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MONTHLY REVIEW CRE DI T , B U S I N E S S AND A G R I C U L T U R A L CONDI T I ONS F R E D E R I C A. DELANO, C hairman and F ed eral R e s e r v e A gent FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND RICHMOND, VIRGINIA____________________________________________________________ APRIL 30, 1936 U SIN E SS on the whole was ma March last year. Spot cotton prices terially better in the Fifth Federal fluctuated through a narrow range be Reserve district in March and early tween the middle of March and the middle of April, making practically April than in the corresponding period no net change. Cotton consumption last year, and in some lines was above and exports were considerably higher seasonal levels in comparison with in March 1936 than in March 1935 . other recent months. In banking, re Very little tobacco was marketed in discounts declined to none at the Fed March in the Fifth district, and all eral Reserve Bank of Richmond early markets closed for the season before in April for the first time since the or about April 1 . Manufacturing of Bank began making loans, but by April tobacco held up to recent high levels 15 rediscounts had increased to a in March, and production of all forms higher figure than that on March 15 . of manufactured tobacco exceeded pro The past month witnessed a seasonal duction in March last year. Tobacco reduction in the volume of Federal taxes paid to the Treasury were 9.5 Reserve notes in actual circulation, and per cent greater last month than taxes member bank reserve deposits also de clined. Reporting member banks in leading cities in paid in March 1935 . Retail trade as reflected in de creased outstanding loans, but their deposits declined partment store sales exceeded March 1935 trade by slightly and there were also decreases in investments in 8.2 per cent, and sales in the first quarter of 1936 were securities and in cash in vaults. Debits to individual 10.4 per cent larger than sales in the first quarter of accounts figures in four weeks ended April 8, 1936 , 1935 . Wholesale trade in March 1936 exceeded the show a normal increase of 9.8 per cent over debits in volume of business done in March 1935 in all of five the preceding four weeks, ended March 11 , due chiefly leading lines for which data are available. All of the to quarterly payments of dividends and interest on five lines showed larger seasonal gains over February April 1 and income tax payments on March 15 . Debits business than they showed in the comparison between in the more recent period also exceeded debits in the March and February last year, and collections in the corresponding period last year by 10.8 per cent. The five lines were better last month than in the correspond Fifth district made a better record in business failures ing month last year. Construction has increased mark in March than the total for the United States, Fifth edly in the Fifth district in recent months, and build district insolvencies being 5.7 per cent fewer in num ing permits issued in leading cities in March were ber and 51.1 per cent lower in liabilities than March nearly double the March 1935 permits in estimated Contracts actually awarded last month 1935 insolvencies, while the Nation showed a small in valuation. crease in the number of failures and 5.9 per cent rise showed an increase of 53.2 per cent over contracts | in aggregate liabilities. Employment conditions appear j awarded in March last year. Agriculture is getting a | to have improved more in the past six weeks than in j very late start this year, wet and cold weather having any similar period since the depression began, and in delayed plowing and planting. Some fruits have been some localities actual shortage of labor for farm work damaged by late freezes, but the apple crop does not and roed construction is threatened. Coal production appear to have suffered materially. The early Irish in March declined sharply from February output, at potato crop in the district will be cut by late planting least part of the drop being seasonal. Textile mills in and rotting of potatoes in the ground, and acreage the Fifth district continued operations on full time, planted in spring grains will be reduced from intended and materially exceeded the scale of operations of acreage figures. 2 MONTHLY REVIEW Reserve Bank Statement ITEMS 000 omitted Apr. 15 Mar. 15 Apr. 15 1936 1936 1935 35 171 $ Rediscounts held ...................... $ Open market paper.................. 190 190 4,186 4,197 Industrial advances .................. 8 15 Foreign loans on gold............... Government securities ............. 116,716 116,716 Total earning assets............... 121,271 121,153 Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.... 174,638 176,767 Members* reserve deposits........ 177,505 196,605 Cash reserves ........................... 276,199 274,351 Reserve ratio .......................... 71.08 70.78 $ 295 196 3,613 4 113,563 117,671 154,212 128,445 192,646 63.93 Between the middle of March and the middle of April 1936 , rediscounts for member banks increased at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by $ 136 ,000 , but from April 1 to April 6, inclusive, the Bank’s port folio held no discounts for members, the first time since the early days of the Bank’s history that not a single member bank was borrowing at the Reserve bank. Industrial advances made by the Bank under authority of Section 1 3 (b) of the Federal Reserve Act, as amended, declined by $ 11,000 between March 15 and April 15 , and foreign loans on gold decreased by $ 7 ,000 . No changes occurred in holdings of open mar ket paper or Government securities in the month. Total earning assets registered a net increase of $ 118,000 between the middle of March and the middle of April. Federal reserve notes in actual circulation decreased seasonally by $ 2 ,129,000 in the month under review, and member bank reserve deposits dropped by $ 19,199 ,000 . The several changes mentioned, with others of less importance, increased the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by $ 1,848,000 be tween March 15 and April 15 , but the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined de clined by 3 /1 0 of 1 point. Condition figures for April 15 , 1936 , were nearly all larger than those for April 15 , 1935 . Rediscounts for member banks held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on the 1936 date were $ 124,000 less than rediscounts a year earlier, and holdings of open market paper dropped by $6,000 during the year, but all other items in the table increased. Foreign loans on gold rose by $ 4,000 between April 15 last year and this, and the Bank’s holdings of Government obligations rose by $ 3 , 153 ,000 . These changes in assets resulted in a net increase of $ 3 ,600,000 in total earning assets during the year under review. Federal reserve notes in actual circulation on April 15 this year exceeded those in circulation on April 15 , 1935 , by $ 20 ,4 2 6 ,0 00 , and mem ber banks reserve deposits rose by $ 4 9 ,060,000 during the same period. Cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose by $ 8 3 ,553,000 between the middle of April last year and this, and the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined gained 6.85 points. Statement of 41 Member Banks The accompanying table shows the principal items of condition of forty-one regularly reporting member banks in the Fifth Federal Reserve district as of three dates, April 15 and March 11 , 1936 , and April 17 , 1935 , ITEMS Loans on stocks and bonds (in cluding Governments) .......... All other loans.... ............. ....... Total loans and discounts Investments in securities........... Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank.... Cash in vaults........................... Demand deposits ..................... Time deposits ........................... Money borrowed ...................... Apr. 15 1936 000 omitted Mar. 11 Apr. 17 1936 1935 $ 69,816 $ 71,720 $ 71,964 126,133 130,269 131,277 205,949 201,989 203,241 369,241 371,657 382,671 81,327 115,386 137,702 16,044 15,382! 17,196 408,141 410,908 359,308 193,159 192,494 195,310 0 0 0 thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest available figures with those a month and a year earlier. During the month between March 11 and April 15 , total loans and discounts at the forty-one banks rose by $ 3 ,960 ,000 , an increase of $ 5 ,864,000 in “all other loans” more than offsetting a decline of $ 1,904,000 in loans on stocks and bonds. Investments in securities declined during the month by $ 2 ,416 ,0 0 0 , and there was also a decrease of $ 2 2 ,316,000 in aggregate reserve bal ance of the reporting banks at the Reserve bank. Cash in vaults dropped by $ 1 , 152,00 between March 11 and April 15 . Aggregate deposits declined during the month, a decrease in demand deposits amounting to $ 2 ,767,000 exceeding an increase of $ 665,000 in time deposits. Comparison of condition figures for April 15 , 1936 , with corresponding figures for April 17 , 1935 , shows several material changes. The most outstanding gain was in demand deposits, which rose $ 48 ,833,000 be tween the middle of April last year and this. Most of the increased deposits went to swell reserve balances at the Federal Reserve bank, which rose by $ 34 ,059,000 during the year. Total loans and discounts were also slightly higher on the 1936 date, an increase of $ 4 ,856 ,000 in “ all other loans” exceeding by $ 2 ,708,000 a de crease of $ 2 ,148,000 in loans on securities. There was a small increase of $ 662,000 in cash in vaults during the year. Investments in securities in the forty-one reporting banks were less on April 15 this year than on the corresponding date a year earlier, this item showing a decline of $ 13 ,430,000 between April 17 , 1935 , and April 15 , 1936 . Time deposits also showed a small decline of $ 2 ,151,000 during the year under review. None of the reporting banks had any redis counts or bills payable during the past year. Time and Savings Deposits Time deposits in forty-one reporting member banks in the Fifth district and aggregate deposits in eleven mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $ 399 ,697,903 at the end of March 1936 , a higher figure than either $ 398 , 170,933 reported at the end of February this year or $ 394 ,451,072 at the end of March last year. Both the reporting member banks and the savings banks gained in deposits during the past month, and the mutual savings banks increased during the past year, but the reporting member banks showed a small decline between the end of March last year and this. MONTHLY REVIEW Debits to Individual Accounts CITIES 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.............. Portsmouth, Va......... Raleigh, N. C....... ..... Richmond, Va............ Roanoke, Va.............. Spartanburg, S. C. ... Washington, D. C. Wilmington, N. C. Winston-Salem, N. C. 000 omitted Total debits, four weeks ended March 11, 1 April 10, April 8, 1936 1935 1936 $ 10,687 295,086 14,45543,470 48,612 23,929 6,894 6,784 20,036 13,548 14,947 6,699 12,379 12,934 7,868 42*215 3,264 36,117 120,533 22,697 6,722* 224,299 9,135 35,290 $ 8,643 286,053 12,483’ 35,520 44,920 23,917 6,816 6,273 19,592 12,430 14,901 6,143 13,262 12,454 6,762 36,697 3,125 23,160 109,500 21,533 6,909* 200,637 7,393 27,674 $ 9,202 268,520 11,506 41,869 51,523 19,053 6,244 5,155 18,963 12,891 13,073 6,546 11,874 12,357 6,420 44,022 3,762 22,314 109,215 17,994 198,552 9,685 30,966 District Totals ...... $1,031,878 $ 931,706 $ 939,888 *Spartanburg, S. G, figures not included in totals. Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the banks of twenty-three leading cities of the Fifth Federal Reserve district in four weeks ended April 8, 1936 , totaling $ 1 ,03 1 ,878,000 showed an increase of $ 91 ,990 ,000 , or 9.8 per cent, over debits amounting to $ 939 ,888,000 in four preceding weeks ended March 11 . The increase was seasonal, reflecting a large volume of income tax payments on or about March 15 and quar terly payments on April 1 . All of the reporting cities except Huntington reported higher figures for the more recent period. In comparison with debits in four weeks ended April 10 , 1935 , those for four weeks ended April 8, 1936 , show an increase of $ 100 , 172 ,0 0 0 , or 10.8 per cent. Nineteen of the twenty-three reporting cities showed higher figures for the 1936 period under review, the four cities failing to gain being Charlotte, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Wilmington. Debits to individual ac counts figures reflect the volume of business transac tions passing through the banks of the reporting cities. 3 volved in March 1935 insolvencies. Five of the twelve Reserve districts reported fewer failures in March this year, and one district reported no change, while six districts reported lower liabilities last month. The Boston, Philadelphia and Richmond districts showed lower figures for both number of bankruptcies and aggregate liabilities involved in March 1936 than in March 1935 . In the first quarter of 1936 , the Fifth district had 137 failures for $ 3 ,230 ,0 0 0 , compared with 157 failures for $ 2 ,339,180 in the first quarter of 1935 , while in the United States there were 2,879 failures for $ 48 ,464,000 in the first quarter of this year in compari son with 3,080 failures for $ 4 0 ,401,697 in the first quarter last year. Employment Employment conditions in the Fifth district im proved between the first of March and the middle of April, especially in the demand for building trades men and labor for road construction. There is actually a shortage of labor in many rural sections, and farmers are finding it difficult to secure sufficient help to plant their crops. Relief rolls have been drawn upon so heavily that in many lines of work calls for employees cannot be filled with suitable men. There is greater activity in residential construction than at any other time for several years, and a considerable volume of industrial building is also being done. The severity of winter weather damaged roads and bridges more than usual, and made necessary the employment of hundreds of additional men in order to get repairs made before the heavy summer travel begins. Coal Production As is customary at this time of the year, bituminous coal production in the United States declined in March from February production, and this year fell materially behind the comparatively large March 1935 production figures. Bituminous coal mined in March 1936 totaled only 3 0 ,692,000 net tons, a decrease of 25.8 per cent under 41 ,375,000 tons mined in February this year and 20.7 per cent less than 38 ,701,000 tons dug in March last year. Production during the first quarter of 1936 totaled 111 ,397,000 tons, an increase of 1 per cent over 110 ,287,000 tons mined in the first quarter of 1935 . Bituminous coal shipments through Hampton Roads ports to April 11 , 1936 , totaled 5 ,956,616 net tons, com pared with 5 ,882,296 tons shipped through the same ports prior to April 11 , 1935 . Commercial Failures In its report for March 2 8 , the Bureau of Mines, The business failure record in March was better in Department of the Interior, gave production figures the Fifth district than in the United States as a whole. of coal by states for February. West Virginia led all There were 50 insolvencies in the district last month, states with 10 ,410,000 net tons, and Pennsylvania compared with 53 in March 1935 , a decrease of 5.7 ranked second with 9 ,046,000 tons. The three Fifth per cent, while there were 946 insolvencies in the district states of Maryland, Virginia and West Vir United States last month compared with 940 in March ginia produced 11 ,676,000 tons in February this year, 1935 , an increase of 6 /1 0 of 1 >per cent. In liabilities or 28.2 per cent of National production. involved in March 1936 failures, a total of $ 504,000 for the Fifth district showed a decrease of 51.1 per Textiles cent in comparison with $ 1,031,000 involved in March Textile mills ran full time in the Fifth district m 1935 bankruptcies, while liabilities in the Nation total ing $ 16 ,271,000 in March 1936 showed a rise of 5.9 March 1936 , and cotton consumption in the district per cent over aggregate liabilities of $ 15 ,361,000 in totaled 266,890 bales, compared with 246,903 bales used 4 MONTHLY REVIEW in February this year and 220,948 bales in March last year. In March 1935 manufactured goods began to accumulate in mill warehouses and in the latter part of the month a considerable number of mills restricted output and cotton consumption by closing a few days. Of the 266,890 bales of cotton used in March 1936 , North Carolina mills used 143,698 bales, South Caro lina mills used 109,152 bales, and Virginia mills used 14,040 bales, all higher figures than corresponding figures for March 1935 . Consumption of cotton in the Richmond reserve district in March this year totaled 48.6 per cent of National consumption, compared with 47.8 per cent of National consumption for the district in February 1936 and 45.8 per cent in March 1935 . On March 2 1 , the Department of Commerce issued a report on activity in the cotton spinning industry for February 1936 . On February 2 9 , 1936 , there were 2 8 ,864,406 spindles in place in the United States, North Carolina leading with 6 ,09 3 ,824 , or 21.1 per cent of the total, South Carolina ranking second with 5 ,757,590 spindles, or 19.9 per cent, and Massachusetts third with 4 ,584,540 spindles, or 15.9 per cent. The Fifth dis trict as a whole had 43.3 per cent of total spindles in place in the United States at the end of February 1936 . In actual spindle hours of operation, South Carolina led all states for February with 1 ,718 ,583 ,452 , or 25.5 per cent of the National total of 6 ,736 ,374,454 hours, and North Carolina ranked second with 1 ,566 ,848,595 hours, or 23.3 per cent, while Georgia had 92 5 ,304,636 hours, or 13.7 per cent, to take third place. The Fifth district, with 43.3 per cent of total spindles in the United States in place in February, showed 51.2 per cent of total hours of operation. In actual hours of operation per spindle in place, South Carolina with an average of 298 hours per spindle ranked first, North Carolina with 257 hours ranked fifth, and Virginia with 248 hours ranked sixth, all being well above the Na tional average of 233 hours per spindle. Cotton Statistics Spot cotton prices changed very little between the middle of March and the middle of April, the differ ence between the highest and lowest quotations during the month being only about a third of a cent per pound. On March 13 , the average price paid on ten Southern spot markets for middling grade upland cotton was 11.29 cents per pound. From this level the average price advanced to 11.40 cents per pound on March 20 and to 11.64 cents on March 2 7 . There was a slight decline to 11.57 cents on April 3 , followed by advances to 11.61 cents on April 11 and 11.62 cents on April 17 , the latest date for which official figures are available. On April 19 last year the average price on the same markets was 11.96 cents per pound. Cotton consumption in the United States in March 1936 totaled 548,913 bales, compared with 516,649 bales used in February this year and 482,373 bales in March 1935 . Total consumption for the eight months of the present cotton year—August 1 to March 31 —amounted to 4 ,072,759 bales compared with 3 ,647,359 bales con sumed in the corresponding period ended March 31 , 1935 . Manufacturing establishments held 1 ,334,394 bales on March 31 , compared with 1 ,404,476 bales held on February 29 this year and 1, 116,018 bales on March 31 , 1935 . Public warehouses and compresses held 6 ,570,182 bales in storage at the end of March this year, compared with 7 ,247,803 bales so held a month earlier and 7 ,788,346 bales on March 31 last year. March exports totaled 404,741 bales, compared with 406,022 bales sent abroad in February this year and 317,798 bales exported in March last year. Exports during the eight months of this cotton year totaled 4 ,814,360 bales, compared with 3 ,572,630 bales shipped over seas during the corresponding eight months ended March 31 , 1935 . Spindles active in March numbered 23 , 175 ,502 , compared with 2 3 ,337,070 in February this year and 2 4 ,573,602 in March 1935 . Cotton growing states consumed 464,934 bales in March 1936 , compared with 431,591 bales used in February and 389,218 bales in March 1935 . Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to 84.7 per cent of National consumption, compared with 80.7 per cent of National consumption used in the cotton growing states in March last year. Of the 464,934 bales of cotton used in the cotton grow ing states in March, the Fifth district mills consumed 266,890 bales, or 57.4 per cent, compared with 56.8 per cent of Southern consumption attained in the district in March last year. Final ginning figures on the 1935 cotton crop were issued on March 20 , too late for inclusion in the March 31 issue of the Review. Total ginnings for the United States amounted to 10 ,417,237 running bales, the equivalent of 10 ,635,156 standard 500 pound bales. This figure shows an increase over 9 ,636,559 standard 500 pound bales ginned from the 1934 crop, but is below 13 ,047,262 bales ginned from the 1933 crop. In the Fifth reserve district, South Carolina ginnings totaled 743,766 bales from the 1935 crop, compared with 681,791 bales from the 1934 crop and 735,089 bales from the 1933 crop. North Carolina ginned 573,361 bales during the past season, compared with 631,420 bales in 1934 and 686,990 bales in 1933 . Vir ginia ginned only 27,199 bales for 1935 , compared with 32,961 bales in 1934 and 34,397 bales in 1933 . The entire Fifth district ginned 1,344,326 bales from the 1935 crop, 1 ,346,172 bales from the 1934 crop, and 1 ,456 ,4 7 6 . bales from the 1933 crop. All of the gin ning figures for Fifth district states were slightly below the estimated production figures released in December. It should perhaps be pointed out that a considerable number of bales of cotton grown in Virginia are ginned in North Carolina. Tobacco Marketing Virginia tobacco markets have closed for the season, and the Agricultural Statistician has issued the follow ing summary on the sales. “ Producers’ sales of all types of leaf tobacco during the past season amounted to 132 ,702,909 pounds for $ 2 4 ,302 ,555 , or an average of $ 18.31 per hundred pounds, according to warehouse reports to the Commissioner of Agriculture. Sales for the 1934-1935 season amounted to 102 ,629,133 pounds for $ 2 4 ,837 ,836 , or an average of $ 24.20 per hundred MONTHLY REVIEW pounds. Flue-cured sales for the season amounted to 103 ,549,522 pounds, at an average price of $ 19.98 per hundred pounds, compared with the previous season’s sales of 75 ,789,401 pounds, at an average of $ 28 .12 . Sales of this type were the highest since the season of 1927 - 1928 . Approximately 30 ,000,000 pounds of to bacco from North Carolina in excess of the Virginia tobacco sold in that State is included in the Virginia sales. The sales of fire-cured tobacco amounted to 20 , 125,938 pounds, at an average price of $ 10.30 per hundred pounds. The sales for the previous season were 17 ,689,637 pounds, at an average price of $ 12 . 17 . Burley sales amounted to 6 ,204,122 pounds, at an aver age price of $ 19.86 per hundred. Sales were the small est since the 1932-1933 season, but the average price was the highest since the 1929-1930 season. Sun-cured sales amounted to 2 ,823,327 pounds, and the average price was $11.00 per hundred, compared with the pre vious season’s sales of 2 ,693,311 pounds at an average price of $ 9.72 per hundred. The sales were the largest since the 1931-1932 season, and the average price was the highest since the 1929-1930 season. The total num ber of warehouses operating during the season was 56 , compared with 60 during the previous season.” Among individual Virginia markets, Danville led in sales with 53 ,052,947 pounds, South Boston ranking second with sales totaling 22 ,963,493 pounds. Both of these mar kets sold flue-cured tobacco exclusively. Lynchburg led fire-cured tobacco markets with sales aggregating 6 ,591,546 pounds, Farmville ranking second with 6,182,109 pounds. All burley tobacco was sold at Abing don, and all sun-cured tobacco at Richmond. Lawrenceville with an average of $22.68 per hundred pounds paid the highest average price for flue-cured tobacco in the 1935-1936 season, while Blackstone with $ 11.99 led the fire-cured markets. North Carolina and South Carolina tobacco sales for the 1935-1936 season were reported in the March 31 , 1936 , and the November 30 , 1935 , issues of the Month ly Review, respectively. Tobacco Manufacturing The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury De partment issued a report on April 21 on tobacco manu facturing in March. Cigarettes produced totaled 11 ,193 ,046 ,810 , compared with 10 , 199 ,611,800 cigarettes made in March 1935 , and taxes paid to the Treasury on the cigarettes amounted to $ 33 ,580,630 in March 1936 and $ 30 ,600,593 in March 1935 . Cigars made last month totaled 377 , 167 ,0 5 2 , compared with 351 ,694,102 cigars made in the corresponding month last year, and taxes paid on the cigars totaled $ 937,856 and $ 877,722 in March 1936 and 1935 , respectively. Manufactured tobacco made in March this year, including smoking and chewing tobacco, amounted to 26 ,996,069 pounds, compared with 24 ,787,829 pounds in March last year, and taxes on the product totaled $ 4 ,859,325 this year and $ 4 ,461,992 last year. Snuff production totaled 3 ,319,160 pounds and taxes thereon amounted to $ 597 ,449 in March 1936 , compared with 3 , 182,654 pounds and taxes totaling $ 572,878 in March 1935 . The taxes enumerated totaled $ 39 ,975,260 in March this year, an 5 increase of 9.5 per cent over similar taxes totaling $ 36 ,513,185 in March 1935 . Agricultural Notes All farm work has been very much delayed this year on account of excessive rains and floods, and in the upper half of the Fifth district by unusually low tem peratures. On April 1 very little plowing had been done in Virginia and Maryland, and much less than usual in the Carolinas. Low ground suffered severely from over-flowing streams in March and April, and freezes in April damaged peaches materially in the up per half of the district. Apple prospects have not been materially affected. Early potatoes on April 1 had not come up in Virginia, and in the Carolinas many potatoes were rotting in the ground before sprouting. The winter and spring weather was so severe that fall sown grains are not in as good condition as in most years, but grain crops can recover quickly and final production figures depend largely on May weather. The delay in farm work has increased the need for agricul tural laborers in an effort to put in contemplated acre ages, and farmers are finding labor quite scarce in some localities. Construction Building Permits Issued in March 1936 and 1935 CITIES Permits Issued 1935 1936 801 Baltimore, Md............ 8 Cumberland, Md........ 11 Frederick, Md............ 11 Hagerstown, Md........ 17 Salisbury, Md’............ 35 Danville, Va......... ..... 40 Lynchburg, Va........... 129 Norfolk, Va............... 1 Petersburg, Va........... 51 Portsmouth, Va......... 111 Richmond, Va............ 59 Roanoke, Va............ 8 Bluefield, W. Va....... 115 Charleston, W. Va... 49 Clarksburg, W. Va.... 23 Huntington, W. Va... 35 Asheville, N. C.......... Charlotte, N. C......... 107 32 Durham, N. C.......... 59 Greensboro, N. C....... 49 High Point, N. C..... 18 Raleigh, N. C............ 12 Rocky Mount, N. C— 9 Salisbury, N. C......... Winston-Salem, N. C. 119 50 Charleston, S. C......... 54 Columbia, S. C.......... 80 Greenville, S. C......... 34 Rock Hill, S. C. 25 Spartanburg, S. C..... 575 Washington, D. C..... District Totals ...... 2,727 704 7 13 22 19 30 41 116 2 15 116 43 7 86 21 23 29 81 30 25 35 24 9 10 58 55 33 50 16' 3 413 2,136 Total Valuation 1936 1935 $1,394,040 $ 585,120 8,350 14,620 65,216 7,712 7,145 9,840 155,530 16,000 107,740 37,975 58,102 43,035 98,199 52,170 4,000 720 17,280 10,070 333,776 164,010 73,902 145,885 6,800 1,770 219,070 41,220 29,811 5,755 273,755 11,550 29,940 31,605 162,707 99,009 171,318 49,423 118,057 22,366 25,248 33,120 14,300 18,050 10,540 8,085 16,460 31,975 135,501 65,788 522,802, 29,209 93,038 58,470 171,807 117,040 51,700 30,300 6,000 23,982 2,187,085 1,668,373 $6,587,201 $3,416,265 Building permits issued in thirty-one Fifth district cities in March 1936 showed improvement over the fig ures reported for March last year in both number and total valuation. Last month, 2,727 permits were issued 6 MONTHLY REVIEW for all classes of work, compared with 2,136 permits issued in March 1935 , an increase of 27.7 per cent. Total valuation figures for March 1936 amounted to $ 6 ,587 ,201 , an increase of 92.8 per cent over the total of $ 3 ,416,265 for permits issued in March last year. Twenty-one cities reported more permits and twentyfour reported higher valuation figures last month than for the same month last year. All of the five largest cities, Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Norfolk and Charlotte, reported higher valuation figures for March this year than last. Reports indicate that a consider ably higher percentage of work provided for this year is new construction than was the case a year ago, when most work other than public structures was confined to repair or alteration jobs. Retail Trade, 30 Department Stores Wholesale Trade, 56 Firms Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District March 1936 sales, compared with sales in March 1935: + 9.6 + 4.6 +11.8 + 3.7 + 8.2 Jan.-March 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-March 1935 + 9.7 + 6.8 +13.9 + 8.7 +10.4 Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1935 +10.6 + 2.8 + 8.2 + 3.4 + 5.2 March 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 29, 1936 +10.2 + 7.9 + 7.3 + 5.9 + 7.7 Number of times stock was turned in March 1936: .355 .329 .366 .324 .347 Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1936: .892 .85 .994 .84 .914 Percentage of March 1, 1936, receivables collected in March: 32.8 29.9 27.1 28.8 28.7 Contracts actually awarded for construction work in the Fifth reserve district in March this year totaled $ 17 ,136 , 158 , including both rural and urban projects, compared with $ 11 ,185,368 in contracts awarded in March 1935 , according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Of the March 1936 contracts, $ 6 ,109 ,238 , or 36 per cent, was for residential types of construction, exactly the same percentage of total contracts represented by residential work in March 1935 . 21 Groceries 6 Shotis 11 Hardware 11 Drugs March 1936 sales, compared with sales in March 1935: + 8.8 +21.3 + 2.0 +16.9 +13.2 March 1936 sales, compared with sales in February 1936: + 7.6 +25.5 +30.4 +31.2 + 4.7 Jan.-Mar. 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Mar. 1935: + 4.9 + 6.9 + 1.3 + 1.7 + 4.6 Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Mar. 31, 1935: _ .1 (8*) —1219(3*) +22.8(4*) + 1.9(6*) Mar. 31, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 29, 1936: +■4.8(8*) + .7(3*) —-12.9(4*) —i .6(6*) Percentage of March collections to receivables on March 1: 10313(12*) 4215(4*) 40.7(5*) 50.5(10*) 70.0(7*) Note: Sales and stock changes are percentages. 7 Dry Goods (Compiled April *Number of reporting firms. are percentages. 21 , 1936 ) All other figures in the table MONTHLY REVIEW 7 BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (Compiled by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) Production and employment at factories increased from February to March, while output of minerals declined. There was considerable expansion in retail trade. Production and Employment The Board’s combined index of industrial production, which includes both manufacturing and mining and makes allowance for seasonal changes, remained un changed in March at the February figure of 94 per cent of the 1923-1925 average. Production of auto mobiles rose sharply in March to a total of 425,000 passenger cars and trucks and continued to increase during April. There was a seasonal increase in output of steel in March, followed in the first three weeks of April by a rapid rise in activity. Estimates of the rate of production in that period averaged around 67 percent of capacity as compared with the rate of 59 percent reported for March. Production of cement and lumber increased more than seasonally from Feb ruary to March, and activity at meatpacking estab lishments and at silk mills also increased, although a decline is usual in these industries at this time of the year. There was little change in output at cotton tex tile mills, while at woolen mills activity decreased by more than the usual amount. Production of anthracite and bituminous coal showed a substantial reduction from the relatively high level of February and this decrease accounted for the decline in total output at mines. Factory employment increased by more than the usual seasonal amount from the middle of February to the middle of March, and payrolls showed a larger in crease. Employment increased in the machinery in dustries, at sawmills, and at establishments producing wearing apparel. There was a decrease in the number of workers at plants producing rubber tires and tubes, where a strike was in progress in the middle of March. At automobile factories the number employed declined slightly, while payrolls showed a considerable increase. The value of construction contracts awarded, accord ing to figures of the F. W. Dodge Corporation, showed a seasonal increase from February to March. Awards for residential building increased seasonally and con tracts for other private construction advanced to the highest point since 1931 . Value of awards for publiclyowned projects continued considerably smaller than in December and January, when the dollar volume of such contracts was relatively high. Distribution Retail trade, which had been reduced in January and February by unusually severe weather, increased con siderably in March. Sales at department and variety stores and by mail order houses serving rural areas showed a more than seasonal increase. The number of new automobiles sold was also larger than in Feb ruary. Freight-car loadings of most classes of commodities increased from February to March by more than the usual seasonal amount. Total loadings declined some what from the relatively high level of the three preced ing months, however, reflecting a sharp reduction in shipments of coal. Commodity Prices The general level of wholesale commodity prices, which had declined somewhat between the third week of February and the middle of March, showed rela tively little change in the following four weeks. Re tail prices of foods declined during March. Bank Credit Excess reserves of member banks, after declining sharply in the last half of March, increased by about $ 300 ,000,000 in the first three weeks of April to a total of $ 2 ,640 ,000 ,00 0 . This increase, like the preced ing decline, was due chiefly to operations of the Treas ury. After the middle of March Treasury balances at the Federal Reserve banks were built up through the collection of taxes and receipts from the sale of new securities, and in April these balances were drawn upon to meet expenditures. Partly as a result of these expenditures, deposits at reporting member banks in leading cities, which had declined in March, increased in the first half of April, when total loans and investments of these banks also increased. From February 26 to April 15 total loans and investments of reporting member banks showed an increase of about $ 800 ,00 0 ,000 , reflecting increases of $ 380 ,000,000 in investments, of $ 180 ,000,000 in loans to brokers and dealers in securities, and of $ 240 ,000,000 in so-called “ other” loans, which include loans for com mercial, industrial, and agricultural purposes.