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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON, Chairman and F e d e ra l R eserve A gent

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
E banking
retarded
T Hbusiness in the holidayFederal re­
Fifth

APRIL 30, 1933

serve district during the first half of
March, but since that time available
reports indicate that business has been
in about the same volume as in the
weeks preceding the banking holiday
with indications of seasonal increase
in some lines. There were marked
changes in the statements of condi­
tion of the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond and of reporting member
banks between March 15 and April 15.
About half of the large volume of re­
discounts held by the reserve bank
when the banking holiday ended has
been paid off by borrowing banks, and
the circulation of Federal reserve notes has declined
materially. Member banks, finding no unusual de­
mand for currency when they reopened, have reduced
their cash in vaults, lowered their reserve balances at
the reserve bank, increased their investments in securi­
ties, and reduced their borrowing at the reserve bank.
Their deposits, both demand and time, have advanced
moderately, although they have not regained all the
deposits which were withdrawn during the weeks pre­
ceding the banking holiday. Debits to individual ac­
counts figures during the first four weeks after the
bank holiday were 13.9 per cent below debits in the
corresponding four weeks last year. The commercial
failure record in the Fifth district in March was
better than the record for any month for two years,
and was the best record for March since 1920. The
district figures were better than the National figures
in both number of insolvencies and in aggregate liabili­
ties involved. There was no improvement in employ­
ment conditions between the middle of March and the
middle of April except for some additional Spring work
such as painting, etc., and that was probably not up to
the usual level in amount. Coal production in March
declined materially in comparison with production in
both February 1933 and March 1932, but West Vir­
ginia continued to lead the country in output. Textile




mills in the Fifth district used less cot­
ton per day than in February, but cot­
ton consumption in the Carolinas and
Virginia in March exceeded consump­
tion in March 1932, and made up a
larger percentage of United States
consumption than the cotton used in
the same month last year. South Caro­
lina led all states in av e rse hours of
operation per spindle in place during
March. Spot cotton prices increased
during March and the first three weeks
of April. Retail trade, as reflected in
department store sales in March, av­
eraged 29.2 per cent less in dollar
amount than trade in March last year,
but in view of the banking holiday this
year, which greatly retarded cash sales, and the occur­
rence of Easter in March last year, this year’s record
is on the whole favorable. As in recent months, whole­
sale trade in March in five represeneative lines was in
j less volume than in the corresponding month of the
! preceding year, but showed a seasonal increase over
j the volume of trade in February this year. Collections
were slower in both retail and wholesale establishments
in March 1933 than in March 1932, chiefly due to the
effects of the banking holiday and the freezing of funds
in banks which were unable to reopen. Prospects for
agricultural production are better at this time than they
were in April last year, and surplus stocks of some
farm crops have been reduced. One unfavorable ele­
ment is a material increase in tobacco acreage which
farmers intend to set out this year, but in some sections
of the Fifth district tobacco plants have been attacked
by blue mold, which may prevent the production of too
large a crop.

FIFTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT

Reserve Bank Statement
The principal items of condition on the statement of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond changed ma­
terially between March 15 and April 15, chiefly due to
a tendency to return to a more nearly normal basis
after the banking disturbance of late February and

2

MONTHLY REVIEW

Reserve Bank Statement
000 omitted
ITEMS

April 15 Mar. 15 April 15
1933
1932
1933

Rediscounts held --------------- $ 21,946 $ 47,012 $ 29,153
2,455
20,542
5,260
Open Market paper_________
22,831
48,149
48,149
Government securities -------54,439
75,355 115,703
Total earning assets______
96,076
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.. 177,182 214,449
67,642
47,588
56,429
Members1 reserve deposits----98,776
175,626 179,165
Cash reserves_____________
65.60
62.09
70.63
Reserve ra tio _____________

early March. Rediscounts for member banks, which
had increased by $29,518,000 between February 15 and
March 15, declined between the latter date and April
15 by $25,066,000, and the portfolio of open market
paper, which had risen by $18,900,000 during the pre­
ceding month, dropped $15,282,000 during the past
month. Holdings of Government securities remained
unchanged from March 15 to April 15. The declines
in rediscounts and holdings of open market paper re­
duced the total earning assets of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond by $40,348,000 during the month
under review. There was a decrease in the circulation
of Federal reserve notes amounting to $37,267,000 be­
tween the middle of March and the middle of April,
but the decrease was relatively small in comparison with
the increase of $114,028,000 which occurred during the
preceding month, and indicates that a very large amount
of currency is still being hoarded. Member banks re­
duced their reserve deposits at the reserve bank by
$11,213,000 during the past month. The several changes
in the statement previously mentioned, with others of
less importance, reduced the cash reserves of the Fed­
eral Reserve Bank of Richmond by $3,539,000 between
March 15 and April 15, but raised the ratio of cash
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined by 8.54
points.
Most of the condition figures on April 15,1933, were
higher than those of April 15, 1932, rediscounts for
member banks, which decreased $7,207,000, being the
only item which declined during the year. Tfie Bank’s
holdings of bills purchased rose $2,805,000 and Govern­
ment securities owned rose $25,318,000 during the year.
The several changes in assets resulted in a net increase
in total earning assets amounting to $20,916,000 be­
tween April 15,1932, and April 15,1933. The volume
of Federal reserve notes in circulation rose by $81,106,000 during the year, and member bank reserve de­
posits gained $8,841,000. Cash reserves of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond increased by $76,850,000
between the middle of April last year and this, but the
ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined rose only 5.03 points, the smallness of the
increase being due of course to the marked rise in note
circulation during the year.

Member Bank Statement
All member banks in a dozen of the leading Fifth
district cities send weekly condition reports to the Fed­




eral Reserve Bank of Richmond, and a composite state­
ment of condition is usually published in the Review.
At present, however, the figures reported are not com­
parable with figures reported a year ago, due chiefly
to the influence exerted by the banking holiday on cer­
tain items in the statement. Suspension of the mem­
ber bank condition figures is therefore in effect for the
present.

Time and Savings Deposits
Time deposits in thirty-nine regularly reporting
member banks and aggregate deposits in eleven mutual
savings banks in Baltimore totaled $373,563,559 at the
end of March 1933, a lower figure than either $383,731,566 at the end of February 1933 or $386,298,019 at
the end of March 1932. Both member banks and sav­
ings banks reported declines in deposits between Feb­
ruary 28 and March 31 this year, but the decrease in
time deposits during the year was all in the mutual
savings banks.

Debits to Individual Accounts
Total Debits 4 weeks ended
April 12, 1933

April 13, 1932

Asheville, N. C-------------Baltimore, Md....................
Charleston, S. C________
Charleston, W. Va.______
Charlotte, N. 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___ ________
Portsmouth, Va___ _____
Raleigh, N. C__________
Richmond, Va....................
Roanoke, V a .__________
Washington, D. C.______
Wilmington, N. C______
Winston-Salem, N. C.___

$ 7,294,000
221,467,000
7.122.000
28.558.000
31.893.000
4.807.000
3.976.000
15.054.000
2.510.000
6.522.000
3.303.000
9.640.000
11.087.000
6.500.000
31.006.000
3.079.000
14.732.000
89.616.000
16.603.000
164.962.000
4,218,000
28.055.000

$ 8,399,000
266,639,000

Fifth District Totals___

$712,004,000

$826,584,000

11,202,000

28.357.000
34.145.000
5.525.000
4.207.000
13.216.000
9.441.000
9.634.000
5.757.000
10.370.000
12.367.000
6.689.000
31.104.000
3.243.000
14.414.000
98.519.000
18.357.000
197.252.000
8,022,000

29.725.000

Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts
in the banks of twenty-two leading Fifth district cities
are shown in the accompanying table for four weeks
ended April 12,1933, in comparison with corresponding
figures for four weeks ended April 13, 1932. Similar
figures for the preceding month this year, ended March
15, are not included this month, since the banks were
closed a week or more during that period. We have
been unable to obtain debits figures from Columbia and
Spartanburg since the banking holiday, the Clearing
House not functioning in the former city and no banks
being open in the latter.
Aggregate debits in the four weeks ended April 12,
1933, amounted to $712,004,000, a decrease of $114,-

MONTHLY REVIEW
580,000, or 13.9 per cent, under debits amounting to
$826,584,000 reported for the four weeks ended April
13, 1932. Three cities, Charleston, W. Va., Durham
and Raleigh, reported higher figures for the 1933 pe­
riod. The largest decreases were reported by cities in
which one or more large banks failed to open after the
banking holiday. In view of the smaller number of
reporting banks included in 1933 figures, and lower
price levels in many lines, the average decline of only
13.9 per cent in aggregate debits this year is a good
showing.

Commercial Failures
In spite of banking disturbances during March, the
insolvency record in the Fifth district was the best for
many months. According to Dun & Bradstreet, there
were 84 bankruptcies in the district in March, com­
pared with 184 failures in March 1932, a decrease this
year of 54.3 per cent. In the United States as a whole,
there were 1,948 failures last month, a decrease of only
34 per cent under 2,951 failures in March 1932. Lia­
bilities in the Fifth district last month totaled $1,523,870, compared with $6,792,115 in March last year, a
decline of 77.6 per cent, while total liabilities in the
United States amounted to $48,500,212, a decline of
only 48,3 per cent in comparison with liabilities total­
ing $93,760,311 in March 1932. The number of insol­
vencies in the Fifth district last month was the lowest
for any month since August 1931 and the lowest for
any March since 1920, and last month’s aggregate lia­
bilities were the lowest for any month since October
1931 and for any March since 1920. Every one of the
twelve reserve districts reported fewer failures in
March 1933 than in March 1932, and all districts ex­
cept Cleveland reported lower liabilities.

Employment
There was no improvement in employment condi­
tions during the past month, but plans are shaping up
for work which will give additional people at least part
time employment. Much of the work in contemplation
is made work, especially undertaken by Governmental
or semi-official groups to provide sufficient employment
to meet actual needs of workers. Wages for this type
of work are relatively low, but are sufficient to enable
the workers to meet their bills for necessities of life.
There has been some seasonal increase in certain lines
of work, such as painting, gardening, farm work, etc.,
but on the whole there appears to be less of this class
of work this year than in most years. The weather,
however, has been unfavorable for outside work in
April, and more work may develop a little later, when
Spring weather comes.

Coal Production
Production of bituminous coal in the United States
during the month of March amounted to 23,646,000 net
tons as against 27,134,000 tons mined in February 1933
and 32,250,000 tons in March 1932. Total production
of soft coal during the present calendar year to April
1 amounted to 77,840,000 net tons, a materially smaller




3

amount than for any other recent year. Coal shipped
through Hampton Roads ports during the present calen­
dar year to April 1 totaled 4,570,633 tons, compared
with 4,643,835 tons shipped prior to April last year.
The March 25 report of the Bureau of Mines, De­
partment of Commerce, showed production figures by
states for February. West Virginia produced 6,553,000 net tons during the month, to hold first place over
Pennsylvania, which produced 6,133,000 tons. The
three coal producing states of the Fifth district, West
Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, dug approximately
28 per cent of all soft coal mined in February, the same
percentage of the total that the district showed in
February 1932, 1931 and 1930.

Textiles
Production in the textile industry in the Fifth dis­
trict declined slightly during March, daily consumption
of cotton by Fifth district mills during the month being
less than daily consumption in February. Fifth district
mills consumed 242,009 bales of cotton in March this
year, of which South Carolina mills used 119,185 bales,
North Carolina mills used 111,520 bales, and Virginia
mills 11,304 bales. In February 1933 Fifth district
mills consumed 220,749 bales and in March 1932 they
used 233,171 bales. Consumption in the Fifth district
was 48.97 per cent of National consumption in March
1933, a lower figure than 49.98 per cent in February
this year, but higher than 47.69 per cent in March 1932.
The higher percentage for the Fifth district this year
indicates that the district held its own in textile manu­
facturing somewhat better during the past year than
mills in some other sections of the country.
The Bureau of the Census issued a report on April
20 on spindles in place in March, spindles active at
some time during that month, and average hours of
operation per spindle in place. On March 31, 1933,
there were 31,031,684 spindles in place in the United
States, of which 12,504,286, or 40.3 per cent, were in
the Carolinas and Virginia. Active spindles in March
totaled 23,429,122 in the United States, of which 11,292,204, or 48.2 per cent, were in the Fifth district
Active hours of operation per spindle in place aver­
aged 227 hours in the United States last month, but two
of the three cotton manufacturing states in the Fifth
district were well above the average, South Carolina
leading all states with 387 hours per spindle, and North
Carolina ranking sixth with 235 hours. Virginia, with
218 hours, failed to measure up to the National average.

Cotton Statistics
Spot cotton prices declined on ten Southern spot
markets during the second half of March, but advanced
again in April and more than recovered the ground lost
during the preceding month; in fact, prices advanced
to the highest level reached since last October. In our
Review last month, we quoted 6.32 cents as the aver­
age price paid on March 17 on ten markets for upland,
short staple, middling grade cotton. The price de­
clined to 6.16 cents on March 31, but then turned up­
ward to an average of 6.42 cents on April 7, went to

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

6.70 cents on April 14, and on April 21 reached 7.29
cents.
Cotton consumption in the United States in March
1933 totaled 494,167 bales, compared with 441,663
bales used in February this year and 488,907 bales in
March 1932. Total consumption for the eight months
of the present cotton year—August 1 to March 31—
amounted to 3,747,316 bales compared with 3,56S;889
bales consumed in the corresponding period ended
March 31, 1932. Manufacturing establishments held
1,343,314 bales on March 31, compared with 1,441,641
bales held on February 28 this year and 1,566,080 bales
on March 31,1932. Public warehouses and compresses
held 8,906,571 bales in storage at the end of March this
year, compared with 9,379,990 bales so held a month
earlier and 8,769,049 bales on March 31 last year.
March exports totaled only 487,988 bales, compared
with 557,022 bales sent abroad in February this year
and 927,127 bales exported in March last year. Ex­
ports during the eight months of this cotton year totaled
6,084,724 bales, compared with 6,852,433 bales shipped
over seas during the corresponding eight months ended
March 31, 1932. Spindles active in March numbered
23,429,122, compared with 23,659,100 in February this
year and 24,817,340 in March 1932.
Cotton growing states consumed 412,305 bales in
March 1933, compared with 370,607 bales used in Feb­
ruary and 398,205 bales in March 1932. Last month’s
consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to
83.4 per cent of National consumption, compared with
81.4 per cent of National consumption used in the cot­
ton growing states in March last year. Of the 412,305
bales of cotton consumed in cotton growing states in
March, the Fifth district mills used 242,009 bales, or
58.7 per cent, compared with 58.6 per cent of Southern
consumption attained in the district in March last year.

Tobacco Marketing
All Virginia tobacco markets have closed for the sea­
son, and total producers’ sales for the season amounted
to 63,020,968 pounds for a total of $5,483,242, an aver­
age of $8.70 per hundred pounds, according to reports
to the Commissioner of Agriculture. The 1932 tobacco
crop was the smallest since 1876, and, while prices were
higher than in the previous season, the average price is
the lowest since 1909, with the exception of 1931-1932.
Flue-cured sales amounted to 42,796,623 pounds, at an
average price of $8.11 per hundred, compared with 69,652,779 pounds at an average of $7.03 for the pre­
ceding season. Sales of fire-cured tobacco, amounting
to 13,276,960 pounds, were the smallest since 1909, the
earliest year for which records by types are available.
Sales for the preceding season were 26,900,611 pounds.
The average price for this type was $8.19 per hundred,
compared with $4.94 for the 1931 crop and $8.26 for
the 1930 crop. Burley sales amounted to 5,755,418
pounds, at an average price of $14.74 per hundred
pounds, compared with the previous season’s sales of
7,952,657 pounds at an average of $9.11 per hundred.
Sun-cured sales, amounting to only 1,191,967 pounds,
were the smallest for any year since 1909, when records
for this type were first available. The average price o f ,




$6.57 was slightly higher than the average of $5.76
for the 1931 crop. Among the individual tobacco mar­
kets, Danville led in season sales with 24,444,333
pounds, ranking far ahead of South Boston with 7,815,959 pounds and Lynchburg with 4,190,702 pounds.

Agricultural Notes
Although temperatures in March were below normal
in some sections of the Fifth reserve district, and rain­
fall was unevenly distributed, the weather on the whole
was more favorable for crop development and the prep­
aration of land for this year’s operations than was the
case last year. In Virginia, crop prospects on April 1
were much more promising than last year at the same
time. Farm work is seasonally advanced, and cold
weather in March retarded development of fruit buds.
The condition of truck crops in commercial sections is
above average, and if weather continues favorable
larger yields than last year should be secured. The
wheat crop came through the winter in better condition
than was expected after the poor start made last Fall,
and a probable production of 7,398,000 bushels is indi­
cated, compared with 6,253,000 bushels harvested last
year. Pastures are backward, and those damaged by
drought last Summer have been slow to recover, but
there is plenty of moisture in the ground to bring
grasses out very quickly when warm weather develops.
There has been marked improvement in pastures during
April. Planting of early commercial Irish potatoes
was practically completed by April 1, and, while it is
yet too early to forecast the crop, prospects in each
of the early states are higher than in 1932, when March
freezes caused much damage to early plants. Maryland
winter grains and pastures are reported below average,
due to cold and wet weather in March, but a yield of
7,326,000 bushels of wheat is indicated, compared with
only 4,940,000 bushels last year. Prospects for fruit
are generally good all over the state, and planting of
early potatoes and other truck crops is progressing
nicely. West Virginia planting is later than usual, fre­
quent and heavy March rains having delayed soil prep­
aration. Wheat is in good condition, and a yield of
approximately 1,495,000 bushels is expected, compared
with 1,276,000 bushels harvested in 1932. West Vir­
ginia is one of the few states in the Union to show a
better winter wheat condition this year than in 1932.
Heavy rains and cool weather during March were re­
sponsible for a low condition of pastures on April 1,
and the wet soil also curtailed all plowing during the
Spring. In North Carolina there was a lack of mois­
ture in March, and in some fields the ground got too
hard to work, but on the whole good progress was
made toward preparation of land for this year’s plant­
ing. The growth of small grain has been very good,
and an indicated yield of 4,474,000 bushels of wheat
is almost 800,000 bushels above the five-year average.
The oat crop is up to average, and the condition of rye
is better than last year at this time. Due to an absence
of extremely cold weather since peach trees began to
bloom, prospects on April 1 were very good for a full
setting of fruit. Early Irish potatoes were in better
condition than a year ago, and prospects of better then

5

MONTHLY REVIEW
average yields for nearly all truck crops were good.
South Carolina farmers have made better progress in
planting this year’s crop than is usual at this time of
the year, and prospects for favorable returns insofar
as yields are concerned are good. The condition of
winter grain ranges from fair to good; prospects for
peaches are 63 per cent, compared with 48 per cent a
year ago; pastures are in better condition than a year
ago; and the April 1 condition of 70 per cent for early
potatoes compares with only 58 per cent on April 1,
1932. Fertilizer mills report larger sales this year than
last, farmers probably being able to purchase fertilizer
with proceeds of Government seed and crop loans.

Construction
Building permits issued in March in thirty-two Fifth
district cities provided for much less work than per­
mits issued in March 1932. Last month 1,324 permits
were issued for all classes of work, compared with
2,403 permits issued in March last year, a decrease of
44.9 per cent. Total valuation figures for March 1933
amounted to only $963,382, a decrease of $2,694,606,
or 73.7 per cent, under the total of $3,657,988 for per­
mits issued in March 1932. Only eight of the thirtytwo cities reported higher valuation figures for March
this year, and practically all of these increases were due
to unusually low figures in March last year rather than
to a large volume of work this year. Frederick, Mary­
land, reported relatively large figures for last month,
but the three largest cities, Baltimore, Washington and
Richmond, reported very low figures.




Building Permits Issued for the Months of
March 1933 and 1932
CITIES

Permits Issued
1932
1933
927
395
10
5
5
4
6
10
24
19
10
15
31
25
95
89
6
2
28
31
80
70
40
19
7
3
63
78
13
8
28
16
19
14
51
16
19
11
33
32
5

Baltimore, Md.........
Cumberland, M d ._
Frederick, Md.........
Hagerstown, Md.....
Salisbury, Md.........
Danville, Va............
Lynchburg, Va.........
Norfolk, Va............
Petersburg, Va........
Portsmouth, Va.........
Richmond, Va..........
Roanoke, Va.............
Bluefield, W. Va.__
Charleston, W. Va....
Clarksburg, W. Va.~
Huntington, W. Va...
Asheville, N. C____
Charlotte, N. C.____
Durham, N. C____
Greensboro, N. C__
High Point, N. C.__
Raleigh, N. C______
10
Rocky Mount, N. C...
6
Salsibury, N. C-----1
Wilmington, N. C...,
14
Winston-Salem, N. G
35
Charleston, S. C___
20
Columbia, S. C____
26
Greenville, S. C___
19
Rock Hill, S. C____
8
Spartanburg, S. C_
12
Washington, D. C.... 306
Totals _________ 1,324

12

7
6

11

51
36
36
23

8

23
687
2,403

Total Valuation
1932
1933
$1,250,160
$270,240
11,990
820
2,160
10,960
708
4,435
186,730
8.425
156,742
7,002
27,036
33,050
146,600
74,445
9,960
540
25,502
8,810
91,233
62,071
66,851
7,507
8,290
1.425
33,662
10,030
3,735
3,217
13,238
3,980
4,571
13,085
94,798
19,760
64,430
14,330
13,580
10,495
1.875
18,300
6,351
13,613
2.875
5,960
6,675
500
11,750
11,400
26,464
16,935
7,195
9,914
6,182
86,561
7,820
27,445
3,025
3,650
4,885
4,122
302,940
1,258,330
$963,382
$3,657,988

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

Retail Trade, 32 Department Stores_________
Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District
March 1933 sales, compared with sales in March 1932:
—27.9
-32.9
—26.1
—27.4
—29.2
Jan.-M ar. 1933 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Mar. 1932:
—23.0
—27.5
—21.9
—23.5
—24.4
Mar. 31,1933, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1932:
—14.9
—20.9
—19.8
—21.7
—20.0
Mar. 31, 1933, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1933:
•f 5.5
+ 1.5
+ 3.8
*f 1*9
*“ 2.8
1
Number of times stock was turned in March 1933:
.307
.274
.296
.211
.279
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1933:
.794
.74
.817
.566
.757
Percentage of March 1, 1933, receivables collected in M arch:
25.1
19.0
24.5
20.5
21.7

Department store sales in thirty-two Fifth district
stores in March 1933 averaged 29.2 per cent less than
sales in March 1932, a very satisfactory comparison in
view of the banking holiday this year and the occur­
rence of Easter in March last year. Among the indi­
vidual cities from which three or more stores reported,
Washington with a decrease of 26.1 per cent in sales
made the best record for the month. In total sales
during the first three months of 1933, the thirty-two
stores averaged a decrease of 24.4 per cent in compari­
son with sales in the first quarter of 1932, Washing­
ton again leading with a decline of 21.9 per cent.
Stocks in the reporting stores increased seasonally
during March, rising by 2.8 per cent over those on
hand at the end of February, but on March 31 this
year stocks averaged 20.0 per cent less than stocks
on hand a year earlier. Part of this decline was due
to price changes during the year. The reporting stores
turned their stock an average of .279 times during
March, and between January 1 and March 31 stock
was turned .757 times, both of these averages being
lower than those for the corresponding periods in 1932.
The percentage of collections in March 1933 to total
accounts receivable on March 1 was materially lower




than the percentage for March 1932, a natural result
of the banking holiday which tied up all funds for more
than a week and some funds indefinitely. Richmond
reported the highest collection percentage, while Bal­
timore reported the lowest.

Wholesale Trade, 61 Firms
22
8
6
13
12
Groceries Dry Goods
Shoes
Hardware
Drugs
March 1933 sales, compared with sales in March 1932:
—11.9
— 3.2
—20.9
— 7.0
—262 '
March 1933 sales, compared with sales in February 1933:
+14.0
+ 5.2
+28.9
+13.9
+ 2.3
Jan.-Mar. 1933 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Mar. 1932:
—11.8
— 1.0
—18.8
— 6.9
—16.3
Mar. 31, 1933, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1932:
____
—16.2(8*) —12.2(3*) —25.8(5*) —12.9(7*)
Mar. 31, 1933, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1933:
+ 1.1(8*) — .2(3*) —10.5(5*) — 1.4(7*)
____
Percentage of March 1, 1933, receivables collected in March:
53.5(13*) 28.7(5*)
44.6(6*)
27.0(11*) 48.2(8*)
♦Number of reporting firms.

Sixty-one wholesale firms in the Fifth reserve dis­
trict sold more goods in March 1933 than in February
this year, a seasonal increase, but in comparison with
March 1932 sales those for March 1933 were lower
in dollar amount in all lines reported upon. All five
lines for which data are available report lower total
sales for the first quarter of 1933, in comparison with
sales in the first quarter of 1932.
Stocks of the reporting firms did not change mater­
ially during March this year, but on March 31 all lines
showed smaller stocks than on the corresponding date
a year ago, most of the decreases being chiefly due to
the year’s decline in wholesale prices.
Collections in March did not show the usual seasonal
improvement over February collections, being adverse­
ly affected by the banking holiday. Collections in all
lines except shoes were slower in March 1933 than in
March 1932.

{•Compiled April 21, 1933)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
(Compiled bgr the Federal Reserve Board)

Production and distribution of commodities, which
declined during the latter part of February and the
early part of March, increased after the middle of the
month. The return flow of currency to the reserve
banks, which began with the reopening of banks on
March 13, continued in April. Following the an­
nouncement by the President on April 19 that the issu­
ance of licenses for the export of gold would be sus­
pended, the value of foreign currencies in terms of the
dollar advanced considerably, and there was increased
activity in the commodity and security markets.

Production and Employment
Production at factories and mines decreased from
February to March, contrary to seasonal tendency,
and the Board’s seasonally adjusted index declined
from 64 per cent of the 1923-25 average to 60 per
cent, compared with a low level of 58 per cent in July
1932. At steel mills there was a decline in activity
from an average of 20 per cent of capacity in Feb­
ruary to 15 per cent in March, followed by an increase
to more than 20 per cent for the month of April, ac­
cording to trade reports. In the automobile industry
where there was also a sharp contraction in output
when the banks were closed, there was a rapid in­
crease after the reopening of banks. From February
to March, production in the food and cotton textile
industries showed little change in volume; activity in
the woolen industry declined sharply, and there was a
reduction in daily average output at shoe factories. At
lumber mills activity increased from the low rate of
February, while output of bituminous coal declined
by a substantial amount.
The volume of factory employment and payrolls
showed a considerable decline from the middle of
February to the middle of March. Comprehensive
figures on developments since the reopening of banks
are not yet available.
Value of construction contracts awarded in the first
quarter, as reported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation,
was smaller than in the last quarter of 1932 by about
one-third.

Distribution

Volume of freight-car loadings, on a daily average
basis, declined from February to March by about 7
per cent, reflecting in large part a substantial reduction
in shipments of coal. Shipments of miscellaneous
freight and merchandise, which usually increase at this
season, declined in the early part of March and in­
creased after the middle of the month. Department




store sales, which had declined sharply in the latter
part of February and in the first half of March, in­
creased rapidly after the reopening of banks.

W holesale Prices
Wholesale prices of leading commodities fluctuated
widely during March and the first three weeks of Ajjril.
In this period grain prices increased sharply and prices
of cotton, hides, nonferrous metals, pig iron, scrap
steel, and several imported raw materials advanced
considerably. During the same period there were re­
ductions in the prices of rayon, petroleum, and certain
finished steel products.

Bank Credit
Currency returned rapidly to the reserve banks and
the Treasury following the reopening of the banks,
and on April 19, the volume of money in circulation
was $1,500,000,000 less than on March 13, when the
peak of demand was reached. Funds arising from the
return flow of currency were used to reduce the re­
serve banks’ holdings of discounted bills by $1,035,000,000, and their holdings of acceptances by $200,000,000; at the same time member bank reserve bal­
ances increased by $390,000,000. As a result of the
decline in Federal reserve note circulation and an in­
crease in Federal reserve bank reserves, chiefly through
the redeposit of gold and gold certificates, the reserve
ratio of the twelve Federal reserve banks combined
advanced from 46.5 per cent on March 13 to 61.5 per
cent on April 19.
Deposits of reporting member banks in New York
increased rapidly after the reopening of the banks, and
on April 19 net demand deposits were $620,000,000
larger than on March 15, reflecting in part an increase
of $380,000,000 in bankers’ balances, as funds were
redeposited by interior banks.
Money rates in the open market, after a temporary
advance in the early part of March, declined rapidly,
but were still somewhat higher than early in February.
By April 21 rates on prime commercial paper had de­
clined from 4Y* per cent to a range of 2-2% per cent;
rates on 90-day bankers’ acceptances from 3% per
cent to
of one per cent, and rates on renewals of
call loans on the stock exchange from 5 per cent to
one per cent.
On April 7 the discount rate of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York was reduced from 3j£ to 3 per
cent. The bank’s buying rate on 90-day bankers' ac­
ceptances was reduced from 3j£ per cent on March
13 to 2 per cent on March 22.

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