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MONTHLY REVIEW BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS WILLIAM W. HOXTON, C H A IR M A N AND FE D E R A L R ESERVE AG ENT APRIL 30, 1925 RICHMOND, VIRGINIA The business situation in the Fifth Federal Re serve District is more favorable at the end of April than it was at the same time last year, especially in the outlook for the textile industry and for agri culture. In late April last year textile mills were running only part time and manufactured goods were accumulating, and very bad weather had de layed all farm work, but at present the cotton mills are operating full time and are selling their output as made, while favorable weather has enabled far mers to make all their seasonal preparations from ten to twenty days earlier than in 1924. Some unfavorable factors are present, among them being a scarcity of farm labor and a lack of funds with which to hire farm hands, higher fertilizer prices than in 1924, a shortage of feed which forces far mers to buy high priced grains for stock, and lack of sufficient orders to keep coal mines busy. On the other hand, favorable factors appear to outweigh the unfavorable ones. Labor is well employed, and therefore the purchasing power of the public con tinues large. Retail trade in March was good, com paring favorably with seasonal average, and whole sale trade was better in most lines than in March 1924. The banks of the District are generally in a strong position and are able to care for any legiti mate credit demands that appear likely to arise. Debits to individual accounts prove that a very large volume of business is being done, and commercial failures compare favorably with other years. Build ing operations continue in record volume, causing increased activity in many allied industries and giving steady employment to both skilled and un skilled labor. Finally, the psychological attitude of the public seems to be favorable for a fairly active business year. There is no disposition to boom business, but there does not appear to be much ner vousness or fear of what the next few months have in store. FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS Seasonal needs for crop planting increased the demand for credit at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond between March 14th and April 15th this year, and the volume of member bank borrowing rose from $32,082,000 to $40,652,000. At this season book credit rather than currency is needed, however, and therefore during the month under review the circulation of Federal Reserve notes dropped from $77,859,000 to $75,356,000 and member bank reserve deposits rose from $62,779,000 to $66,266,000. The changes enumerated reduced the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s cash reserves from $102,985,000 to $94,039,000, and the ratio of cash to combined note and deposit liabilities declined from 73.08 per cent on March 14th to 64.90 per cent on April 15th. On April 15, 1924, the volume of member bank paper held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond amounted to $55,957,000, compared with $40,652,000 so held on April 15, 1925. Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation totaled $81,642,000 on the 1924 date and $75,356,000 this year. Member bank reserve deposits aggregated $59,505,000 on April 15, 1924, and $66,266,000 on April 15, 1925. The cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond totaled $90,003,000 in April last year and $94,039,000 this year. The ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined was 60.62 per cent on April 15th last year and 64.90 per cent on the corresponding date this year. SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS ~ Fourteen mutual savings banks in Baltimore had aggregate deposits amounting to $148,015,204 at the close of business March 31, 1925, compared with $146,867,172 on February 28th this year and $142,329,341 on March 31st last year. On March 3 1, 1923, the same banks reported deposits totaling $134,954,223; on March 3 1, 1922, totaling $125,122,842; on March 3 1, 1921, totaling $124,263,612; and on March 31, 1920, totaling $120,667,494. The largest increase occurred between March 1922 and March 1923, and the smallest gain between March 1921 and March 1922. The National Summary will be found on page 8 CONDITION OF SEVENTY-THREE REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES ITEMS April 8, 1925 1. Total Loans and Discounts (including all rediscounts)........................................ 2. Total Investments in Bonds and Securi ties ............................................................. 3. Total Loans and Investments.................... 4. Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank ........................................................... 5. Cash in Vaults.............................................. 6. Demand Deposits.......................................... 7. Time Deposits.............................................. 8. Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank..., March 11, 1925 April 9, 1924 $ 492,032,000 $ 484,658,000 $ 475,886,000 137.279.000 629.311.000 131.448.000 616.106.000 121.103.000 596.989.000 39.716.000 14.222.000 356.567.000 187.593.000 18.383.000 38.582.000 14.389.000 370.132.000 188.167.000 11.204.000 35.771.000 13.236.000 333.307.000 165.601.000 30.832.000 In the above table comparative condition figures reported by seventy-three identical member banks are shown as at the close of business April 8, 1925, March 11 , 1925, and April 9, 1924, thus affording an oppor tunity for comparing banking developments during the past month and the past year in the thirteen leading cities of the Fifth Reserve District. While the figures shown in the table reflect conditions on the dates men tioned, they are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred during the periods under review. Between March n th and April 8th, both this year, most of the changes in the items included in the table were seasonal, and were due chiefly to financing the planting of this year’s crops. Total loans to cus tomers rose from $484,658,000 to $492,032,000 during the month, demand deposits declined from $370,132,000 to $356,567,000, time deposits decreased from $188,167,000 to $187,593,000, and rediscounts at the Re serve Bank increased from $11,204,000 to $18,383,000. Cash in vaults also decreased slightly, falling from $14,389,000 to $14,222,000. On the other hand, total investments in bonds and securities increased from $131,448,000 on March n th to $137,279,000 on April 8th, and aggregate reserve balance at the Reserve Bank rose from $38,582,000 to $39,716,000, both being unusual gains at a season when the reporting banks’ customers are seeking additional credit. A large increase in deposits between April 9, 1924, and April 8, 1925, enabled the reporting banks to increase their loans to customers and their investments in bonds and securities, and to reduce their rediscounts with the Reserve Bank; at the same time it called for an increase in reserve balances. During the year demand deposits rose from $333,307,000 to $356,567,000, and time deposits increased from $165,601,000 to §187,593,000, a combined gain of $45,252,000. Outstanding loans to customers rose from $475,886,000 to $492,032,000, an increase of $16,146,000; investments in bonds and securities rose from $121,103,000 to $137,279,000, an increase of $16,176,000; reserve balances rose from a total of $35,771,000 to $39,716,000, an increase of $3,945,000; and the volume of rediscounts at the Reserve Bank was reduced from $30,832,000 to $18,383,000, a decline of $12,449,000. Cash in vaults rose during the year from $13,236,000 to $14,222,000, a gain of $986,000. BUSINESS FAILURES IN MARCH Commercial failures in the United States during March numbered 1,859, naturally exceeding the 1,793 defaults of the short month of February, but decreases appear in comparison with the number for both January and last December, when the totals were 2,317 and 2,040, respectively. March failures this year ex ceeded the 1,817 failures of March 1924 by 2.3 per cent. In liabilities involved, March 1925 witnessed a total of $34,004,731, the smallest amount reported since November 1924, which in turn reported the smallest total since September 1923. Liabilities in March this year fell off more than 65 per cent from the record total of $97,651,026 of March 1924, when a single failure for $40,000,000 occurred. In the Fifth District there were 127 bankruptcies in March, with liabilities totaling $2,640,261, com pared with 105 bankruptcies and liabilities of $42,232,527 in March last year. The number of failures in March 1925 was only 5 per cent greater than in February, although March had 13 per cent more business days in it. March liabilities were lower than for any month since November 1924, and were lower than dur ing any other March since 1920. DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS IN LEADING TRADE CENTERS The accompanying table shows total debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the clearing house banks in twenty-three leading trade centers of the Fifth Reserve District during three equal periods of four weeks each, ending April 8, 1925, March n , 1925, and April 9, 1924. These debits figures cover all checks drawn against deposit accounts, irrespective of whether or not the checks pass through the clear ing house, and therefore include pay roll checks, checks cashed over the counter, and checks deposited in the banks upon which they are drawn. Debits totals are generally regarded as one of the best indicators of business activity. The four weeks’ period ending April 8, 1925, witnessed total debits amounting to $1,188,149,000 in the 2 twenty-three reporting cities, compared with $1,176,095,000 during the preceding period, ending March n th , the increase being seasonal and due to income tax payments on March 15th and quarterly settlements on April 1st. Fifteen of the twenty-three cities reported larger figures during the more recent period. Raleigh’s TOTAL DEBITS FOR THE FOUR WEEKS ENDING CITIES April 8, 1925 Asheville, N. C............. Baltimore, Md............... Charleston, S. C......... . Charleston, W. Va. Charlotte, N. C........... . Columbia, S. C............ Cumberland, Md........ Danville, Va................. . Durham, N. C............. . Greensboro, N. C........ Greenville, S. C.......... Hagerstown, Md......... Huntington, W. Va. . Lynchburg, Va............ Newport News, Va. . Norfolk, Va.................. Raleigh, N. C.............. Richmond, Va.............. Roanoke, Va................ Spartanburg, S. C. ... Washington, D. C. ..... Wilmington, N. C....... Winston-Salem, N. C Total............ $ 24,399,000 374,518,000 28,807,000 35,589,000 49,120,000 19,564,000 7,866,000 7,922,000 19,905,000 21,806,000 20,254,000 10,590,000 25,424,000 18,232,000 7,551,000 64,361,000 25,852,000 119,038,000 23,255,000 17,078,000 214,393,000 21,385,000 31,240,000 $1,188,149,000 March 11, 1925 $ 19,627,000 353,590,000 26,094,000 31,517,000 44,884,000 21,223,000 7,746,000 8,791,000 20,983,000 21,454,000 24,727,000 13.116.000 19.850.000 17,586,000 7,025,000 66,238,000 55,985,000 124,409,000 22,899,000 15,967,000 200,455,000 21,058,000 30,871,000 $1,176,095,000 April 9, 1924 $ 21,707,000 341,824,000 28,073,000 33,426,000 43,447,000 22,497,000 8,766,000 8,229,000 19,245,000 22,213,000 20,640,000 10,296,000 24,083,000 18,117,000 6,191,000 63,333,000 27,775,000 111,756,000 21,759,000 11,593,000 183,796,000 21,445,000 29,626,000 $1,099,837,000 great decrease was due to exceptionally heavy movements of State government funds during the period end ing March n th rather than to any material decline in business activity. During the four weeks ending April 9, 1924, debits in the twenty-three cities amounted to $1,099,837,000, in comparison with $1,188,149,000 reported this year during the corresponding period. Sixteen cities showed higher figures for the 1925 period, all of the decreases except two occurring in the Carolinas. LABOR— The labor situation has changed little since our March 31st Review was written. On the whole, spring demands for labor have not developed to the expected degree, and consequently there is some what more involuntary unemployment than was the case a year ago. Road work and public improvements are being carried on in somewhat less volume this spring, but this has increased the supply of labor avail able for farm work. As a rule there is sufficient farm labor at present to meet all demands, though there are certain sections in which workers are still scarce. Farm wages are slightly lower than the levels of last year. The actual demand for farm labor appears to be somewhat less than in April 1924, farmers as a result of the last crop having less money with which to hire hands and therefore being less inclined to employ high priced help in the face of returns for agricultural products. The industries of the Fifth District are running on full time schedules, and there is very little idleness among factory workers. Construction work is plentiful, and workers in the building trades are fairly well employed, although there is less de mand for certain classes of workmen, such as steel and sheet metal workers. Clerical workers continue to show a surplus, while satisfactory domestic help is scarce. COAL— Lack of market demand continues to handicap coal producers, and the cumulative output of bituminous mines in the United States is now approximately 1,500,000 tons behind the average production during the first three months of the preceding five years. The coal year ending April 1st witnessed the pro duction of 470,844,000 net tons of bituminous coal and 88,189,000 tons of anthracite, compared with 561,212,000 tons of bituminous and 91,700,000 tons of anthracite produced in 1923-1924. Production of bitumi nous coal was sufficient to meet all demands during the past winter, however, and prices ruled lower than during the preceding year. Soft coal mined in March 1925 was 37,626,000 net tons, the lowest March pro duction since 1921, when only 31,054,000 tons were produced. Transportation facilities were adequate for all demands made by the mines during the winter, and there were no serious tie-ups on account of severe weather. Retail prices have been reduced at many yards during the past two or three weeks, a regular sea sonal development with the passing of cold weather. TEXTILES— The textile mills of the Fifth District are nearly all operating on full time schedules, re ceiving many hand to mouth orders but few orders for future delivery. Prices of cloth have gone off slightly 3 during the past month in keeping with the decline in raw cotton, and mill executives state that profits at present prices for cotton and manufactured goods are unsatisfactory. Most executives profess a consider able degree of optimism on the outlook, and textile mill supply houses report good business on machinery which will reduce operating costs or improve production. One large machinery dealer writes that nearly all of his sales are being made to Fifth District mills, although his firm does a nation wide business. A year ago restriction in running time was spreading among the mills in the South, and most of them had large stocks of goods on hand. A t present the mills are running full time, and" reserve stocks have been re duced to more satisfactory figures. During March the textile mills in North Carolina consumed 126,967 bales of cotton, South Carolina mills used 93,677 bales, and Virginia mills used 11,007 bales, a total of 231,651 bales in comparison with 191,293 bales ocnsumed in the three states in March last year. Mill consumption in the Fifth District dur ing March this year represented 39.8 per cent of national consumption, compared with 39.5 per cent of national consumption in March 1924. COTTON— Spot cotton prices in the Carolinas moved downward during the latter part of March and the first half of April, falling from an average of 25.02 cents per pound during the week ending March 21st to an average of 23.77 cents during the week ending April n th. On March 20th the Bureau of the Census released its final cotton ginning report for the 1924 season, placing the year's production at 13,618,751 equivalent 500 pound bales, an increase of 3,479,080 bales over the 1923 crop of 10,139,671 bales. The Department of Agriculture’s estimate of the 1924 crop last December was 13,153,000 running bales, practically 500,000 bales under the actual production, but the fall weather was so exceptionally favorable for late cotton that an under estimate of the yield was almost inevitable. In the Fifth District, North Carolina grew 823,278 bales in 1924, South Carolina 806,065 bales, and Virginia 38,301 bales, all exceeding the December estimate and South Carolina exceeding her 1923 production Total yield in the three states was 1,667,644 bales, compared with 1,836,991 bales grown in 1923. The decrease in yield does not tell the whole story, however, the price decline in 1924 in comparison with 1923 causing an even greater reduction in rural income than the lower production. Prices during the period from August to February averaged about 7 1 - 2 cents per pound less than during the corresponding period the year before, and this decline, with the reduced yield, lowered the growers’ receipts in the Fifth District in the neighbor hood of $85,000,000 in comparison with the money they received for the 1923 crop, the loss on seed not in cluded. Cotton consumed in American mills during March totaled 582,674 bales, compared with 550,132 bales used in February this year and 485,840 bales in March 1924. The report, when released on April 14th by the Census Bureau, proved lower than had been expected, with a resultant depressing effect upon the cotton market. Cotton on hand in consuming establishments on March 3 1, 1925, amounted to 1,644,793 bales, com pared with 1,546,210 bales on February 28, 1925, and 1,503,852 bales on March 31st last year. Public ware houses and compresses held 2,237,115 bales on March 3 1, 1925, compared with 3,075,140 bales so held on February 28, 1925, and 2,000,552 bales on March 3 1, 1924. Imports of cotton in March totaled 33,955 bales, compared with 59,984 bales in February and 49,833 bales in March 1924, while March exports totaled 734,697 bales, compared with 811,838 bales in February and 332,168 bales in March last year. Total exports since August 1, 1924, amounted to 6,967,286 bales, compared with 4,682,355 bales during the eight months ending March 3 1, 1924. Intentions to plant figures on cotton are not available this year, and the farmers are therefore compelled to guess as to what other planters are thinking on the acreage question. The crop was not profitable to many growers last year, and this year fertilizer prices are higher, labor, though somewhat more plentiful than in 1924, is scarce and money to hire labor is scarcer, and the danger from boll weevils appears to be much greater than last year. On the other hand preparations for planting are much further advanced now than at the same time last year, and rumors of drought in the Southwestern cotton states may stimulate planting in South Atlantic states. TOBACCO— The 1924 Virginia tobacco crop amounted to approximately 136,391,000 pounds, and sold for nearly $28,000,000. The 1923 crop amounted to 151,303,000 pounds and sold for $30,000,000, while the 1922 crop of 156,542,000 pounds brought nearly $40,000,000. The average price for all types for the 1924 crop was $20.48 per hundred pounds in comparison with an average of $19.75 per hundred for the 1923 crop. The greatest increase was in the price of Dark and Sun-cured, with a slight increase for Bright and a decrease for Burley. Total sales of leaf tobacco on open markets amounted to 85,823,349 pounds, of which approximately 7,000,000 pounds came from North Carolina. Danville was the leading market in pro ducers’ sales with 31,724,407 pounds, South Boston with 9,109,080 ranking second. Lynchburg led the Dark markets and ranked third among all markets with sales totaling 8,196,141 pounds. All of the Virginia markets except Richmond have closed for the season. Tobacco beds have been planted, but plants are small as a result of cool weather. Insects are reported to have damaged many of the young plants, and some beds will require replanting. A considerable in crease in acreage is expected in the Burley district of Southwest Virginia, and North Carolina's acreage is expected to increase about n per cent, just about balancing the decrease in that state last year. 4 BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF MARCH, 1925 AND 1924. Premits Issued 0 CITIES 2 New Alterations Repairs 1925 1924 1 Baltimore, Md...... 777 2 Cumberland, Md... 47 3 Frederick, Md...... 21 4 Hagerstown, Md. *49 5 Danville Va.......... *11 6 Lynchburg, Va.... 20 7 Norfolk, Va.......... 213 16 8 Petersburg, Va..... 222 9 Richmond, Va. 117 10 Roanoke, Va. 33 11 Bluefield, W. Va... 12 Charleston, W. Va. 43 16 13 Clarksburg, W. Va 14 Huntington, W. Va t301 42 15 Parkersburg,W.V a 65 16 Asheville, N. C— 73 17 Charlotte, N. C..... 35 18 Durham, N. C. 19 Greensboro, N. C. 77 82 20 High Point, N. C... 21 Raleigh, N. C........ 101 22 Salisbury, N. C..... 22 8 23 Wilmington, N. C. 24 Winston-Salem, N. C. 96 25 Charleston, S. C ... 11 26 Columbia, S. C..... 4 28 27 Greenville, S. C. Spartanburg, S. C. 33 28 29 Washington, D. C. 356 New Construction 1925 1924 1925 1924 561 1,027 1,032 $ 4,725,840 $ 5,018,100 135,440 25 48 33 168,700 99,620 2 1 15 46,823 *254,105 *20 0 *?,29,700 128,555 26 28 67,136 31 432,109 74 56 612,295 101 26,774 14 10 5 9,220 79 76 2,102,205 198 1,325,785 401,966 61 48 288,692 97 89,400 8 5 26 87,200 989,106 9 25 118,554 71 14 224,275 50 17 495,081 180 35 11,118,667 1,066,368 76,000 5 27 50 196,400 38 62 59 1,322,002 270,500 14 628,688 17 656,550 71 40 10 4 154,497 238,500 311,140 36 37 341,099 83 250,635 9 14 49 330,150 448,115 46 22 3 148,950 16 10 87,100 17 68,100 4 14,950 8 401,000 10 82 113 93 364,965 460,375 18 20 13,450 8 25,275 36 35 41 5,965 60,701 22 14 24 103,055 269,535 36 44 40 129,510 139,330 285 404 5,054,450 253 2,962,940 Totals.......... 2,859 2,235 2,041 2,141 $19,438,479 $15,873,359 1925 ‘ 1924 Increase or Per Cent of of Decrease Increase 0 Total or Z Valuation Decrease $ 591,840 $ 1,215,720 $— 916,140 — 14.7# 66,556 — 85,710 — 36.4 14,106 2,700 52,097 105.2 2,000 *53,975 0 40,016 74,253 69.3 52,850 92,688 — 231,854 — 32.9 41,020 23,939 231.3 1,130 7,515 134,244 714,570 48.9 72,394 17,010 111,071 36.3 14,807 4,450 1,250 1.4 3,500 714,792 224.3 200,060 44,300 6,340 — 274,701 — 54.8 2,445 66,300 — 14,001 — 1.2 6,425 — 125,725 — 62.0 1,100 18,018 1,057,332 366.5 23,848 21,425 38,132 5.6 87,419 2,025 — 61,668 — 25.6 24,360 40,715 — 34,089 — 8.9 36,585 4,875 — 80,540 — 24.0 3,850 305,380 202.7 1,700 7,915 6,375 15,295 20.5 2,670 5,100 — 369,250 — 90.9 21,900 39,640 — 103,735 — 20.7 31,315 14,197 — 21,769 — 55.2 4,253 9,745 — 42,721 — 60.6 21,760 23,800 — 176,510 — 60.2 13,770 11,665 — 9,953 — 6.6 11,532 2,148,239 268,737 66.5 325,466 $1,464,520 $2,321,656 $ 2,707,984 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 14.99b ♦Hagerstown and Danville figures not included in totals —Denotes decrease tlncludes both new work and repairs NOTE- The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits of the several cities, but take no account of suburban developments. Building permit figures were received for both March 1925 and March 1924 from twenty-seven iden tical cities in the Fifth Reserve District. Total permits issued in the reporting cities for new construction during the month numbered 2,859, estimated valuation of $19,438,479, compared with 2,235 permits and a valuation of $15,873,359 issued for similar work in March last year. Seventeen of the twenty-seven cities reported a larger number of permits during the 1925 month, and twelve cities reported higher valuation figures. Permits for alterations and repairs numbered 2,041, valued at $1,464,520, in March this year, and 2,141 permits and $2,321,656 in March last year. Combined valuation of both new work; and repairs amounted to $20,902,999 in March 1925 and $18,195,015 in March 1924, an increase this year of 14.9 per cent. In percentage increase, Asheville, N. C., led with 366.5 per cent, and Frederick, Md., Petersburg, Va., Charleston, W. Va., and Raleigh, N. C., reported increases of more than 100 per cent in valuation. Rich mond and Washington reported large increases in both number and valuation, and Baltimore reported a big increase in number of permits but showed a lower total valuation. A very large proportion of the work provided for in permits issued this spring is residence or apartment house construction, which probably accounts for the lower percentage increase in estimated valuation in comparison with the increase in the number of permits issued, residence permits naturally being much lower valued than permits for business or industrial purposes. AGRICULTURAL NOTES— Farm work is very much farther advanced this year than last in V ir ginia. Plowing is practically finished, and preparation of land for planting has made excellent progress. Increased acreage of most crops is expected in comparison with 1924, especially in acreage planted in feed crops. Wheat is in fair condition in Virginia, and early sown fields promise good yields, although cool weather retarded development during the first half of April. Corn has not yet been planted on many farms, but if the weather continues favorable a considerable increase in acreage will be made. Pastures have not made much progress during the past two weeks, and many farmers have been forced by feed shortage to turn cattle on the grass too early. Hay prospects appear good, and a large acreage of spring oats has been sown. Fruit prospects are still somewhat problematical. Peaches, plums and cherries have been injured in all parts of the state and prospects are for lower yields than last year, but apple 5 prospects appear excellent. Trees were in full bloom east of the mountains by April 15th, but in the Shenandoah Valley and the Northern counties the majority of the trees will not be in bloom until between the 20th and 25th. The 1924 apple crop of Virginia was the largest on record, 12,7 17 cars having been shipped prior to April 15, 1925, in comparison with 9,827 cars the largest shipment of any previous season. There was an excellent strawberry bloom in the commercial sections, and prospects for this crop are very encouraging. North Carolina has experienced few seasons with such favorable weather as has prevailed this spring, and farm work is consequently much farther advanced than usual. Wheat is in good shape, especially in the Piedmont counties where most of the crop is grown. There have been no reports of any serious damage. Oats, which wintered very badly last year, are reported in fine shape this year, although there was some frost damage in the Piedmont section. Rye acreage was substantially increased this year, and the grain is ranging from fair to good. Prospects for early hay appear good, although the acreage is small. Pastures are doing well, especially in the northern Piedmont and Coastal counties. Small grain crops are in good condition and very promising in South Carolina, and the outlook for fruit is generally satisfactory, although some damage was done to peaches early in April. Rains in January and mild, dry weather during February and March was favorable for growth of wheat, oats, rye, pastures and home gardens, and the condition of these crops average considerably better than on the same date last year. Commercial Irish potato acreage is much smaller this year than in 1924. Small grains in Maryland came through the winter in better condition than was expected last fall, and stands run from good to excellent. Pastures are greening up fairly well, and farmers have turned stock on them in some parts of the state. FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE As Indicated By Reports fromjTwenty-nine Representative Department Stores for the Month of March, 1925. Percentage increase in March 1925 sales over sales in March 1924: Baltimore Richmond Washington 10.2 27.9 9.7 Other Cities 8.5 District 11.4 Percentage increase in sales from January 1st through March over sales during the same three months in 1924: 2.2 14.1 3.3 4.1 3.9 Percentage increase in March 1925 sales over average March sales during the years 1920-1924, inclusive: 1.7 31.3 1.5 — 4.3 4.3 Percentage increase in stock on March 31, 1925, over stock on March 31, 1924: — 0.4 9.7 — 7.3 — 9.9 — 3.1 Percentage increase in stock on March 31, 1925, over stock on February 28, 1925: 12.7 7.3 8.2 8.7 10.2 Percentage of sales during March 1925 to average stock carried during that month: 27.9 29.2 27.0 20.8 26.8 Percentage of sales from January 1st through March 31st to average stock carried during the three months: 73.8 76.1 76.1 57.4 72.6 Percentage of outstanding orders on March 31, to total purchases of merchandise in 1924: 6.4 7.4 4.8 7.1 5.9 — Denotes decreased percentage; other figures show gains. Retail trade in March, as reflected in dollar sales of twenty-nine representative department stores in the Fifth District, exceeded March 1924 sales by 11.4 per cent, and averaged 4.3 per cent above sales during the corresponding month of the five year period 1920-1924, inclusive. Cumulative sales from January 1st through March this year exceeded sales during the same three months last year by 3.9 per cent. Stocks on the shelves, at selling prices, were 3.1 per cent smaller at the end of March than at the end of March 1924, but were 10.1 per cent greater than at the end of February this year. The percentage of average sales during March to average stocks carried during the month was 26.8 per cent, while the percentage of total sales since January 1st to average stocks carried each month during the period was 72.6 per cent, in dicating a rate of turnover of slightly more than 2.9 times. Outstanding orders for merchandise on March 31, 1925, amounted to 5.9 per cent of total 1924 purchases. 6 WHOLESALE TRADE March, 1925. Percentage increase (or decrease) in sales in March 1925, compared with sales in February 1925: 43 Groceries 15 Dry Goods 13 Shoes 18 Hardware 6 Furniture 7.6 Percentage increase 5.6 5.2 21.8 15.6 — 10.7 13 Drugs 7.9 (or decrease) in sales in March 1925, compared with sales in March 1924: 6.0 9.2 2.6 — 8.3 2.2 Percentage increase(or decrease) in sales since January 1, 1925, compared with the corresponding three months of 1924: 2.7 — 14.6 — 2. 2 — 6.1 6.0 — 0.6 Percentage increase — 6.2(10) (or decrease) in stocks on March 31, 1925, compared with February 28, 1925: 0.4(8) — 2.3(6) — 1.7(6) 1.4(3) .......... Percentage increase 14.2(10) (or decrease) in stocks on March 31, 1925, compared with March 31, 1924: — 22.2(8) — 16.2(6) — 2.6(6) — 0.5(3) ......... — Denotes decreased percentage. NO TE: The number of firms reporting stock figures for the dates compared is shown immediately after the percentage figure. One hundred and eight wholesale firms reported on March sales, representing groceries, dry goods, shoes, hardware, furniture and drugs. Increased sales in March in comparison with March 1924 were shown in groceries, dry goods, shoes, hardware and drugs, furniture showing the only decline. March sales also exceeded February sales in all lines except furniture, the greater number of business days in March probably accounting for most of the increases. Cumulative sales from January 1, 1925, through March 31st exceeded cumulative sales during the first three months of 1924 in groceries and furniture, but were less in dry goods, shoes, hardware and drugs. Stocks carried by the reporting wholesalers were greater in dry goods and furniture at the end of March than at the end of February this year, but were less in grocery, shoe and hardware lines. In comparison with stocks on hand March 3 1, 1924, stocks on March 31st this year were less in every line reported upon except groceries. Collections continue slow, but apparently there was a slight improvement during March. Ninety-five firms classified their collections as Good, Fair, Slow or Poor, and of these 73.7 per cent were listed as either Good or Fair in comparison with 72.2 per cent so classified for February 1925 and 75.8 per cent for March 1924. The classifications made by the reporting firms for March 1925 and March 1924 were as follows, exactly the same firms being included both years: Lines Groceries........................ Dry Goods ..................... Shoes _______________ Hardware ___________ Furniture ___________ Drugs ............................. March Totals ................ February Totals ___ .. January T o ta ls_______ March Collections Reported As Slow Poor Good Fair 1925-1924 6 7 0 1 0 0 1 3 1 1 4 4 12 16 12 24 22 16 1925-1924 1925-1924 23 9 4 6 3 2 0 24 11 5 9 2 8 58 53 54 25 7 5 7 3 9 56 52 55 25 20 (Compiled April 20, 1925) 7 5 7 4 3 1 0 20 12 16 1925-1924 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 3 0 2 0 0 0 3 2 0 Total 1925-1924 38 is 11 38 15 11 13 13 5 5 13 13 95 90 93 95 90 93 BUSINESS CONDITION IN THE UNITED STATES. Compiled by the Federal Reserve Board Production in basic industries was smaller in March than in the two preceding months, but was as large as at any time in 1924. Distribution o f merchandise both at retail and wholesale Was in greater volume than a year ago. Wholesale prices, after increasing since the middle o f 1924, remained in March at about the same level as in February. Index of 22 basic commodities corrected for seasonal variation (1919=100). Latest figure-March 120. PRODUCTION. The Federal Reserve B oa rds index o f pro duction in basic industries declined in March to a level 5 per cent below the high point reached in January. Iron and steel production and cotton consumption showed less than the usual seasonal increase during March and activity in the woolen industry declined. There was a further decrease in the output o f bituminous coal. Increased activity in the automobile industry was reflected in larger output, employment, and payrolls. In general, factory employment and pay rolls increased during the month. Value o f building contracts awarded in March was the largest on record, notwithstanding the recent considerable reduction in awards in New York City. TRADE. Wholesale trade in all principal lines increased in March and the total was larger than a year ago. Sales at depart ment stores and by mail order houses increased less than is usual at this time o f the year. Stocks o f shoes and groceries carried by wholesale dealers were smaller at the end o f March than a month earlier, and stocks o f dry goods, shoes, and hardware were smaller than last year. Stocks o f merchandise at department stores showed more than the usual seasonal increase and were somewhat larger than last year. PRICES. Wholesale prices of most groups of commodities in cluded in the index o f the Bureau o f Labor Statistics declined some what in March, but owing to an advance o f fo o d prices, particularly o f meats, the general level o f prices remained practically unchanged. Prices of many basic commodities, however, were lower at the mid dle o f April than a month earlier. Weekly figures for 12 Federal Reserve Banks. Latest figures-April 22nd. BANK CREDIT. Volume o f loans and investments at member banks in principal cities continued at a high level during the fiveweek period ending on April 15. Total loans declined, reflecting chiefly a reduction in loans on stocks and bonds, and also some decrease in loans fo r commercial purposes. Investment holdings, which early in March had been nearly $300,000,000 below the high point of last autumn, increased by the middle of April by about half this amount. Demand deposits, after declining rapidly between the middle o f January and March 25, increased during the follow ing weeks, but on April 15 were still $633,000,000 below the maximum reached in January. A t the reserve banks the volume of earning assets on April 22 was about $75,000,000 below the high point at the end o f February, but continued above the level o f a year ago. Discounts fo r member banks were about twice as large in April as at the exceptionally low point in the middle o f January, while total United States se curities and acceptances held were in smaller volume than at any time during the year. 1922 1923 1924- Weekly figures for Member Banks in 101 leading cities. April 15th. 1925 Latest figures- Somewhat easier money conditions in April were indicated by a decline of one-eighth o f one per cent in the open-market rate on 90-day acceptances to 3% per cent and by sales of prime commercial paper at below 4 per cent. 8