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MONTHLY REVIEW
o f C r e d it a n d B u s in e s s C o n d it io n s
S e c o n d
Federal Reserve Agent

F e d e r a l

D is t r ic t
October 1 , 1924

Federal Reserve Bank, New York

Business Conditions in the United States
R O D U C TIO N in basic industries was maintained
during August at about the same level as in the
two preceding months and factory employment
showed a slight increase. Wholesale prices, especially
those of agricultural products, showed a further
advance.

P

P ro ductio n

The Federal Reserve B oa rd ’s index of production in
basic industries, adjusted to allow fo r seasonal varia­
tions, continued in August at the same level as in June
and July. Production of steel wras substantially larger
than in July and the output of pig iron and mill con­
sumption o f cotton also increased. Sugar meltings and
production o f anthracite and zinc, on the other hand,
were smaller. Factory employment increased slightly
in August and average weekly earnings increased 4 per
cent, owing to less part-time employment. Larger work­
ing forces were reported in the textile, leather, and
automobile industries. Building contracts awarded, con­
trary to the usual seasonal trend, were 3 per cent, larger
in August than in July.
Crop conditions showed further improvement in A u ­
gust and the September 1 estimates of production by
the Department of Agriculture were larger for wheat,
PERCENT.

Index of 22 Basic Commodities Corrected for Seasonal Variation
(1919 — 100 Per cent. Latest figure, August.)




R e s e r v e

oats, barley, and potatoes. Estimated yields o f corn,
cotton, and tobacco, however, were smaller. Harvesting
has proceeded rapidly this year, and the August market­
ing o f wheat was larger than in either of the past two
years.

T rade

Bank debits, which reflect the volume o f business
transactions settled by check, showed about the usual
seasonal decrease in August, but were larger than a year
ago. Railroad shipments increased slightly, as a result
of larger loadings of miscellaneous merchandise, grain,
and coal. Wholesale trade was 7 per cent, larger than
in July, owing to seasonal increases in sales of dry
goods, shoes, and meat, but continued to be smaller than
a year ago. Department store sales showed less than
the usual increase in August and were 7 per cent, smaller
than last year. Mail order sales increased more than
usual at this season and were one per cent, larger than
in August 1923. Merchandise stocks of department
stores at the end of August for the first time this year
were smaller than on the corresponding date o f 1923.

P rices
Wholesale prices, as measured by the index o f the
Bureau o f Labor Statistics, increased 2 per cent, in
A ugust and were at about the same level as a year ago.
The advance was due largely to further increases in
PERCENT.

2

MONTHLY REVIEW, OCTOBER 1,1924
PRE T
E C N.

JB JO S Of D LLA S
IU N
O R

\
V
A

x

ft

\

TOT/5
\ EARNING/ASSETS

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V

l

DISC )U N T 3 'V L

v . ACc e PTAKc
.......
-E5
U.S.SK!JRITIE5

^

prices o f farm products and foods, though all other
com modity groups except metals and fuel also advanced.
D uring the first three weeks of September prices of
wheat, rye, wool, and rubber increased while those of
cotton, silk, petroleum, and metals declined.

B a n k C redit
Loans and investments o f member banks in leading
cities continued to increase during the four-week period
ended September 10 and on that date reached a record
figure about $1,000,000,000 above the level of three
months earlier. The largest increase was in loans on
stocks and bonds, and commercial loans also increased,
owing partly to seasonal demands fo r credit.
The
growth o f investments by member banks continued
though at a somewhat slackened rate.
A t the Federal Reserve Banks there was a further in­
crease in the holdings of Government securities and of
acceptances with the result that in the middle o f Sep­
tember, although discounts were at the low point for
the year, the total volume of Reserve Bank credit was
higher than at any time since last spring. Seasonal
increase in the demand fo r currency was reflected in
a decline in cash reserve, and, at the Reserve Banks in
certain of the agricultural districts in an increase of
Federal Reserve note circulation.
Slightly firmer conditions in the New Y ork money
market in late August and early September were re­
flected in a slight advance in the rate on commercial
paper from S-S1 to 3 ^ per cent. A fter the middle of
/^
September a recurrence of easier conditions followed
Treasury operations. The September 15 offering o f oneyear Treasury certificates bore 2% per cent, interest,
the same rate as the six months issue sold in June.

Banking Conditions in the Second District
Between the 20th of August and the middle of
September the total volume o f credit extended by report­
ing banks in this district showed some reduction, reflect­
ing a moderate movement o f funds to the interior




J

,a

*7ie

" C
Department Store Sales— Index off Sales of 333 Stores in 117 Cities
(1919 = 100 Per cent. Latest figures, August.)

\

VA258

19J9
1920
1921 '
1922
1923
192.4
Reserve Bank Credit— Weekly Figures for 12 Federal Reserve Banks
(Latest figures, September 17)

apparently in response to fall agricultural needs. On
the 15th of September the Treasury paid out for matur­
ing notes, Liberty bond interest and miscellaneous items
$171,000,000, against which tax collections and other
receipts aggregated only $32,000,000, leaving a tem­
porary excess o f funds in market from Treasury opera­
tions amounting to $139,000,000. A s a result o f this
operation there was a sharp increase in total loans and
investments, and deposits o f New Y ork City banks to
new high figures fo r the year. A s the collection o f tax
checks continued and funds were redistributed through
the country by transfers, the excess o f funds was rapidly
reduced and a practical equilibrium was reached on
September 23. W hile quoted rates in the money markets
were relatively little affected by these changes, consider­
able amounts of funds were available outside the regular
markets at lower rates fo r a week follow in g the 15th.
MILLIONS

OF DOLLARS

RATE •

Average Weekly Excess Reserves of New York City Clearing
House Banks and Open Market Rates for 4 to 6 months
Commercial Paper and 90-day Bills (Latest
figures week ended September 27)

The accom panying diagram indicates the extent to
which funds have accumulated in the New Y ork market
from time to time through the summer, and particularly

3

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK
at the September 15 quarterly tax period. As banks
have been largely out o f debt to the Reserve Bank, im­
ports of gold, return of currency from circulation, dis­
bursements of government funds, and receipts of funds
from other sources, have increased reserves here faster
than they could be employed advantageously, with the
result that banks have frequently shown substantial
excess reserves instead of the very small surplus which
has been customary for several years past.
A t the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the volume
of discounts fo r member banks increased only slightly
between August 20 and September 24. Bills bought in
the open market, however, increased very substantially,
and there was a small rise also in holdings of Govern­
ment securities, so that total earning assets rose nearly
$50,000,000, and were larger than in any previous month
since January.

Money Market
Increasing business activity, and the usual seasonal
requirements fo r business and agriculture were reflected
by a firmer tendency in the money market in the latter
part of August and the first part of September. Follow ­
ing September 15 a large excess of Government dis­
bursements over receipts in this market caused a recur­
rence of easier conditions which continued until the
later part o f the month.
A n advance of *4 of 1 per cent, to 2 ^ per cent, in
the offering rate fo r 90 day bills in the latter part of
August led to more active demand, and despite a sea­
sonal increase in the volume of bills accepted, dealers’
portfolios declined by the middle o f September to ap­
proximately the lowest point of the year. D ealers’ offer­
ing rates, accordingly, reverted to 2 per cent, but by the
end of the month advanced again to 2*4 per cent.
Commercial paper rates, which had advanced from a
range of 3-3^4 per cent, to 3*4 per cent, prior to
September 15, held substantially unchanged at the
higher level in the latter part of the month. Banks in
New Y ork City and other large centers were less active
buyers, while supplies o f paper were somewhat
increased. D uring August, the volume of paper out­
standing through 26 dealers rose $32,000,000 to
$911,000,000, the highest since December 1920.
Time money rates on Stock Exchange collateral ad­
vanced to 3-3*4 per cent, fo r 60-90 day loans early in
September, but follow ing the 15th reacted to 2*4-2%
per cent. A fter tem porary firmness over the first of
the month, call money reverted to 2 per cent, on the E x ­
change, though for a week follow ing the 15th consider­
able amounts were reported lent outside the Exchange
at lower rates. Towards the close of September there
were again slight advances in call and time money rates.

Security Markets
Easier money conditions follow ing September 15 were
accompanied by increased activity in the bond market,
and representative averages of corporation bonds recov­




ered more than half the loss sustained in August. L ib­
erty bonds likewise advanced, and the Treasury 4*4s
reached a new high price at 106 7/32.
New security offerings continued in large volume and
found a ready market. In the case of State and munic­
ipal issues, prices paid were the highest in some cases
in recent years. Foreign financing was particularly
h eavy; the total of $170,000,000 fo r the first fou r weeks
of the month brought the amount since J uly 1 to about
$360,000,000, or only slightly smaller than the total for
the entire first six months o f the year. Domestic cor­
poration financing was also large, both in August and
September, due mainly to public utility and railway
issues. The accom panying diagram compares domestic
corporation issues, exclusive o f refunding issues, by
types o f securities for the first seven months o f this year
and previous years, and indicates that new financing has
been the heaviest in five years. Most o f the issues have
been long term bonds, but common stock issues have in­
creased substantially, accom panying easy money condi­
tions, and have been the largest since 1920.
1.902

1,854

COMMON STOCKS

LONG- TERM
BONDSS NOTES

1919

19£0

1921

1922

1923

1924

New Issues of Domestic Corporation Securities, exclusive of Refunding
Issues, in First Seven Months of the Years 1919-1924, in
Millions of Dollars (Source of figures— Commercial
and Financial Chronicle)

In the stock market, industrial price averages declined
sharply in the early part o f September, accom panying a
number of announcements o f dividend reductions or
omissions, but as money grew easier after the 15th prices
recovered most o f this loss. R ailroad stocks declined
late in August and early in September, but likewise
recovered in the later weeks.

Foreign Exchange
Larger seasonal offerings o f cotton and grain bills
were presumably factors in a further decline o f 7 cents
in Sterling early in September to $4.42, or 15 cents
below the high point reached in August, before the
conclusion o f the London Conference. Later in Sep­
tember, however, there was a recovery to around $4.46.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW, OCTOBER 1, 1924

Belgian and French francs held relatively steady dur­
ing the month about % cent below the August high
point.
Spanish pesetas showed renewed weakness early in the
month and reached the lowest levels since A pril, accom­
panying continued unfavorable reports of the Moroccan
campaign. Danish rates, on the other hand, continued
their recovery to the highest since May, and Swiss ex­
change reached a new high for the year about 1 per cent,
of par. Canadian dollars were maintained at or close to
par through most o f the period.
A m ong South Am erican exchanges, rates on A rgen­
tina and Brazil were both higher during the month.
In the F ar East quotations on Chinese and Indian ex­
changes likewise advanced, accom panying a rise in bar
silver to 7 0% cents, a new high since 1922. Japanese
exchange, on the other hand, declined about a cent to
the lowest since May, notwithstanding that merchan­
dise exports in August exceeded imports for the first
time since 1922.

reflect partly wheat buying diverted to this market by
the shortage o f the Canadian crop, which promises to
be slightly more than half as large as last year. D uring
the past two years Canada has been supplanting the
United States as the principal exporter of wheat. The
accom panying diagram, com paring exports of the princi­
pal wheat producing countries by calendar years since
1913 reflects this movement, and indicates also the large
expansion in wheat shipments from this country that
follow ed the withdrawal o f Eussia as a wheat exporting
country after the beginning o f the W orld W ar.
M LUO W & .
OF BUSHELS

80Qp----- i

Gold Movement
Im ports of gold in August totaling $18,000,000 were
slightly smaller than the previous low figure o f the
year, reached in July, and as exports of gold increased
to over $2,000,000, the im port balance for the month
was approximately $16,000,000, or the smallest since
A p ril 1923. D uring the first four weeks of September,
figures at the Port o f New Y ork alone indicated imports
of only $559,000 as against exports of $2,600,000, the
first excess of gold exports at this port since 1920.
The decline in imports in recent months reflects in part
the falling off in the shipments from England, which in
A ugust totaled only $7,000,000, compared with $23,000,000 in January. D uring recent months a much increased
proportion o f the South A frican gold output has been
diverted to India, and Indian buying has likewise largely
accounted for the increase in exports from this country.
Further probable factors also in reduced gold imports
have been the increase in foreign financing in this mar­
ket, low short time money rates here, and a growing
capacity of European countries fo r the absorption of
gold as their finances become stabilized.

Foreign Trade
Increases of $20,000,000 in shipments of grain and
grain products, and of $9,000,000 in shipments o f cotton,
were partly responsible for a rise in August of
$54,000,000 in the value of merchandise exports to
$331,000,000, the largest since May. As imports declined
slightly to $270,000,000, the month showed an excess of
exports amounting to $61,000,000, compared with a
small excess of imports in July.
Exports of grains and grain products totaling nearly
$34,000,000 were the largest since November 1922, and
continued heavy shipments of grain and larger ship­
ments of cotton were reported for the early weeks of
September. In the case of grains, the large shipments




1914 1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 m i )9ZZ 1923’
AV.

Exports of Wheat and Wheat Flour of Principal Wheat Exporting
Countries by Calendar Years.

Foreign Shipments of United States Currency
Reports fo r August from 14 banks in New Y ork City
show a continued excess of receipts of United States cur­
rency from abroad over shipments to foreign countries.
The amount of this excess, or $7,700,000, however, was
somewhat smaller than in July. The receipts o f cur­
rency during the month were chiefly from Denmark, F in ­
land, Poland, Greece, and Cuba. The follow ing table
gives comparative figures from May 1923 to A ugust 1924.
1923
May to Dec.
(monthly av.)

Net Shipments

Shipments

Receipts

$3,645,000

$2,910,000
$1,374,000
1.463.000
2.074.000
2.601.000
5.206.000
6.969.000
9.234.000
7.817.000

$4,320,000
5,526,000
21,000

Aug...................

$5,694,000
6.989.000
2.095.000
940.000
292.000
681.000
199.000
117.000

Total (1924)

$17,007,000

$36,738,000

$9,867,000

Net Receipts

1924
Feb....................

June..................

$1,661,000
4.914.000
6.288.000
9.035.000
7.700.000
$29,598,000

The banks in this district also have forw arded since
May 1923, $32,000,000 to Cuba by wire transfer through
this bank and the Reserve Banks o f Boston and Atlanta.
O f this amount $17,000,000 has been forw arded this
year.

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK

Production

5
-------------- —

150
inn

The increase in activity in some of the m ajor basic
industries, begun in June and July, was continued in
August and the early part of September. Available in­
dexes fo r produ cers’ goods generally advanced in
August, but indexes of consumers’ goods declined in a
number of cases.
P ig iron output increased 6 per cent, in August, and
steel ingot production 36 per cent, over the July figures,
and mills in the first part o f September further in­
creased their operations to around 60 per cent, of capac­
ity, at which level they held steady. Unfilled orders of
the Steel Corporation at the end of A ugust showed the
first increase since February. Larger buying in the in­
dustry is attributed chiefly to railway purchases of
equipment, particularly freight cars, orders fo r which
thus far this year have equaled the total fo r all o f 1923.
M ill consumption of cotton increased 10,784 bales, or
3 per cent., contrary to the usual seasonal tendency, and
woolen mill operations increased for the first time since
February. Further resumption of activity by cotton
mills was reported during the early part of September.
In the automobile industry the output of cars and
trucks increased 2 per cent, over July, and 9 per cent,
over the June low point, but this bank’s indexes, which
allow for seasonal variation, declined slightly. M ining
of bituminous coal also showed somewhat less than the

/

f.—

^
Vr

50

/ anthracite *

1*—

10
5

I WOOL
CONSUMPTION

COTTON

C NU P ?
O S M tld.

50

0
150

300T5^& SHO :s

J

SOLE I

eathefV

"^

50

u — ...
CEMENT
. V

o \

r*.

z

^LUMBER
CIJT

0

4 ------ — flA

r

0
AUTOttOBIL
Passenger
a

A
\

\

Producers* Goods
Pig iron...........................................................
Steel ingots....................................................
Bituminous coal...........................................
Copper, U. S. mines....................................
Tin deliveries................................................
Zinc*................................................................
Petroleum.......................................................
Gas and fuel oil............................................
Cotton consumption....................................
Woolen mill activity*..................................
Cement...........................................................
Lumber...........................................................
Leather, sole..................................................

110
107
105
111
99
73
146
92
89
98
130
125
106

66
61
73
99
71
71
124
101
61
76
138
106
63

57
55
75
104
60
70
123
97
61
70
147
107
73

58
72
74
112
84
68
126

109
145
79
149
74
116
88
85
96
108
121
118
93
90
104
145
157
98

92
117
93
119
108
120
83
86
102
118
125
106
90
82
86
92
97
76

109
133
93
136
126
118
89
80
103
118
130
104
85
73
93
113
122
80

72

/

■

/ y

>

A

A

TRUCKS

v
S L

V

A

1

0
150

*63*
74p
149

V ,,/

CPE
OPR
ZINC*

50

*

Aug.

COAL

10
0

1924
July

v

o
!_______ _ _____ __________________ J ____i_____________
_

10
0

June

p

B U IN U
IV M O S

150

Aug.

A .
/ \ / p IG^ |R pN

a

1501

(Computed trend of past years=100 Per cent.)
1923

5TEE
INGOT 5Z

^

PA PER
UCTION
BACCOW ^
c o t 'ISUMPTION

50

1916

1919

1920

192.1

1922

1923

1924

Monthly Production in Basic Industries. Seasonal Variation Allowed
for. (Computed trend of past years = 100 Per cent.)

Consumers' Goods
Cattle slaughtered.......................................
Calves slaughtered......................................
Sheep slaughtered........................................
Hogs slaughtered.........................................
Sugar meltings, U. S. ports.......................
Wheat flour...................................................
Cigars.............................................................
Cigarettes......................................................
Tobacco, manufactured.............................
Gasoline.........................................................
Tires*.............................................................
Newsprint......................................................
Paper, total...................................................
Boots and shoes...........................................
Anthracite coal............................................
Automobile, all............................................
Automobile, passenger................................
Automobile, truck.......................................




i05’
113
84
78
97

ioi*

87
74p
83
106
114
78

usual seasonal increase, and anthracite production con­
tinued below normal.
Cement and copper production, on the other hand, con­
tinued unusually large, and increases occurred also in
the indexes fo r production o f boots and shoes, and
paper. The accom panying diagram shows the changes
in a number o f this ban k ’s indexes o f production during
the past 6 y 2 years; and the table gives the index num­
bers for recent months fo r a larger number o f indus­
tries. In both cases, the indexes are expressed as per­

6

MONTHLY REVIEW, OCTOBER 1,1924

centages of the computed trend., after allowance for
seasonal variation.

Indexes of Business Activity
Moderate increases occurred in August in the m ajority
o f this b an k ’s indexes o f trade and business activity.
Bank debits after allowing fo r seasonal variation were
larger than in July, and both in this district and fo r
the country continued to exceed the figures o f a year ago.
Railway traffic showed a further increase and car load­
ings fo r the week of September 13 were the largest for
the year. Loadings o f grain, and of merchandise and
less than car-load lot shipments reached levels higher
than ever before, and coal loadings increased to the
largest since March. W hile department store sales de­
clined, sales by chain stores and wholesale trade showed
an increase over July, but were not up to the level of
last year. The follow ing table gives the indexes o f busi­
ness activity in percentages o f the computed trend, with
allowance for seasonal variation and, where necessary,
fo r price changes.
(Computed trend of past years ==100 per cent.)
1923

1924

Aug.
Primary Distribution
Car loadings, merchandise and misc.......
Car loadings, other...................................
Wholesale trade, Second District............
Grain exports............................................
Panama canal traffic................................
Distribution to Consumer

Department store sales, Second District
Chain store sales.......................................
Mail order sales.. .....................................
Amusements receipts...............................
Magazine advertising...............................
Newspaper advertising.............................
General Business Activity

Bank debits, outside of New York City.
Bank debits, New York City..................
Velocity of bank deposits, outside of
New York City.....................................
Velocity of bank deposits, New York City
Postal receipts...........................................
Electric power...........................................
Employment, N. Y. State factories........
Business failures.......................................

June

July

Aug.

102

99
96
76
89
105
74
125

96
93
89
89
108
42
123

100

91
93
103
105
91
103
93

93
93
82
109
114
99

87
95
81

100

99
109

112

116

97

98
108
94
105
90

95
103
99
104

98
109
96

103

89
103

118
109
92
99

86

154

101

98
81

112

98

102
100
93

101

103

110

103
90

111

86
99

88

97
94
99p
98p
84
116

100
92’
89

101

p = Preliminary.

Building
A fter declining steadily between A p ril and July, the
F . W . Dodge C orporation’s figures o f building contracts
awarded throughout 36 States increased slightly in
August, due chiefly to increases in middle western sec­
tions, and were 19 per cent, larger than in A ugust a
year ago. In New Y ork City the increase in contracts




over a year ago was 9 per cent., and fo r the district as a
whole 6 per cent.
Residential contracts continued to exceed all other
types and were larger than a year ago fo r all reporting
States, though slightly smaller in this district. Indus­
trial building for the country likewise showed a moderate
increase, but other types o f building showed compara­
tively little change.
The Department o f Labor index o f building material
prices, after declining 7 per cent, between A p ril and
July to the lowest point in more than two years, was
unchanged in August. Building wage rates were like­
wise unchanged, but bonus payments have practically
disappeared in recent months.

Employment and Wages
Both in New Y ork State and fo r the country as a
whole, the number o f workers employed in m anufactur­
ing increased slightly between the middle o f July and
the middle o f August fo r the first time since March,
according to reports o f the State and Federal Labor
Departments. A verage weekly wage earnings increased
1 per cent, and 4 per cent, fo r the State and country
respectively, reflecting a reduction in part time em ploy­
ment. Since August reports have indicated a further
gradual increase in factory employment, but a tendency
fo r out-door work to diminish.
The chief increases in employment occurred in indus­
tries where it had been most curtailed, such as iron and
steel, automobiles, some branches o f the textiles, the
furniture and piano industries, and plants producing
leather, shoes, and leather goods. R oad construction
continued large, and building labor was generally ac­
tively employed.
The chief decreases in employment occurred in the
building materials industries, which have heretofore
been active, and in knit goods and hosiery mills and
food industries, while in the apparel trades the seasonal
increase in activity has been slow. A surplus o f com­
mon labor continues in most sections, and a surplus o f
skilled mechanics is reported in some localities. The
demand fo r farm labor has declined somewhat, so that
despite the moderate increase in industrial activity, em­
ploym ent offices generally continued to find it difficult
to place applicants fo r work.
Changes in wage rates continued com paratively few,
and in most cases were reductions. In New England
and the South a number o f textile mills put into effect
wage reductions o f 10 to 1 2% per cent, upon resuming
more active operations.

7

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT AT NEW YORK
C r o p C o n d itio n s

W eather conditions during A ugust benefited the
spring wheat, oats, and flaxseed crops, and the D epart­
ment of A gricu ltu re’s September 1 forecasts o f yields
were larger than on A ugust 1. The corn crop, on the
other hand, entered September with the lowest condition
in 40 years, with three exceptions, and cool weather in
the first half of the month delayed growth further. In
this district the quality of the apple crop is far below
normal as the result of wet weather, but hay, potatoes,
and buckwheat promise good yields.
The severe dry weather in many sections of the cotton
belt between August 16 and September 16 resulted in a
reduction o f 360,000 bales in the estimated yield, which
at 12,600,000 bales promises to be one-quarter larger
than the average harvest fo r the last three years. The
follow ing table compares the August and September
forecasts with the final harvest of last year.

other hand, was steady, and prices o f rubber, wool, and
bituminous coal showed further advances. The follow ­
ing diagram shows the recent movements o f this ban k’s
weekly index o f 20 basic commodities, com pared with
those o f a similar index fo r Great Britain.
PER CENT.

JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN M . AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SCP OCT NOV O K

1923
(In millions)
1924
Crop
Winter wheat.......
Spring wheat........
All wheat..............
Corn......................
Oats.......................
Potatoes................
Tobacco................
Hay.......................
Cotton...................
Apples...................

Unit
Bushel

Pound
Short ton
Bale
Bushel

1923
Harvest

August 1
Forecast

September 1
Forecast

589
225
814
2,576
1,439
480

589
247
836
2,513
1,486
488
1,195
89

572
213
785
3,046
1,300
509
1,491
89

179

197

1,202

89
13.0*
184

12.6*

Wholesale Trade

10.1

* As of the 16th.

Commodity Prices
The tendency o f prices o f basic commodities, which
was upw ard during the early summer, turned downward
in the later part o f August and in September, and this
bank’s weekly index o f the prices of 20 basic commodities
reached on September 20 the lowest level in two years.
This decline was due principally to a reduction in cotton
prices to 2 2 % cents, the lowest in nearly two years and
approximately 9 cents lower than at the end o f July.
Follow ing the Government crop report issued on Sep­
tember 23, there was a recovery of about 4 cents.
Corn prices likewise declined in September, so that
notwithstanding some recovery late in the month prices
on the 27th were approxim ately 10 cents below the
August high point. Hogs and steers fluctuated irregu­
larly, but wheat prices advanced late in the month.
Silk prices were somewhat lower, and copper declined
below 13 cents fo r the first time in two months, while
steel prices were generally lower, and petroleum declined
nearly to the low levels of last winter. P ig iron, on the




1924

Price Indexes of 20 Basic Commodities in the United States and
in England (1913 = 100 Per cent. Latest figures, September 20)

Sales in August o f representative wholesale dealers in
this district showed a further increase of 31 per cent,
over July, or more than the usual seasonal advance, and
this bank’s index o f sales, in which adjustment is made
fo r price changes and seasonal variation, rose to 94 per
cent, o f the com puted trend, com pared with 89 per cent,
in July and 76 per cent, in June.
Sales o f apparel showed particularly large increases,
but remained smaller than the unusually large sales o f
August a year ago. Diam ond sales, however, were in
excess o f those o f last year, while silk sales were the
largest fo r the month since 1919 and drug sales the
largest fo r any August thus fa r reported. Trade in
Dollar Value of August Sales
(August 1923=100 Per cent.)

Commodity
1920

(a) Cotton...............................
(6) Silk.....................................

(a) Men’s .................................

(b Women’s dresses...............
)
(c) Women’s coats and suits..
Machine tools..............................
Weighted Average...................

1921

1922

1923

1924

90
92

59
93
87
85
89

93
95

100
100
100
100
100

107

100
105
95

m

189
187 '
mm

178

70
73
56
90
78
30

75
60

100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100
100

102

84

85

100

118
141
153
149
125
85
90
75

86

101

188

89
F86

122

94
93
95
99

86

76
69

86

102

96
77
114
93
90
90
89
82
76

86

86
68
71
72

MONTHLY REVIEW, OCTOBER 1, 1924
stationery and hardware, on. the other hand, continued
Per cent.
Per cent.
Sales of each
Dept, to
Change in
Sales of all
Sales over
August 1923 Departments

the steady decline of recent months, and business in
machine tools was again small.
The table at the foot o f page 7 shows the detailed
changes in the different lines as compared with August
in previous years.

The decline of 14 per cent, in the

total as compared with last year is partly due to the
fact that sales last year were unusually large.

Chain Store Sales
Total chain store sales in August were 11 per cent,
greater than a year previous, due largely to the opening
o f new stores.

Sales per store averaged 4 per cent,

smaller than a year ago, reflecting decreases at shoe,
grocery, candy, and drug stores.

A t dry goods and 10

cent stores, sales per store were larger than last year.
The detailed comparisons are shown in the follow ing
table.

Number of
Stores

Dollar Value of August Sales
(August 1923=100 Per cent.)

Type of Store

Per cent.
Change
in sales
per store
August 1923
to
August 1924

Aug.
1923

Aug.
1924

1920

1921

1922

1923

1924

Dry goods.........
Shoe....................
Ten cent............
Grocery.............
Tobacco.............
Candy................
Drug...................

543
302
1,817
15,998
2,754
190
312

622
371
1,975
18,903
2,797
204
316

75
102
74
80
95
78
92

75
89
76
70
94
81
89

78
90
85
82
94
83
92

100
100
100
100
100
100
100

121
115
112
111
102
102
98

21,916

25,188

80

75

84

100

111

Net Sales during August
(August 1923=100
Per cent.)

— 3 .7

All dept, stores.....................
Mail order houses

Sales of 63 leading department stores in this district
were 7 per cent, smaller in August than a year previous.

Stock on hand Sept. 1
(Sept. 1, 1923=100
Per cent.)

1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924

Elsewhere, 2d Dist...................

Department Store Sales

3 .2
6 .5
14.6
4 .5
3 .4
12.5
15.2
1.8
3.8
7 .7
26.8

+ 1.0
— 2 .4
— 3 .2
— 4 .6
— 4 .7
— 5 .7
— 5 .7
— 10.2
— 12.6
— 12.7
— 7 .8

Outstanding orders fo r merchandise on September 1
showed the usual seasonal increase, but were considerably
smaller than last year. The value o f stocks o f mer­
chandise on hand was the same as a year ago. This
is the first time in nearly two years that stocks have
failed to show an increase over the previous year.
Mail order sales showed a slight increase over A ugust
1923. This bank’s index o f such sales, which allows fo r
seasonal variation and price changes, was 81 per cent,
o f the computed trend, or slightly lower than in July.
The follow ing table shows the detailed comparative fig­
ures fo r department stores and mail order houses in
August fo r the last five years.

+ 6 .0
— 6.3
+ 3 .4
— 6.0
+ 0 .4
— 5.1
— 3 .4

Total..............

Hosiery...................................................................................
Men’s and Boys’ wear........................................................
Women’s and Misses’ ready-to-wear accessories.........
Cotton goods........................................................................
Shoes.....................................................................................
Furniture...............................................................................
Home furnishings.................................................................
Woolen goods........................................................................
Silk goods..............................................................................
Women’s and Misses’ ready-to-wear..............................
Miscellaneous........................................................................

88
94
97
98
96
117
94
84

85
89
91
95
87
98
87
80

90
108

86
78

91
90
90
101
80
93
93
84

91
100
89
100
99
100
100 103
87
100
96
100
96
100
94
100

90 100
79 100

92
115
117 91
122
97
150 112
143 108
123 106
107 98
93
83

93 115
103

93

93
89
91
98
89
105
95
89

100 100
100
92
100 101
100 107
100 103
100 103
100
98
100 101

92 100 100

M ILLIO N S
OF DOLLARS

A m ong the factors in this decline were one less selling
day in August this year than last and reduced em ploy­
ment and wage earnings.

Sales of Rochester stores av­

eraged slightly larger than a year ago, and Newark sales
were within 1 per cent, of last y e a r’s volume.

In other

localities there were declines ranging from 4 to 13 per
cent, in comparison with August 1923.
W ith the exception of hosiery, all m ajor departments
had smaller sales than a year ago.

The reductions were

largest in yard goods and w om en’s clothing, but furn i­
ture and home furnishings, shoes, m en’s clothing, and
miscellaneous merchandise also showed reductions. The
average transaction amounted to $2.54, compared with
$2.65 last year.




Sales and Stocks of Merchandise on Hand of Representative
Department Stores in the Second District.