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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

BY CALDWELL HARDY, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
There is usually a seasonal decline in the volume
of business in July, the summer needs of the peo­
ple having been provided and it being too early for
fall trade to open up, but on the whole the July
dullness in the Fifth District was less marked this
year than during any year since the post-war in­
flation period. There are a few signs of weakness
in the business structure, but signs of strength are
much more numerous.
Among the unfavorable factors operating against
business at present is the decline in forward orders
being placed by retailers and wholesalers. Many
manufacturers are finding difficulty in securing
enough new business to keep their plants running
full time, especially in the textile trade, but few of
the orders placed earlier in the year have been can­
celled and consequently the mills have not yet had
to restrict running time very much. The uncertainty
about the probable outturn of this year's cotton
crop is another deterrent factor to normal business
at present, the danger of the August migration of
the boll weevil minimizing the importance attached
to condition reports. Labor shortage in some ag­
ricultural sections is a further handicap to be over­
come.
As previously stated, elements of strength in the
business structure are far more numerous than the
elements of weakness enumerated in the preceding
paragraph. The most striking feature of the pres­
ent situation is the great purchasing power of the
ultimate consumer, and the willingness of the pub­
lic to buy whatever it wants justifies confidence for
the near future. Signs of this large power to buy
goods and of the disposition to supply needs are
visible on every hand. The volume of debits to
customers’ accounts in the banks of reporting cities
is running considerably above the volume reported
a year ago, and compares favorably with earlier
months this year, taking seasonal trends into ac­
count. Reports from retail stores show increased
sales in comparison with July 1922, and some of




AUGUST 31, 1923
the stores that have put on special sales are getting
remarkable results for this season of the year.
Consumers are displaying none of the disregard
for values that was so marked in 1918, 1919 and
part of 1920, and articles in the striped silk shirt
class do not sell readily, but the stores offering
good standard merchandise at fair prices are get­
ting a very satisfactory amount of business. Credit
is available for all legitimate needs at reasonable
rates. Savings deposits in both savings and com­
mercial banks are high, and are steadily increasing.
Business failures are declining in number and im­
portance. Householders and industries seem as­
sured of an adequate supply of bituminous coal
during the coming winter. Labor is fully employed
at wages that are little below the high levels of the
war and post-war periods, and the workers are
using their earnings much more wisely now than
then. The volume of building operations for which
permits are being issued appears to insure a con­
tinuation of full employment for several months
at least. Finally, the outlook for the farmers of
the Fifth District compares favorably with prospects
in any other section. The three leading crops in
the District are corn, cotton and tobacco, with the
growing of fruit, grain and truck as important
subsidiaries. Corn prospects are promising, larger
yields being indicated by present condition than
last year. The outlook for cotton in Virginia and
North Carolina is far above the national average,
with prospects in South Carolina for a better yield
than last year. Tobacco in South Carolina is be­
ing marketed at good prices, and the crop is bet­
ter in both quality and quantity than last year.
North Carolina prospects are good for a full crop
of fair quality, and Virginia’s crop has made ex­
cellent progress in recent weeks. The fruit pros­
pects are the best for the past three years in quan­
tity, and the quality of the apple crop in Virginia
is unusually good. Grain produced satisfactory
yields this year, and truck crops are on the whole
good.

The National Summary will be found on pages 10 and 11.

CONDITION OF SEVENTY-SEVEN REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES.
ITEMS

August 8, 1923

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.....

458,170,000

July 11, 1923
$

456,347,000

August 9, 1922
$

415,040,000*

132.886.000
591.056.000

133.262.000
589.609.000

123.917.000
538.957.000

33.681.000
13.732.000
325.731.000
151.950.000
36.488.000

33.873.000
14.697.000
330.290.000
152.994.000
37.744.000

34.961.000
12.920.000
331.747.000
140.940.000
7,829,000

♦Does not include Rediscounts.

Seventy-seven member banks, located in thirteen of the Fifth District’s leading cities, send weekly con­
dition reports to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the purpose of the reports being to give the Re­
serve Bank and the Reserve Board an indicator of credit and financial conditions and trends throughout
the District. For the information of our readers, we publish in the table herewith figures showing the
principal items on the reports from the seventy-seven institutions, figures being shown as of the close of
business August 8 and July n , 1923, and August 9, 1922, thus affording an opportunity for comparisons
between the figures for the latest available date with those reported a month ago and a year ago.
Between July nth and August 8th, few changes of importance are indicated. Total Loans and Dis­
counts by the reporting banks to customers show an increase of $1,823,000, but all other items show de­
creases within the month. Total Investments in Bonds and Securities dropped $376,000, Reserve Balance
with Federal Reserve Bank declined $192,000, Cash in Vaults decreased $965,000, Demand Deposits drop­
ped $4,559,000, Time Deposits declined $1,044,000, and Borrowings from the Reserve Bank decreased
$1,256,000.
A comparison of the figures reported for August 8, 1923 with those as of August 9, 1922 indicates
that credit is being used to a considerably greater degree this year than last. The amounts shown in Item
1, Total Loans and Discounts, are not comparable because of a change in the method used in computing
the figure, the 1922 figure excluding rediscounts, but the increase of more than forty million dollars shown
during the year is certainly greater than the volume of rediscounts outstanding a year ago. Item 8, Bor­
rowed from Federal Reserve Bank, shows a very large increase during the year, the August 9, 1922 total
of $7,829,000 having risen to $36,488,000 on August 8, 1923, a rise of 366.1 % . Item 2, Total Investments
in Bonds and Securities, increased $8,969,000; Item 4, Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank, de­
creased $1,280,000; and Item 5, Cash in Vaults, increased $812,000. Item 6, Demand Deposits, declined
$6,016,000 between August 9th last year and August 8th this year, but Item 7, Time Deposits, rose $ 11,
010,000 during the same period, making a net gain of $4,994,000 in the aggregate of deposits.
SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS
The monthly reports from fifteen mutual savings banks in Baltimore show a slight decrease in the total
of deposits at the close of business July 31st in comparison with deposits at the end of June, but a large
increase over deposits on July 31, 1922. The July decrease under June figures appears to be a normal de­
velopment, having been noted three out of the past four years. Total deposits in the fifteen reporting
banks at the end of July 1923 amounted to $137,190,684, compared with aggregate deposits of $127,391,229
on July 31, 1922, $123,345,754 on July 31, 1921, and $120,142,672 on July 31, 1920. The total deposits
in the fifteen banks on July 31st this year represent an increase of 14.2% over deposits on July 31, 1920,
and a gain of 7.7% within the past year.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS
A comparison of the statements of condition of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as of August
15 and July 18, 1923, show practically no change in the volume of credit outstanding during the past month.
An increase in the Cash Reserves of the bank from $74,340,747.29 on July 18th to $79,215,105.54 on Au­
gust 15th, being greater than the increases made in deposit and Federal Reserve note liabilities, raised the
reserve ratio of Cash to deposit and Federal Reserve note liabilities combined from 54.03% on July 18th
to 56.23% on August 15th. Between the same two dates Member Bank Reserve deposits rose from $58,
.123,638.03 to $59,693,747.74; the volume of Federal Reserve Notes in Actual Circulation increased from
$78,124,250 to $79,453,255; and Total Bills on Hand declined from $68,949,410.48 to $68,715,101.21, the
last mentioned change being merely a daily fluctuation.




2

At the close of business August 16, 1922, the Cash Reserve held by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond amounted to $108,289,457.14; Total Bills on Hand amounted to $35,695,153.34; Federal Reserve
Notes in Actual Circulation totaled $79,573,080; and Member Bank Reserve Deposits amounted to $56,
374,043.45. The reserve ratio on August 16, 1922 was 78.54%.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT IN LEADING TRADE CENTERS
TOTAL DEBITS FOR THE FOUR WEEKS ENDING
CITIES
August 8, 1923

July 11, 1923

August 9, 1922]

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..........................................

$

22,630,000
357.400.000
25.855.000
32.182.000
31.270.000
18.798.000
9.125.000
7.603.000
16.164.000
19.918.000
17.201.000
9.350.000
24.266.000
17.273.000
6.995.000
61.177.000
27.345.000
104.368.000
22.141.000
8.725.000
167.392.000
15.823.000
29.319.000

$

19,822,000
376.461.000
29.338.000
35.736.000
40.945.000
21.003.000
8.912.000
8.680.000
16.456.000
20.062.000
19.164.000
11.127.000
24.493.000
21.707.000
7,044,000
62.638.000
28.753.000
119.064.000
22.762.000
10.567.000
194.019.000
17.907.000
30.857.000

$

17,618,000
351.442.000
23.122.000
28.731.000
27.841.000
15.594.000
6.782.000
6.839.000
18.425.000
15.020.000
14.145.000
7.353.000
18.413.000
14.348.000
6.463.000
57.600.000
20,000,000
96.097.000
19.204.000
7.293.000
159.239.000
16.820.000
21,345,000

Totals for 23 cities..................................

$

1,052,320,000

$

1,147,517,000

$

969,734,000

In the accompanying table, shown above, we give in tabular form figures showing the total of all debits
to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the banks of twenty-three of the chief trade centers of the
Fifth District, totals for the four weeks ending August 8, 1923, July 11, 1923, and August 9, 1922 being
included for comparative purposes.
Debits in the twenty-three reporting cities aggregated $1,052,320,000 during the four weeks ending
August 8, 1923, compared with a total of $1,147,517,000 during the four weeks ending July 11, 1923, a
decrease during the more recent period of $95,197,000, or 8.3% . This decline is seasonal, since the period
ending July nth contained the large volume of quarterly and semi-annual payments that fall due at the
turn of the year, while the August 8th period contained only the normal volume of monthly transactions.
All of the reporting cities show the usual decrease during the month except Asheville, N. C. and Cumber­
land, Md., in which small increases were reported.
The four weeks ending August 8, 1923, with total debits amounting to $1,052,320,000, shows a sub­
stantial increase over the corresponding four weeks last year, ending August 9, 1922, during which the re­
porting cities had aggregate debits amounting to $969,734,000, the gain being $82,586,000, or 8.5 %. Every
reporting center shows an increase during the year except two cities in North Carolina, in which small de­
clines were reported.
BUSINESS FAILURES IN THE TWELVE FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICTS
JULY, 1923 AND 1922.
The usual figures on business failures in the twelve Federal Reserve Districts are included in the table
herewith, the figures being furnished each month by Dun’s Review. These statistics show both the num­
ber of insolvencies and the total of liabilities involved for July 1923 in comparison with July 1922, each
Reserve District being shown individually.
For the country as a whole, the table shows that July 1923 witnessed 1,23.1 bankruptcies, with total
liabilities aggregating $35,721,188, in comparison with 1,753 bankruptcies reported in July 1922, with lia­
bilities of $40,010,313, a decrease of 29.8% in the number of failures and a decline of 10.7% in the ag­
gregate of liabilities involved. Eight of the twelve Reserve Districts show fewer failures this year than
last, the four districts reporting more failures being the Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh and Twelfth, and seven




3

of the twelve districts report lower liabilities. The number of failures reported for the nation in July was
less than the number reported in June, but July liabilities exceeded those in June.

1923

1922

Per Cent
Increase or
Decrease

Boston, First................................... .
New York, Second..............................
Philadelphia Third............................
Cleveland, Fourth...............................
Richmond, Fifth..................................
Atlanta, Sixth......................................
Chicago, Seventh................................
S t Louis, Eighth.................................
Minneapolis, Ninth.............................
Kansas City, Tenth.............................
Dallas, Eleventh..................................
San Francisco, Twelfth.....................

91
298
40
91
76
82
136
47
71
66
81
152

130
384
. 86
163
150
173
249
87
60
61
64
146

—30.0
—22.4
—53.5
—44.2
—49.3
—52.6
—45.4
—46.0
18.3
8.2
26.6
4.2

$ 1,644,931
7,049,066
3,979,044
5,763,981
1,301,279
1,743,751
5,382,698
563,872
1,163,446
2,795,103
2,576,000
1,758,017

$ 2,393,565
8,035,662
1,676,773
5,164,164
2,349,539
2,157,713
11,484,832
1,721,083
1,142,174
891,386
1,230,581
1,762,841

— 31.3
— 12.3
137.3
11.6
— 44.6
— 19.2
— 53.1
— 67.2
1.9
213.6
109.3
— 0.3

Totals...........................................

1,231

1,753

—29.8%

$ 35,721,188

$ 40,010,313

— 10.7%

Number
City and District

Liabilities
1923

1922

Per Cent of
Increase or
Decrease

In the Fifth District, the July record is the best for any month since November 1920 in both the num­
ber of insolvencies and the total of liabilities involved, and the percentage decreases in both number and
liabilities in comparison with July 1922 are greater than in the nation as a whole. July 1923 witnessed 76
failures in the District with liabilities of $1,301,279, compared with the July 1922 figures of 150 failures
with liabilities of $2,349,539, a decrease in number of 49.3% this year, and a decline of 44.6% in the
total liabilities involved.
The average liability per failure in July 1923 was $17,122 in the Fifth District and $29,018 in the na­
tion as a whole, compared with average liabilities in July 1922 of $15,664 in the Fifth District and $22,
824 in the nation.
LABOR— Reports on the labor situation in the Fifth District during July and early August are con­
flicting, some localities having all the labor needed while others report more or less serious shortages.
Generally speaking, the demand for and the supply of labor are fairly well balanced in the larger cities,
the shortages existing chiefly in the rural communities and small cities and towns. All sections agree,
however, in reporting sufficient demand to provide for those who want to work. In the cities skilled work­
men are still in great demand, but the supply of common labor appears to be adequate, the calls for this
class of workmen apparently having passed the peak of three months ago. All mechanics in the building
trades are employed, but the recent decline in new projects has eased the demand for workmen and it is
no longer necessary for contractors to bid against each other for workmen. Many saw mills have been
closed because of the difficulty of securing labor to work in the woods and at wages that the operators
can afford to pay. Farmers are handicapped in gathering their crops by insufficient labor, especially plan­
ters who raise vegetables for the canning factories. The movement of colored labor to Northern indus­
trial centers continues in practically undiminished numbers.
COAL— The United States Geological Survey, in its weekly report on coal production dated August
4, 1923, states that soft coal production increased gradually during July, reaching a total of 10,789,000
net tons during the week ending July 28th. Production during the first 177 working days of 1923 was
314,404,000 net tons, a greater output than during the corresponding periods of the preceding four years.
The Survey’s report further states that “ returns received recently from a selected list of about 5,000 con­
sumers of soft coal indicate that the total quantity held in storage piles on July 1, 1923 was approximately
45,000,000 net tons. This was an increase over the revised figure of stocks on June 1st of 3,000,000 tons.
A factor responsible for part of the increase was an appreciable decrease in the rate of consumption dur­
ing June.”
Production of anthracite continued through July at a high rate, in excess of 2,000,000 tons per week.
The estimated total output during the week ended July 28th was 2,080,000 net tons. Cumulative produc­
tion during the calendar year to August 1st stands at 58,885,000 net tons, an increase over the strike period
in 1922 of 35,450,00° tons. The total output during 1923 exceeds that in recent preceding years and com­
pares favorably with the output during the war years.
At the present writing the outlook for continued operations in the bituminous districts appears good
but the situation in the anthracite field is problematical. Serious differences of opinion have arisen between
anthracite mine operators and labor union officials, and it remains to be seen whether or not these dif­
ferences can be reconciled. The apparent certainty of an adequate supply of soft coal robs the threatened
anthracite strike of many of its terrors, however.




4

Retail prices of coal continue firm at the levels fixed in April, but dealers will not guarantee the
present scale beyond September 1st, advances to consumers being expected at that time. Local yards are
well stocked, and dealers are exerting themselves to persuade householders to stock their cellars before cold
weather.
TEXTILES— A lack of forward orders has caused some curtailment in running time in some of the
Fifth District Textile mills since our last month’s Review was written, but this does not apply to all plants.
None of them are receiving many new orders, but many of them continue to run full time on orders pre­
viously placed with them. Opinions differ considerably as to prospects for early improvement in the
textile field, some operators professing to believe that the autumn will bring them all the business they
can take care of, while others fear that the public will not absorb a full output woven from high priced
cotton. For a long pull, however, the outlook for Southern mills appears good, as is evidenced by the
investments New England capitalists are making in Southern mills. During the past month two of South
Carolina’s largest mills have been purchased by Boston interests, and three other smaller plants have also
been acquired by Northern operators. All of these mills were sold at very satisfactory figures to the stock­
holders who relinquished control. Labor for textile work is plentiful and operatives appear to be well con­
tented with present wage scales, housing facilities, hours of work, etc. Many mills continue to improve
their villages, installing running water in the dwellings, putting in bath-rooms, grading streets and paving
walks, and building churches, schools and community centers.
COTTON— In our July 31st Review, we traced the course of spot cotton prices in the Carolinas
down through the week ending July 14th, at which time the market stood at 26.43 cents per pound for
middling short staple. From that date the trend of the market was downward for three weeks, the average
for the week ending July 21st declining to 25.75 cents per pound, that for the week ending July 28th fall­
ing to 23.07 cents, and the average for the week ending August 4th dropping to 22.25 cents, the lowest
weekly average since October 14th last year. The steady decline was probably based on optimistic reports
on the growing crop that private parties announced during the latter part of July, practically all of the pri­
vate condition reports giving higher figures than the official figures as of June 25th. The Department of
Agriculture’s condition report on August 1st, reporting as of July 25th, was distinctly bullish, however,
showing a deterioration of over two and a half points during July, and the market turned upward sharply,
the average for the week ending August nth reaching 23.44 cents. Since August nth the trend has con­
tinued upward, due chiefly to unfavorable weather maps for the southwestern cotton states and to some
tendencies toward a better demand in the cotton goods trade, but accurate figures showing the extent of the
rise are not yet available.
The July cotton consumption report, issued by the Census Bureau on August
1 8th, was about in line with expectations, and had practically 110 influence on the market.
The Department of Agriculture’s report on the July 25th condition of the cotton crop was issued on
August 1st, and proved to be distinctly bullish. The trade had apparently been expecting a condition of
at least 70% , but the official report gave 67.2% as the figure, a decline of 2.7% during the month,
which caused a flurry of covering in the market and drove prices up about a cent and a half a pound.
Most of this gain the market has held. Based on a condition of 67.2%, the Department of Agriculture’s
forecast of production this year was 11,516,000 bales, but the final outturn may be larger or smaller than
this amount, according as conditions develop favorably or unfavorably during the remainder of the season.
On the whole, developments during the first half of August were unfavorable, but the most critical period
in cotton growth will probably be between the middle of August and the end of September, that being the
period of boll weevil migration into new fields. At that time even the poisoned fields may be more or less
seriously invaded by the weevils from unpoisoned farms. The July 25th condition of the crop in Virginia
was 88% of a normal, in North Carolina the condition was 82% , and in South Carolina 64%, these
figures indicating a gain of 2% during July in North Carolina, unchanged conditions in South Carolina,
and a loss of 2 % in Virginia.
The cotton consumption report covering July 1923, issued on August 18th by the Census Bureau, showed
a considerable decline under June figures but a slight increase over the July 1922 consumption. Total
consumption during July 1923 was 461,575 bales, compared with 542,166 bales consumed in June 1923
and 458,002 bales used in July 1922. Statistics for the cotton growing states show a July consumption of
308,181 bales, compared with 304,936 bales used in July 1922. Cotton on hand in consuming establish­
ments on July 31st aggregated 1,089,230 bales compared with 1,345,066 bales on the same date last year,
and cotton in public storage and at compresses July 31st totaled 938,689 bales compared with 1,488,165
bales a year previously. Imports of cotton during July totaled 6,356 bales, while 171,469 bales were ex­
ported.
The annual report of the Secretary of the New Orleans Cotton Exchange, generally regarded as an
authority on cotton statistics, estimated the carry-over of American cotton into the new cotton year be­
ginning August 1st at 2,573,000 bales against a carry-over on August 1st 1922 of 4,879,000 bales, the




5

carry-over this year being the smallest on record since production of cotton in the South reached an im­
portant figure.
TOBACCO— The South Carolina independent tobacco warehouses opened on August ist, and a
steady stream of tobacco has been flowing to them and to the Co-operative Association warehouses which
had opened two weeks earlier. The South Carolina crop is estimated at 63,000,000 pounds, compared with
57,000,000 pounds grown in 1922. Prices being paid for this year's crop are considerably higher than last
year’s prices on the lower grades, and are up to last year’s level on the better grades. The Co-operative
Association has been making higher initial advances on receipts than last year. Most of the crop has been
harvested in fair to good condition. The Agricultural Statistician of the North Carolina Co-operative
Crop Reporting Service states that the tobacco crop in North Carolina averages 86 percent. Rains late in
July helped the crop considerably. Harvesting and curing is in full swing and markets have opened in
the south coastal belt. Prices are reported satisfactory. A yield of 350,000,000 pounds is expected in
the state. In Virginia the condition of the crop is below the condition in the Carolinas, due to lack of
moisture during the planting and much of the growing season. On August ist the forecast for this year’s
production was 97,946,000 pounds, but during the first half of August good seasons have brought the crop
out materially, and the outlook is considerably better than it was at the end of July. The chief trouble
now is due to poor stands in the fields.
Leaf dealers report that trade conditions in the tobacco industry are very good, with manufacturers
showing a decided interest in adding to their floor purchases of the 1922 crop by buying from leaf dealers.
One of the largest dealers in this District writes that the amount of tobacco in the hands of dealers this
summer is comparatively small.
AGRICULTURAL NOTES— The Agricultural Statistician of the Virginia Crop Reporting Service
reports that rains late in July and early in August greatly improved the state’s agricultural prospects. The
corn crop is now quite promising, and except for very early fields the yield will probably be better than the
average. A large part of the crop was beginning to ear out, so the rains came at the time when there was
the greatest need for an abundant supply of moisture. In the Eastern and Southern districts considerable
crimson clover will now be sown in the corn fields. Threshing reports indicate that the yield of wheat was
better than had been expected, in many sections of the Northern and Central districts the crop turning out
unusually well, both as to quantity and quality. Apples are very clean, and are free from disease and insect
injury, and recent rains insure fruit of normal size. The season has been favorable for peanuts and the crop
is very promising, but the acreage is smaller than last year. The early hay crop was one of the poorest ever
made in Virginia, the growth in some fields being so short that the crop was not cut, but prospects for late
hay crops such as cowpeas, soy beans, and millet are very good. Nearly all of the white potato crop has
been marketed but because of the poor yield the number of cars shipped to July 28th was only 13,867
compared with 17,217 shipped to the same date last year. The growth of sweet potatoes is now making
rapid progress.
The North Carolina corn crop averages 85 percent in condition, forecasting a slightly larger crop this
year than last, the acreage being the same for both years. North Carolina’s wheat yield was more than
eleven bushels per acre, indicating a total production of 6,633,000 bushels. The quality is unusually good,
averaging 92 percent of what might be expected under extra good conditions. The average price for wheat
in North Carolina is reported to be about $1.20 a bushel, and crop reporters expect an increased acreage to
be planted this fall. The oat crop was unusually good this year, having a condition of 86 percent, with an
average yield of 21 bushels per acre. Prospects for peaches are very poor, the average condition being
only 23 percent. The apple crop suffered a rather heavy June drop, but July conditions were more fav­
orable. The crop is estimated to average only 33 percent of normal. Watermelons and canteloupes av­
erage 72 percent of a full crop; tomatoes average 80 percent; cabbage 79 percent; onions 85 percent; sweet
potatoes 81 percent; and late Irish potatoes 77 percent. Most of the early truck crops suffered from either
unfavorable spring seasons or dry summer weather, especially in the Piedmont or central counties.
South Carolina’s corn crop is more promising than a month ago. Rains have been quite general within
the past few weeks. The August ist condition was 74 percent of normal, forecasting a production of 30,
000,000 bushels compared with 26,000,000 bushels produced in 1922. The condition is best in the eastern
counties. The outlook for sweet potatoes is better than on July ist, the official forecast for this year’s crop
being 8,422,000 bushels. The acreage is 5 percent less this year than last, the reduction being confined
almost exclusively to commercial growers. The condition of cowpeas, velvet beans, soy beans and peanuts
shows marked improvement since the rains of late July.
BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JULY, 1923 AND 1922
In view of present high costs of building construction and a natural slackening in new work at this
season of the year, the record of building permits issued in July in twenty-four of the leading cities of
the Fifth District was very satisfactory. Reports from building inspectors show a total of 1,853 permits




6

issued in July 1923 for new work, valued at $10,806,729, compared with 1,826 permits for new construction
in July 1922, valued at $14,983,362. Repair and alteration permits totaled 2,177
J uty this year> with
estimated valuation of $2,142,371, compared with 2,171 permits, valued at $1,385,349, <for similar work
during the corresponding month last year. The increase in permits for new work this year, coupled with
the decrease in valuation, indicates that the postponement in contemplated construction work is confined
chiefly to the erection of business buildings and other large projects. The reports from building inspectors
state that residence construction and garage building make up most of the new work, many of the permits
providing for the erection of several structures. In Richmond, for example, the 117 permits for new work
issued during July provides for 168 buildings, of which 113 are either residences or garages. Asheville,
N. C., reports a permit for a $500,000 hotel, and Baltimore reports a $1,124,000 school building.
Permits Issued
New Construction
CITIES

New

Repairs

1923 1922

2
MR L N
AYA D
1 Baltimore.............
2 Cumberland.........
3 Frederick..............
V G IA
IR IN
4 Lynchburg............
5 Norfolk.................
6 Richmond.............
7 Roanoke...............
W S V G IA
E T IR IN
8 Bluefield...............
9 Charleston............
10 Clarksburg...........
11 Huntington...........
12 Parkersburg.........
N R HC R L A
O T A O IN
13 Asheville...............
14 Charlotte...............
15 Durham................
16 Greensboro...........
17 High Point...........
18 Wilmington..........
19 Winston-Salem....
S U HC R L A
O T A O IN
20 Charleston............
21 Columbia..............
22 Greenville.............
23 Spartanburg.........
D T O C L M IA
IS . F O U B
24 Washington..........
Totals
♦Not included in totals.

Alterations

1923

1922

1922

1923

$ 855,360
9,442
7,460

1922

30.6# 1
$ 143,120 $ 1,123,240
11,675 —
6,915 — 8.2
2
15,250
13,095
79.7
3

497
24
7

499
27
6

20
102
117
91

19
84
93
102

23
79
96
53

31
52
85
25

31,740
229,365
624,767
172,860

75,717
194,985
374,842
237,959

77,510
37,082
210,471
23,750

20,696
52,508
162,718
4,614

13.3
12,837
18,954
7.7
55.4
297,678
— 45,963 — 18.9

4
5
6
7

47
74
43
150
*31

14
68
26
108

5
25
19
26
*10

0
25
8
25

128,125
325,834
95,215
400,760
75,000

92,100
106,165
105,765
400,122
100,000

2,150
52,390
17,585
14,065
50,000

0
118,260
12,005
32,000
25,000

41.4
38,175
153,799
68.5
—
4,970 — 4.2
— 17,297 — 4.0
0
0

8
9
10
11
12

55
53
28
90
55
15
57

48
40
29
35
34
13
61

59
14
10
27
11
4
75

62
19
4
23
11
4
69

720,378
694,900
109,550
217,334
109,025
112,000
262,860

165,650
1,435,235
101,350
157,325
150,625
51,500
283,603

100,000
19,100
13,150
18,490
9,325
4,700
16,960

24,856
97,995
9,700
16,558
5,150
3,900
27,185

629,872 330.6
— 819,230 — 53.4
11,650
10.5
61,941
35.6
— 37,425 — 24.0
61,300 110.6
— 30,968 — 10.0

13
14
15
16
17
18
19

5
19
22
25

27
23
27
15

11
73
20
43

27
67
11
21

81,175
56,350
129,175
11,260

1,140,855
41,150
146,835
9,735

19,045
34,920
39,090
8,290

20,145
23,403
22,595
7,210

—1,060,780 — 91.4
26,717
41.4
—
1,165 — 0.7
15.4
2,605

20
21
22
23

257

428

531

489

2,187,960

6,007,951

502,036

528,806

—3,846,761 — 58.8

24

1,826 2,177 2,171 $10,806,729 $14,983,362

$2,142,371

1,853

948 1,098 $ 3,941,240 $ 3,530,240
17
11
67,781
72,463
8
4
22,075
1,190

1923

Per Cent
Increase or
of
Decrease
Increase
Total
or
Valuation
Decrease 6
Z

$1,385,349 $—3,419,611 — 20.9#

— Denotes decrease this year.

The building permits reported each month by the city authorities do not cover nearly all the construc­
tion work going on in the several localities, activity in the suburbs being very marked. The general use
of automobiles is tending to spread the cities over the surrounding country, and little villages are rapidly
springing up near the incorporate limits of most of our cities. Real estate agencies are actively promoting
suburban developments, and are building and selling many small dwellings on monthly payment plans. In
spite of the large number of residences that have been built this year, however, the firmness of rents proves
that the shortage of dwellings and apartments still exists, though to a less degree than two or three years
ago. Rents appear to be practically stationary at present over most of the Fifth District.
FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE
As Indicated By Reports from Twenty-seven Representative Department Stores
for the Month of July, 1923.
July is one of the poorest months in the year in retail trade circles, but the dullness was less marked
this year than usual. Customers were either more willing to buy than during the corresponding month last
year, or the merchants made an extra effort to stimulate business. Probably both factors functioned dur­
ing the month. The reporting department stores show an increase of 10.8% in July 1923 business in




7

comparison with July 1922, every group for which an individual average is calculated showing a gain this
year. Special sales and store expansion accounts for the extraordinary increase shown in Richmond.
Stocks on hand at the end of July were 10.7% greater, measured by selling price, than stocks on hand
July 31, 1922, but were 2.3% less than stocks on hand a month ago, June 30, 1923. The percentage of
stock on hand at the end of July to average sales during that month was 508.2%, indicating about the
usual rate of turnover at this season. Outstanding orders for merchandise on July 31st amounted to 9.7%
of total purchases during 1922. Collections are said to be about normal by the reporting stores.
Baltimore

Richmond

Other
Cities

Washington

District

Percentage increase in net sales during
July, 1923, compared with July, 1922..........

7.3

51.4

4.1

11.6

10.8

Percentage increase in net sales from
July 1, through July 31, compared
with sales during the same month
of 1922...............................................................

7.3

51.4

4.1

11.6

10.8

— 4.1

41.4

5.3

1.4

10.3

28.8

8.4

7.8

10.7

1.9

2.0

— 3.6

— 3.0

— 2.3

Percentage of average stocks on hand at
the end of each month since July 1,
to average net sales each month during
the same period, one month........ ...............

543.2

365.2

502.4

572.9

508.2

Percentage of outstanding orders at the end
of July, 1923, to total purchases of
merchandise during the year 1922...............

7.7

13.9

10.0

12.9

9.7

Percentage increase in net sales during July
1923, compared with average sales during
the corresponding month of 1920,1921 and
1922.................................................................
Percentage increase in stocks on hand at
the end of July, 1923, over stocks on
hand at the end of July, 1922.......................
Percentage increase in stocks on hand at
the end of July, 1923, over stocks on
hand at the end of June, 1923....................

—

—

2.5

—

—Denotes Decrease.

With labor fully employed and agricultural prospects at least fair, merchants are optimistic and are
confidently expecting a good volume of fall trade. Buyers are cautious and discriminating, but they are
willing and able to purchase the merchandise they really want, and the merchants who offer sound values
apparently have little to fear from the customers. Competition in retail trade is keen and much adver­
tising is being done, but there appears to be plenty of business for all well managed stores.
WHOLESALE TRADE
Percentage Increase (or Decrease) in Net Sales During July, 1923, as Compared With June, 1923
and July, 1922.
Groceries
Number of reporting firms in each line............

Dry Goods

45

15

Shoes
15

Hardware
17

Furniture
7

Drugs
13

Net sales (selling price) during July, 1923,
compared with June, 1923............................

1.0

5.3

—19.4

— 6.6

— 1.4

—11.7

Net sales (selling price) during July, 1923,
compared with July, 1922..............................

14.5

11.3

—10.4

12.9

11.0

33.5

—Denotes decrease.

We received wholesale trade reports covering July from 45 grocery firms, 15 dry goods houses, 15
shoe jobbers, 17 hardware jobbers, 7 furniture manufacturers, and 13 drug firms, a total of 112 firms.
Business done in July by the reporting firms, measured in dollars, showed gains of 1.0% for groceries
and 5.3% for dry goods in comparison with business done in June, but showed declines of 19.4% for
shoes, 6.6% for hardware, 1.4% for furniture, and 11.7 % for drugs. In comparison with July last year,




8

the corresponding month this year shows gains in every line except shoes, in which a decline of 10.4%
was reported. The gains amounted to 14.5% for groceries, 11.3 % for dry goods, 12.9% for hardware,
11.0 % for furniture, and 33.5% for drugs. On the whole, July business was not unsatisfactory, and
wholesalers are moderately optimistic on future prospects.
Collections continued to show the usual seasonal dullness during July. One hundred and thirteen
firms classified their collections during the month as Good Fair, Slow or Poor, and of this number 85.0%
reported them either Good or Fair compared with 86.3% so reporting in June. We give herewith the
classifications made by the 113 firms for July, together with the classifications made in July 1922 for com­
parison :

,

Collections Reported As
Lines Sold
Good
Fair
Slow
Poor
Total
31
7
o
45
Groceries .......................................................................... 7
Dry Goods ................................... .................................... 2
10
3
o
15
Shoes.............................................................................. ... o
12
4
o
16
Hardware ______________________________________ 2
12
2
1
17
Furniture _____________________________________
3
4
0
0
7
Drugs ................................................................................ 6__________7_________o________ o__________ 13
July 1923 Totals_________________________ 20
76
16
1
113
82
19
2
115
July 1922 Totals___ ______________________ 12




(Compiled August 20, 1923)
9

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES.
Compiled by the Federal Reserve Board.

Production of basic commodities and employment at industrial establishments decreased in July and
there was a further decline in wholesale prices. The distribution of goods, as indicated by railroad freight
shipments, maintained record totals and the sales of merchandise, though showing the usual seasonal decline,
continued to be relatively heavy.
PRODUCTION. Production in basic industries, accor ling to the index of the Federal Reserve
Board, declined i % in July. Mill consumption of cotton, steel ingot production, and sugar meltings were
considerably smaller than in June. New building operations during the month, as measured by the value
of permits granted and of contracts awarded, showed more than the usual seasonal decline. Employment
at industrial establishments located in various sections of the country decreased 2% during July. Manu­
facturers of automobile tires and cotton goods showed large reductions in number of employees. There
were some further announcements of wage advances, but these were not as numerous as in the three pre­
vious months. Average weekly earnings of factory workers, due to a decrease in full time operations, were
5% less than in June. Crop forecasts of the Department of Agriculture on the basis of condition on Au­
gust ist indicated that yields of wheat and rye would be below July estimates, while larger yields of cotton,
corn, oats and barley were forecast. Due to a seasonal increase in grain shipments and continued large
shipments of industrial raw materials and manufactured goods, car loadings in the last week of July
reached the largest total on record.
TRADE. The volume of wholesale trade was about the same in July as in June, while there was a
decline in retail trade, which was largely seasonal in nature. Among the wholesale lines sales of dry goods
and clothing were larger than in June, while sales of groceries, hardware, and shoes were considerably
smaller. Business in all reporting lines was larger than in July 1922 and the average increase, as indi­
cated by the Federal Reserve Board’s index of wholesale trade, was 1 3 %. Sales of department stores
were 10% larger than a year ago while mail order sales showed a gain of 27%. Stocks of department
stores showed a seasonal reduction during July and were smaller than in any month since January.
PRICES. Wholesale commodity prices declined during July for the third consecutive month and the
index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 5% below the April peak. Prices of all groups of com­
modities, except house furnishings, were lower in July. The largest declines occurred in quotations of
clothing, drugs and chemicals, farm products, and building materials. During the first half of August
price changes were more moderate and quotations of cotton, spring wheat, hogs, sheep, and rubber ad­
vanced.
BANK CREDIT. Since the middle of July the volume of bank credit in use has shown a reduction,
largely because of the substantial liquidation of loans on stocks and bonds at New York City banks. Be­
tween July 1 8th and August 15th loans of member banks in leading cities secured by stocks and bonds de­
creased by $94,000,000 to the lowest point for the year, $258,000,000 below the amount outstanding at the
beginning of the year. Commercial loans, however, increased, so that the net reduction in total loans for
the period amounted to $60,000,000. Security investments declined $73,000,000 to a new low level for the
year. The volume of discounted paper held at the Federal Reserve Banks showed a slight decrease while
their holdings of Acceptance and United States securities reached new low points for the year. Between
the middle of July and the middle of August gold holdings of the Federal Reserve Banks increased by
$21,100,000, reflecting in part net gold imports during July of $27,400,000. Federal Reserve Note cir­
culation increased by about $15,000,000 and there were also substantial increases in the volume of gold
certificates and National Bank Notes in circulation. Slightly firmer tendencies in money rates during the
month were reflected in a gradually increasing proportion of commercial paper sales at 5 1 -4%, as com­
pared with 5% in the previous month.




10







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12