hard rubber
Mprhaniral

g°ods>which waS good in August’
has since diminished, and sales in
rubber goods a num^er Qf cases are reported to
be from 10 to 15 per cent smaller. However, owing to
large sales during the greater part of 192.3, total sales of
mechanical goods during the current year are in most
instances considerably in excess of those of last year, and
although consumers are buying more conservatively,
demand is still fair. During the past month, spring dat­
ing orders have begun to come in, and consequently
some manufacturers report that demand has increased.
Municipalities have recently placed large orders for fire
hose, and a few producers state that railroads are buying
quantities of steam hose and other goods for winter use.
Of the business on the books, the majority is for delivery
within the next 60 days.
Factories making mechanical and hard rubber goods
are in general operating about three-fourths of their
equipment, although some are running at total capacity
and a few are working overtime. Labor has been in
sufficient supply. Wages are for the most part unchanged,
but in isolated cases they have been somewhat reduced.
In view of the fluctuation of quotations on raw cotton
and rubber and the uncertain trend of demand, manu­
facturers are covering their future needs very cautiously,
and as a result, supplies of raw materials are reported to
be moderately light.
.

In spite of the sharp advance in quotations on cotton
fabrics, prices of mechanical rubber goods have not been
changed. But because of the keen competition for busi­
ness, some underbidding is reported, especially when the
size of the order is large. Collections are fairly good.




R eview

D ecem ber

PAPER
The paper industry, in general, is in about the same
condition as it was in October, but is not as active as in
November, 192.1. Some grades of paper are in better
demand than they were last month, but other grades are
in poorer request. Fine papers, particularly bond and
writing papers, are more active than they were a month
ago, but book papers show little improvement, and
mills making these are operating at about 80 per cent of
capacity. Buying for the holiday needs has stimulated
the wrapping and kraft paper markets, and consequently
sales exceed those of last month. But mills’ stocks have
been reduced only slightly. Manufacturers of tissues,
toilet papers, and crepe towels report that business is
exceptionally dull for this season of the year and that
production at their mills has declined to 50 per cent of
capacity. Manila papers and card boards are selling
well, and manufacturers of these are operating at close to
capacity. Envelopes are in fairly good demand, and
most factories are running at 85 per cent. The call for
box boards is not as heavy as it was a month ago and
the manufacturers report that business during September,
October, and November has been much smaller than it
was in the same months of 192JL. Practically all orders
are for prompt shipment, and few mills have enough
business on hand to insure their present rate of pro­
duction for more than two weeks. Jobbers state that
their sales are satisfactory and that fine, book, and
wrapping papers are selling well. However, the un­
certainty as to prices has caused consumers to buy more
closely than at any time this year, and practically no
orders for future delivery, except on newsprint papers,
are being received.
Paper prices display considerable weakness. News­
print and fine papers are the only grades that are hold-

T hird

12k 1

F ederal

ing firm. Some concessions to large buyers are being
offered in the book grades, and coarse paper prices,
particularly on heavy wrapping and kraft papers, are
weak, because of heavy imports from Scandinavian
countries. Nearly all grades of paper board are from 6 to
io per cent cheaper than they were a month ago, and to
large buyers concessions are offered on even these lower
quotations. Mechanical pulp and all grades of chemical
pulp, except kraft, are firm in price. Kraft pulp quo­
tations are rather weak, and concessions in price are
being offered.
The chart on page z6 of paper pulp prices shows how
well prices have been sustained. Mechanical and sul­
phite pulps are higher than they were at any time last
year, likewise kraft pulp; but the latter is cheaper than
it was in February. Soda pulp is slightly lower than it
was during last fall and the past winter.
Finished stocks at the mills vary from light to moder­
ate and are remaining stationary. Supplies of raw
materials are moderate. The supply of both skilled and
unskilled labor is sufficient at the majority of mills, and
wages are unchanged. Collections vary from fair to
good and are much the same as they were a month ago.

PAPER BOXES
Chipboard and newsboard boxes are in good request,
but the demand for corrugated boxes and for fibre ship­
ping containers is poor. In general, the paper box in­
dustry is not so active as it was in November, 19Z Z .
Orders for boxes for the holiday trade are still large, but
little new business of this class has appeared during the
month, because the holiday season is almost over. The
candy, building hardware, electrical supply, foodstuffs,
shirt, and hosiery industries are at present the heaviest
buyers. Manufacturers of perfumes and patent medi­
cines are also placing big orders, but makers of under­
wear, shoes, and clothing are buying but lightly. Chip
and newsboard box factories in this district are operating
at about 85 per cent of capacity, and all orders are for
delivery within 60 days. Manufacturers of corrugated
boxes and of heavy shipping containers report that not
only is the immediate demand light, but that the number
of inquiries being received concerning new business is
small. The amount of business on their books is con­
siderably less than it was a month ago, and nearly all
factories are running on a hand to mouth basis. Few
manufacturers have more orders in hand than they can
fill in a week at the present rate of production, which
averages about 65 per cent of capacity.
Paper box prices display considerable weakness, and
competition, particularly in corrugated boxes and heavy
containers, is severe. Nearly all grades of paper board
are lower in price than they were in the middle of October,
and concessions are freely offered to big buyers. Chip­
board and newsboard, in the Philadelphia market, have
declined to $50 per ton, a drop of $5 from the quota­
tions of a month ago.




R eserve

D istrict

2-7

Stocks of finished boxes at the majority of factories
are light, because of heavy deliveries on holiday orders
during the month; and stocks of raw materials are mod­
erate. A t many chip and newsboard box factories the
supply of both skilled and unskilled girl workers is short,
but at the other paper box plants the labor supply is ade­
quate. Wages, on the whole, show little change. Col­
lections are fair and the same as they were a month ago.

CIGARS A N D CIGARETTES
The demand for cigars and cigarettes is good and is
greater than it was in October. Large manufacturers of
nationally advertised cigars report their heaviest sales of
the year, and several state that sales are larger than they
were in November, 19Z Z . The smaller manufacturers,
too, find business better than it was last month, but very
few report that their orders exceed those of a year ago.
The majority of holiday orders have been filled; only
orders to nearby distributors and for local needs are yet
to be shipped. Class C cigars continue to be the best
sellers; but B and D grades are also moving actively.
The five-cent cigar is selling well, but it is not in as great
demand as it was in November of last year.
Production in the cigar factories of this district varies
from 75 to 100 per ~ent of capacity, the large manufac­
turers operating at about 90 per cent and the smaller at
about 80 per cent. The majority of orders are for de­
livery before Christmas. American cigarettes are in
heavy demand, and the factories making these are
operating at close to capacity.. Turkish cigarettes are in
fair request and are selling better than they did last
month or in November, 19Z Z , and consequently
factory operations have been increased to 75 per cent.
The production of large cigars and cigarettes in
October was greater than in October, 19Z Z . The fol­
lowing chart, based upon sales of internal revenue

The total production of large cigars and of small cigarettes in October
was larger than in October, 1922

z8

T he

B usiness

R eview

D ecem ber

stamps, shows how the output compares w ith that of
last October.
Prices of cigars and cigarettes, in general, are firm and
unchanged. Tobacco prices are higher than those pre­
vailing in November, 19X X , but they show little change
since last month. The prices for 19x 3 Connecticut shadegrown tobacco have been announced by the packers and are
practically the same as those paid for the 19x1 packings.
Stocks of cigars at the factories are moderate and are
decreasing, and supplies of raw materials are also mod­
erate. The supply of both skilled and unskilled labor is
sufficient at most factories, although some scarcity of girl
workers still exists. Wages are unchanged. Collections
range from fair to good and show little variation since
October.

AGRICULTURE
The weather during the month has been favorable for
the development of the winter crops. The stand of
winter wheat is fair and much better than it was at this
time last year. Owing to the late planting in many parts
of the district the crop is not as high above the ground
as it should be, but germination is heavy. The stand of
cover crops is excellent, and pastures too are in good
condition. The acreage planted to winter wheat is un­
doubtedly smaller than it was last fall, but no actual
data on acreage w ill be available until next month. In
some parts of the district the amount of fall plowing
that has been completed is equal to that of a year ago,
though in other counties, on account of the severe
shortage of labor, it is much smaller and is below normal.
Harvesting is now virtually over. Late potatoes and
pears and apples have been harvested, and about 80 per
cent of the corn has been husked. This fall has witnessed
a revival of the old fashioned husking bees, in which
many farmers pool their labor and help each other
harvest. Corn huskers are scarce, and the wages they
demand are higher than ever before. In some counties
the prevailing rate of pay is 10 cents per shock, as com­
pared w ith 9 cents last year and 5 cents in 19x1.
The preliminary estimates of the Department of Agri­
culture show that the total yields of the crops recently
harvested are smaller than they were last year, except in
the case of tobacco, pears, and cranberries. The per
acre yield of white potatoes in New Jersey was about 44
per cent less than in 19X X , and of sweet potatoes, 3X per
cent less. In Pennsylvania, however, the per acre yield
of these two crops was about the same as it was last
year. In both states the yield per acre of corn was smaller
than in 19X X , but that of buckwheat was slightly higher.
Farm products are, in general, higher than they were
a year ago. Wheat and hog prices, it is true, are lower,

The price of wheat is about the same as it was last fall and in the fall of
but potatoes and hay are higher.

1914,

Source— Department of Agriculture

but corn, potatoes, hay, milk, cotton, sheep, beef cattle,
tobacco, and fruit are higher. The farmers in this dis­
trict, most of whom practise crop diversification, are
undoubtedly in better financial condition than they have
been at any time during the past four years. Despite
higher wages and smaller yields per acre in many in­
stances, net profits per acre of crops have been larger than
they were last year, chiefly on account of higher prices.
The preceding chart shows the trend of prices of some
important crops from 1914 to date.
Practically all of the farmers in this district who buy
beef cattle for winter fattening have now received their
supplies, and reports from the Department of Agri­
culture state that they are taking about the same number
as they did last year despite high corn prices. Reports
from county agents state that the number of hogs
slaughtered during this month has increased, and that
the movement to market is slightly greater than it was
a year ago. Some attribute this to high corn prices,
but most of it is probably due to the increase in hog
production which was started last fall.
Dairy herds are in good condition and about up to
normal. Fall pastures have been good, and up to the
first of the month it was necessary to feed the herds only
light grain rations. However, nearly all dairymen are
now feeding increased grain rations and silage to their
cows. M ilk prices on the first of the month declined
sharply because of the heavy production of milk during
October. The price paid to farmers at the Philadelphia
milk shed on November 1 was 7
cents per quart as
compared w ith 8^4 cents on October 1.

C O M P IL E D AS O F O C T O B E R 2?, 1923

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