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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND

FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA_____________________________________________AUGUST 31, 1931
USINESS developments in the Fifth Federal re­
serve district in July and early August were chief­
ly seasonal in nature, and the volume of trade changed
little from that of other recent months. As is custom­
ary at this time of the year, member banks in rural
sections increased their borrowing at the reserve bank
to some extent, incident to early crop marketing needs,
and the circulation of Federal reserve notes turned up­
ward during the first half of August as a result of the
opening of auction tobacco markets in the South Caro­
lina belt. Member banks in the larger centers slightly
decreased their outstanding loans between the middle
of July and the middle of August, and their deposits
also declined, while they increased their investments
in bonds and securities and their rediscounts at the
Federal Reserve .Bank of Richmond. Debits to indi­
vidual accounts in the banks of twenty-four trade cen­
ters in the Fifth district were lower during the four
weeks ended August 12 than during the preceding four
weeks, a seasonal decline due to large payments around
July 1, but the decline this year was somewhat less
marked than in most years. The commercial failure
record of the Fifth district for July was good in com­
parison with the average for the United States, show­
ing the smallest number of insolvencies and the lowest
aggregate liabilities for any July since 1923. The num­
ber of failures in the district in July decreased 21.9
per cent in comparison with a National decline of only
2.2 per cent from insolvencies in July 1930, and lia­
bilities in the district declined 1.6 per cent last month
while the National figures showed an increase of 53.2
per cent in liabilities. Employment conditions showed
no material change during July and early August, an
unfavorable condition in view of the near approach of
winter weather. The amount of construction under
way and contemplated in the near future is much be­
low normal, which partly accounts for the large num­
ber of people who are unable to obtain steady employ­
ment. Coal production in July, while seasonally high­
er than in June, was materially below the rate of pro­
duction in July 1930, and during the first half of 1931
consumption of coal was less than consumption in the
first half of 1930 in all industries. Reserve stocks of
coal in the hands of consumers are relatively small,

B




however, and any increase in industrial activity will
be quickly reflected in larger output at the mines. The
textile industry in the Fifth district is operating at a
somewhat higher rate than at this time last year, but
business is hard to secure except for immediate needs.
Retail trade, as reflected in department store sales, has
held up remarkably well in the Fifth district, and in
July averaged only 2.4 per cent less in dollar volume
than in July 1930, while the average decline for the
United States was approximately 8 per cent. In agri­
culture, crop prospects are excellent in the entire Fifth
district insofar as production of crops is concerned,
weather having been highly favorable for growth, but
prices are very low. Wheat is selling around 45 cents
a bushel, cotton between 6 and 6.5 cents per pound,
and many vegetables and fruits are selling at extreme­
ly low levels. Tobacco farmers are getting low prices
for their products, about the same as last year and far
below other recent years, but they are considerably
better off than the cotton planters. The one favorable
condition in agriculture this year is that a larger num­
ber of farmers than usual planted food and feed crops
in sufficient amount to provide for their families and
their farm stock, and with excellent yields they are in
position to live during the coming winter with less
expenditure of money than was the case last year,
when the disastrous drought in the upper half of the
district burned up kitchen gardens, greatly reduced
production of potatoes, fruits, and other food crops,
and made corn and hay so scarce that many farmers
were forced to dispose of their farm animals.

Reserve Bank Statement
ITEMS
Rediscounts held-----------------Open market paper-------------«...
Government securities-----------Other earning assets--------------Total earning assets-----------Circulation of Fed. Res. notes—
Members’ reserve deposits_____
Cash reserves --------------------Reserve ra tio _______________

000 omitted
Aug. 15 July 15
1931
1931
$19,008 $17,235
3,160
4,010
3H>558 31,558
60
220
52,173
54,636
68,782
68,970
62*211
60,133
90,222
91,037
66.49
65.13

Aug. 15
1930
$20,460
8,393
16,983
45,836
63,782
62,017
92,049
71.46

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

The figures in the accompanying table show the prin­
cipal items on the condition statement of the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond as of August 15, 1931, in
comparison with corresponding figures a month and a
year earlier. The volume of rediscounts for member
banks held by this Bank increased by $1,773,000 be­
tween the middle of July and the middle of August,
but on the latter date totaled $1,452,000 less than re­
discounts held a year ago, August 15, 1930. The Bank
increased its portfolio of open market paper by $850,000 during the past month, but the amount held on
August 15 was $4,383,000 less than the amount held
on the same date last year. Holdings of Government
securities did not change last month, but was $14,575,000 above the holdings of Government securities
at the middle of August 1930. Total earning assets
rose $2,463,000 between July 15 and August 15 this
year, and on the latter date totaled $8,800,000 in ex­
cess of total earning assets on August 15, 1930. The
volume of Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation
on August 15 was $188,000 less than on July 15, but
was exactly $5,000,000 above the circulation on August
15, 1930. Although the volume of notes in circulation
on August 15 was slightly below the amount on July
15, a lower point was reached around August 1, after
which a seasonal rise in actual circulation began inci­
dent to the opening of auction tobacco markets in the
South Carolina belt. Member bank reserve deposits
on August 15 were $2,078,000 less than deposits on
July 15, and $1,884,000 less than deposits at the mid­
dle of August last year. This decline in reserve de­
posits was partly due to a reduction in the number of
member banks and partly to lower deposits against
which reserves are carried. The changes previously
mentioned in the statement, with others of less impor­
tance, caused a net increase in the cash reserves of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond between July 15
and August 15 amounting to $815,000, but on the latter
date reserves totaled $1,012,000 less than on August
15, 1930. The ratio of cash reserves to note and de­
posit liabilities combined declined 1.36 points last
month, and at the middle of August stood 6.33 points
lower than the figure on August 15, 1930.

Richmond, and the accompanying table shows the
totals of the principal items for the latest available
date, August 12, 1931, in comparison with correspond­
ing figures a month and a year earlier. It should be
understood that the figures reflect the composite con­
dition of the reporting banks on the report dates only,
and are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures
that occurred during the period under review.

Member Bank Statement

Aggregate deposits in twelve mutual savings banks
in Baltimore totaled $209,935,480 on July 31, 1931,
compared with $209,924,547 on June 30, 1931, and
$195,806,687 on July 31, 1930. In most years, savings
deposits tend to decline slightly in July, probably due
to vacation withdrawals, but this year deposits on July
31 in the twelve reporting banks were the highest on
record. Time deposits in fifty-two regularly report­
ing member banks declined last month, dropping from
$267,209,000 on July 15 to $263,281,000 on August
12, but on the latter date totaled approximately $10,000,000 more than time deposits aggregating $253,002.000 on August 13, 1930. Some commercial banks
are discouraging the accumulation of funds in savings
departments, it being difficult for them to handle profit­
ably funds upon which savings interest is paid.

ITEMS

000 omitted
Aug. 12 July 15 Aug. 13
1931
1931
1930

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ______
All other loans---------------- ----Total loans and discounts-----Investments in stocks and bond’ ..
s
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
Cash in vaults_______________
Demand deposits _________ __
Time deposits ______________
Borrowed from F. R. Bank........

$158,700 $156,157 $176,995
248,448 251,029 289,965
407,148 407,186 466,960
227,548 225,623 182,537
41,063
40,794
40,722
12,781
13,346
10,932
333,702 335,436 352,135
263,281 267,209 253,002
3,368
2,565
3,899

Fifty-two member banks in thirteen leading cities
of the Fifth Federal reserve district make weekly re­
ports of condition to the Federal Reserve Bank of




Total loans in the fifty-two reporting member banks
remained practically unchanged between July 15 and
August 12, but there was a slight shift from all other
loans to loans on stocks and bonds amounting to ap­
proximately $2,500,000. Most of the rise in security
loans occurred in one large bank. Investments of the
reporting banks in bonds and securities rose $1,925,000
during the past month, and their aggregate reserve bal­
ance with the Federal reserve bank rose $269,000. On
the other hand, cash in vaults declined $565,000 be­
tween July 15 and August 12, and deposits dropped
$5,661,000, demand deposits declining $1,734,000 and
time deposits decreasing $3,927,000. The reporting
banks increased their borrowing at the reserve bank by
$803,000 during the month under review. On August
12, 1931, nine of the fifty-two institutions were re­
discounting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
Comparison of the August 12, 1931, figures with
those for August 13, 1930, shows a decrease of $59,812.000 in total loans during the year, and an increase
of $45,011,000 in investments and securities. Aggre­
gate reserve balance with the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond totaled $341,000 more on the 1931 date
than a year earlier, and cash in vaults rose $1,849,000
during the year. On the other hand, total deposits de­
clined $8,154,000 between the middle of August last
year and this, a decline of $18,433,000 in demand de­
posits exceeding an increase of $10,279,000 in time
deposits. On August 12, 1931, the fifty-two report­
ing banks were borrowing $531,000 less from the re­
serve bank than they were borrowing on August 13,
1930.

Savings and Time Deposits

MONTHLY REVIEW

Debits to Individual Accounts

creases were due chiefly to transfers of State funds
rather than to ordinary business transactions.

000 omitted
CITIES

Asheville, N. C-------Baltimore, Md. -------Charleston, S. G-----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, V a .------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..
District Totals .......

Total debits, four weeks ended
July 15,
Aug. 13,
Aug. 12,
1931
1931
1930
10,182
373,602
18,590
30,885
34,588
16,009
7,078
5,907
19,411
14,769
11,958
6,796
12,995
11,961
9,777
42,326
3,770
21,941
101,393
22,480
7,006
189,371
8,291
26,312

10,325
353,769
19,562
35,847
39,591
21,242
8,959
7,345
26,394
15,815
14,508
8,535
14,776
18,696
9,674
45,437
4,519
23,734
117,385
24,228
8,573
228,600
10,849
31,692

17,893
376,581
21,622
33,780
37,630
14,698
8,043
5,845
23,655
16,871
12,461
8,663
17,087
15,654
10,247
49,950
4,202
18,200
111,371
25,474
8,186
206,797
10,341
26,547

$1,007,398

$1,100,055

$1,081,798

$

Aggregate payments by checks drawn on clearing
house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth Federal
reserve district are shown in the accompanying table
for three equal periods of four weeks, ended August
12, 1931, July 15, 1931, and August 13, 1930, thus af­
fording opportunity for comparison of the latest avail­
able figures with those for the preceding like period
this year and the corresponding period a year ago.
Lower price levels this year in many lines affect the
comparison of the 1931 figures with those for 1930,
and account for part of this year’s decline.
During the four weeks ended August 12 this year,
aggregate debits to individual, firm and corporation ac­
counts in the reporting cities totaled $1,007,398,000,
a decrease of $92,657,000, or 8.4 per cent, under ag­
gregate debits in the preceding four weeks, ended July
15, 1931, every city on the reporting list except Bal­
timore and Newport News showing lower figures for
the more recent period. A decline at this time is sea­
sonal, due chiefly to large semi-annual and quarterly
payments occurring in the earlier period, around July
1. Last year the decline between the two periods was
10.8 per cent, considerably more than the 8.4 per cent
decrease this year. Baltimore showed an increase of
5.6 per cent, and Newport News gained 1.1 per cent.
A comparison of the figures reported for the four
weeks ended August 12 this year with the figures for
the corresponding period ended August 13, 1930, shows
a decline of $74,400,000, or 6.9 per cent, but at least
part of this decrease was due to lower price levels this
year. Among the individual cities, twenty-one reported
lower figures for the 1931 period. Columbia, S. C.,
Danville, Va., and Raleigh, N. C., showed the only
gains this year, and in Columbia and Raleigh the in­




3

Commercial Failures
Commercial insolvencies in the Fifth Federal re­
serve district in July 1931 totaled 89, with aggregate
liabilities amounting to $1,320,725, a decrease in num­
ber of 21.9 per cent and in liabilities of 1.6 per cent
in comparison with 114 failures and estimated liabili­
ties totaling $1,342,000 in July 1930. Both the number
of failures and the estimated liabilities involved in
Fifth district failures last month were lower than for
any other July since 1923, and were the lowest for any
month for more than a year. The district record for
July 1931 was much better than the average record
for the United States, which showed a decline in num­
ber of insolvencies amounting to only 2.2 per cent and
an increase in estimated liabilities totaling 53.2 per
cent in comparison with July 1930. Only one other
district, St. Louis, reported a larger percentage de­
crease in the number of failures than was shown by
the Fifth district, and only two districts, Chicago and
Kansas City, made a better record in estimated liabili­
ties involved. Seven of the twelve reserve districts
reported fewer failures in July 1931 than in July 1930,
but only four of the twelve districts reported lower
liabilities this year.

Employment
The employment situation in the Fifth Federal re­
serve district, as in most other sections of the country,
is giving concern to public officials, welfare agencies,
and the public generally. There has been no material
reduction in the number of persons unable to obtain
work in recent months, and the approach of another
winter is looked upon with anxiety. It is possible
that business may pick up in the fall and winter suf­
ficiently to absorb some of the idle workers, but at
present there are no definite signs of this development.
The length of the period during which many people
have been unemployed has made heavy inroads on sur­
plus funds, and therefore it is expected that more aid
will be required from all agencies during the coming
winter than was necessary during the past two years.
In aid of the situation, the State of Virginia is pre­
paring to borrow $1,000,000 with which to provide
additional highway construction, and relief committees
are being appointed to do what they can to relieve dis­
tress in their localities and to co-operate with other
committees and agencies.

Coal Production
Bituminous coal production in the United States
in July 1931 totaled 29,790,000 net tons, a larger out­
put than 29,185,000 tons dug in June this year but
materially below 34,715,000 tons brought to the sur­
face in July 1930. Total production of soft coal dur­
ing the present calendar year to August 8 (approxi­
mately 186 working days) amounted to 227,036,000
tons, the lowest figure in six years. The August 15
report of the Bureau of Mines, Department of Com-

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

merce, gave coal production figures by states for the
month of June 1931, and also for the first six months
of this year in comparison with other recent years.
West Virginia mines produced 8,606,000 net tons in
June, taking the lead from Pennsylvania, which dug
7,755,000 tons, but West Virginia’s total production
this year through June amounting to 49,031,000 tons
was less than 50,598,000 tons mined in Pennsylvania.

ended July 31 totaled 6,759,927 bales, compared with
6,689,796 bales shipped over seas during the corres­
ponding year ended July 31, 1930. Spindles active at
some time during July numbered 25,836,262, compared
with 25,789,910 in June this year and 26,457,786 in
July 1930.
Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states
totaled 353,611 bales in July, compared with 357,872
bales used in June and 302,650 bales in July 1930.
Textiles
Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states
Cotton consumption in Fifth district mills in July amounted to 78.49 per cent of National consumption,
1931 totaled 202,187 bales, a slightly lower figure than a lower percentage than either 78.59 per cent in June
204,769 bales used in June this year but 21.3 per cent this year or 79.85 per cent in July 1930. Of the 353,more than 166,730 bales consumed in July 1930. Some 611 bales of cotton consumed in the cotton growing
decrease in July consumption in comparison with June states in July, the Fifth district mills used 202,187
is seasonal, many mills closing several days around bales, or 57.18 per cent, a higher percentage than 55.09
July 4 for a holiday and to overhaul machinery. Last per cent of Southern consumption attained by Fifth
month North Carolina mills used 104,394 bales, South district mills in July last year.
On August 8, the Department of Agriculture issued
Carolina mills used 87,016 bales, and Virginia mills
used 10,777 bales, all higher figures than those reported its first condition report on the 1931 cotton crop, and
for July 1930 and the Virginia figure exceeding the estimated probable production at 15,584,000 equivalent
one reported for June this year. July 1931 consump­ 500 pound bales. The estimate was about a million
tion in Virginia and the Carolinas was 44.9 per cent and a half bales greater than the average of private
of National consumption, a lower figure than 45 per reports previously issued, and destroyed hope for better
cent of National consumption in June 1931 but higher cotton prices for this year’s crop. The condition of
than 44 per cent in July 1930. The business being the crop was 74.9 per cent of a theoretical normal on
done by textile mills in the Fifth district is nearly all August 1, and a prospective yield of 185.8 pounds
of the hand-to-mouth variety, steadily declining cotton per acre was indicated, the highest figures since 1915
prices making it practically impossible for the mills to and 1914, respectively. The indicated crop of 15,584.000 bales compares with 13,932,000 bales ginned
book any advance orders.
from the 1930 crop, an increase this year of 1,652,000
Cotton Statistics
bales, or 11.9 per cent. The forecast for this year
Since the Review for July 31 was written, spot cot­ shows a greater gain than the number of bales alone
ton prices have declined to the lowest point in twenty- show, since this year’s crop is growing on an acreage
five years, most of the decrease occurring immediately 10 per cent less than the 1930 acreage. The Depart­
after the release of the Department of Agriculture’s ment of Agriculture’s report states that there was a
first condition report of the year, issued on August 8. smaller use of fertilizer this year, but the distribution
On July 17, the average price for 7/8 inch staple up­ of rainfall has been such as to make possible the max­
land middling cotton on ten markets in the South was imum utilization of plant food by the cotton plant.
8.65 cents per pound, but there was a steady decline Weevil damage is expected to be somewhat higher than
to 7.30 cents on August 7. On August 8 the price fell last year for the country as a whole, but still consider­
about a cent and a quarter a pound as soon as the first ably less than the average loss during the last ten years.
In the cotton growing states of the Fifth reserve
forecast of production was issued, and on August 14,
the latest date for which figures are available, the av­ district, production this year is forecast to be smaller
erage price on Southern markets was 6.33 cents per than last year, due chiefly to reduction in acreage.
South Carolina is expected to grow 835,000 bales this
pound.
Consumption of cotton in the United States in July year, compared with 1,001,000 bales ginned in 1930.
1931 totaled 450,518 bales, compared with 455,388 bales North Carolina’s crop this year is forecast as 713,000
used in June this year and 379,022 bales in July 1930. bales, compared with 775,000 bales last year. The
Total consumption for the cotton year ended July 31, Virginia crop this year is 38,000 bales, compared with
1931, amounted to 5,270,948 bales, compared with 42.000 bales in 1930. Most of the other South Atlantic
6,105,840 bales consumed in the corresponding period states show lower production figures this year, but large
of the 1929-1930 season. Manufacturing establish­ gains in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Mississippi
ments held 994,979 bales on July 31, compared with brought the totals for the United 'States above the fig­
1,130,514 bales held on June 30 and 1,183,007 bales ures for 1930.
on July 31, 1930. Public warehouses and compresses Tobacco
held 4,524,426 bales in storage at the end of July this
year, compared with 4,970,626 bales so held a month
Prospects for the tobacco crop in the Fifth district
earlier and 2,877,422 bales on July 31 last year. July on August 1 indicate a yield of approximately 756,exports totaled 259,059 bales, compared with 255,459 388.000 pounds in comparison with 816,106,000 pounds
bales sent abroad in June 1931 and 175,522 bales ex­ produced in the district in 1930. In North Carolina,
ported in July 1930. Exports during the cotton year which leads in tobacco production in the Fifth district,




MONTHLY REVIEW
a yield of about 517,560,000 pounds is expected this
year, compared with 584,000,000 pounds in 1930. The
Virginia crop on August 1 indicated a yield of 116,832.000 pounds, compared with 111,776,000 pounds
grown last year. South Carolina tobacco is expected
to yield 81,750,000 pounds, compared with 96,250,000
pounds in 1930. The Maryland crop of 34,400,000
pounds is much above 19,040,000 pounds last year.
Prospects in West Virginia are for a yield of 5,846,000
pounds this year, compared with 5,040,000 pounds
grown in 1930. Tobacco auction markets in Georgia
opened in July, and markets in South Carolina and
border counties in North Carolina opened early in
August. Prices were very low, especially for poorer
grades, but for better tobacco prices seem to be some­
what higher this year. Farmers are marketing their
tobacco slowly, and auction sales have therefore been
smaller during the first weeks of the season than in
most years.

Agricultural Notes
Except in South Carolina, which was little affected
by the 1930 drought, crop prospects in the Fifth Fed­
eral reserve district are much better this year than they
were a year ago, but the price situation is materially
worse this year for most of the district’s leading crops.
In cases in which smaller production figures for 1931
are cited, the decreases are for the most part due to
smaller acreages this year.
! aryland crops improved during July, and on
M
August 1 conditions were favorable for further de­
velopment, except on the Eastern Shore where rain
was needed. On August 1 prospects were good for
one of the largest corn crops ever grown in Maryland,
and a yield of 20,910,000 bushels was indicated, com­
pared with only 7,276,000 bushels harvested in 1930.
Wheat improved very materially during July, bringing
the average yield per acre to the highest figure on
record in the state. Total production is estimated at
9.552.000 bushels, which is below 11,086,000 bushels
threshed in 1930, but this year’s acreage was greatly
reduced. Production of 3,520,000 bushels of Irish
potatoes was forecast on August 1, compared with
2.427.000 bushels dug last year, and sweet potato pro­
duction totaling 1,680,000 bushels compares with
660.000 bushels in 1930. Maryland fruit crops are in
fine condition, the apple crop of 3,744,000 bushels com­
paring with 1,650,000 bushels last year and this year’s
peach crop totaling 630,000 bushels comparing with
231.000 bushels in 1930. Pastures are good this year,
averaging 81 per cent on August 1, in comparison with
31 per cent on August 1, 1930.
Virginia crops made favorable progress during July,
and on August 1 the condition of all crops was con­
siderably above the ten-year average. Prospects, how­
ever, were somewhat spotted, some sections having had
much better growing weather than others. The wheat
yield was astonishing this year, and the average of 22
bushels per acre is by far the largest on record. Total
production is estimated at 12,870,000 bushels, com­
pared with 9,160,000 bushels harvested last season, and
is the largest crop since 1917 when the acreage was




5

nearly twice as much as this season. Corn on August
1 was quite promising in practically all parts of the
state, although in some localities the crop was begin­
ning to need rain at the end of July. Corn has an ex­
cellent color, has been well worked, and the growth is
farther advanced than usual. A probable yield of
45.518.000 bushels is indicated, compared with only
17.227.000 bushels harvested last year and a five-year
average of 44,077,000 bushels. This year’s hay crop in
Virginia is estimated at 976,000 tons, a higher yield
than 512,000 tons cut last year but considerably less
than the five-year average of 1,213,000 tons. The
severe drought last year so seriously damaged stands
of hay that it will take time for the yield to come back
to average. Peanut prospects improved in July, and
the vines are in fine condition, but the stand is unusually
poor. A crop of oats totaling 4,275,000 bushels this
year compares with 2,831,000 bushels in 1930 and a
five-year average of 4,289,000 bushels. The forecast of
16.864.000 bushels of Irish potatoes is higher than
either 13,989,000 bushels dug in 1930 or a five-year
average production of 16,374,000 bushels. Sweet
potatoes are expected to yield 5,130,000 bushels in 1931,
compared with 2,960,000 bushels in 1930 and a fiveyear average of 5,643,000 bushels. On August 1 pros­
pects indicated a commercial apple crop of 4,264,000
barrels in Virginia this year, a record yield, and about
three and a half times the 1930 crop of 1,300,000 bar­
rels. The peach crop is also good, and shipment of
about 1,000 cars is expected, compared with only 19
cars shipped last year and 623 cars in 1929.
West Virginia farm prospects were very bright on
August 1, in sharp contrast to conditions a year ago
when average crop conditions in the state were the
poorest in the United States. Corn advanced rapidly
in July, and on August 1 a yield of 14,756,000 bushels
was forecast, in comparison with 5,772,000 bushels
harvested last year and a five-year average of 16,432.000 bushels. Winter wheat set a record from the
standpoint of yield per acre. Yields as high as 45
bushels per acre were recorded, and the average for
the state was 21 bushels. Total production of 2,121,000 bushels of wheat this year compares with 1,838,000
bushels harvested in 1930 and the five-year average of
1.865.000 bushels. The quality of West Virginia
wheat is not up to last year, the crop having been dam­
aged somewhat while in the shock by heavy rains.
Oats are in much better condition this year than last,
and a yield of 3,850,000 bushels is indicated, in com­
parison with 2,972,000 bushels in 1930. Hay yields are
forecast this year at 860,000 tons, compared with
446.000 tons in 1930 and a five-year average of 1,126,000 tons. The Irish potato crop in West Virginia is
below average this year, but is far better than a year
ago. Present condition of the crop indicates a yield of
3.510.000 bushels, compared with 2,800,000 bushels last
year and a five-year average of 5,800,000 bushels. The
sweet potato forecast for 1931 is 220,000 bushels, com­
pared with 150,000 bushels in 1930 and 254,000 bushels
the average for the past five years. Pastures are some­
what below the ten-year average in conditions, but are
considered good in all sections of the state. The

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

August 1 estimate of apple production this year was
11.832.000 bushels, compared with only 3,944,000
bushels harvested in 1930 and a five-year average of
6.882.000 bushels. Of the total apple crop, 1,775,000
barrels are expected to move into commercial channels,
compared with only 680,000 barrels last year. A very
large peach crop is forecast, 1,142,000 bushels this year
comparing with only 122,000 bushels last year and a
five-year average of 538,000 bushels. The prevailing
price for peaches is so low, however, that probably only
the best quality fruit will move to market.
North Carolina small grains made record yields this
year. Wheat yield is forecast at 6,180,000 bushels,
compared with 4,288,000 bushels in 1930, and an oat
crop of 8,181,000 bushels compares with 6,521,000
bushels last year. Weather was favorable for corn
in North Carolina in July, and the August 1 condition
indicated a production of 59,198,000 bushels this year,
compared with 51,865,000 bushels last year. This
year’s hay crop of 990,000 tons compares with 748,000
tons cut in 1930. Prospects at present indicate an Irish
potato crop of 10,544,000 bushels in 1931, compared
with 8,590,000 bushels dug in 1930, and this year’s
sweet potato yield of 12,075,000 bushels contrasts with
9.506.000 bushels last year. The North Carolina apple
crop is forecast at 5,329,000 bushels this season, of
which 266,000 barrels will be handled commercially,
compared with 2,555,000 bushels in 1930, of which
100.000 barrels made up the commercial crop. In com­
mon with practically all of the peanut belt, the stand
of peanuts in North Carolina is poor this year, but
otherwise the crop promises a good yield.
South Carolina crops improved considerably in July,
and on August 1 were about 15 per cent above the
ten-year average and almost up to the fine prospects of
August 1 a year ago. The wheat yield this year totaled
720.000 bushels, compared with 474,000 bushels
harvested in 1930, and oats this year produced
10.935.000 bushels in comparison with 9,016,000
bushels last year. Corn is expected to produce 25,451.000 bushels in 1931, compared with 25,806,000
bushels last year, and the 1931 hay crop is forecast at
190.000 tons in comparison with 171,000 tons in 1930.
A sweet potato crop of 4,180,000 bushels compares with
5.200.000 bushels dug in 1930. All fruit crops in
South Carolina are larger this year than last. The
drought in 1930 affected South Carolina crops relatively
little, and therefore there is not the wide difference in
prospective yields for 1931 crops in comparison with
1930 yields to be noticed in the figures given elsewhere
in the Review for Maryland, West Virginia and Vir­
ginia. North Carolina also suffered much less from
last year’s drought than the states in the upper half of
the Fifth district.




Building Permits Issued, Fifth District Cities,
July 1931 and 1930
CITIES

Permits Iss’d

Total Valuation

1931

1931

1930

$4,989,120
62,865
28,362
20,145
88,775
11,880
77,380
233,093
18,080
21,435
287,285
41,775
12,500
149,828
22,400
8,850
18,300
80,510
70,925
24,565
96,625
25,715
51,800
11,040
32,200
97,500
93,025
61,612
62,035
252,193
12,190
2,305,115
$9,369,123

$2,558,760
16,365
15,482
129,121
50,250
4,930
236,212
246,314
17,895
19,343
303,713
968,741
20,265
204,082
13,840
47,740
55,155
287,696
71,575
60,761
39,690
29,600
350
27,000
22,200
117,525
37,502
115,245
51,585
75,450
57,545
2,356,570
$8,258,502

1930

Baltimore, Md.............. 1,179 1,408
Cumberland, Md.
20
17
Frederick, Md..............
15
11
Hagerstown, Md.
12
28
Salisbury, Md........ .....
30
22
Danville, Va.................
11
11
Lynchburg, Va..............
32
47
Norfolk, Va................. 151
134
Petersburg, Va............
12
7
Portsmouth, Va. .........
29
35
Richmond, Va.............. 140
128
Roanoke, Va................ . 29
54
Bluefield, W. Va __
19
5
Charleston, W. Va.
58
40
Clarksburg, W. Va...
11
12
Huntington, W. Va.__
17
13
Asheville, N. C._____
261
43
Charlotte, N. C ___ m
77
50
Durham, N. C______
16
21
Greensboro, N. C
39
29
High Point, N. C.........
12
20
Raleigh, N. C..............
16
18
Rocky Mount, N. C
4
9
Salisbury, N. C............
3
6
Wilmington, N. C
15
17
Winston-Salem, N. C...
93
84
Charleston, S. C..........
33
47
Columbia, S. C............
60
56
Greenville, S. C............
23
21
Rock Hill, S. C______
26
15
Spartanburg, S. C
37
17
Washington, D. C___ 590
484
District Totals .......... 2,757 2,987

Building permits issued in July in thirty-two leading
cities of the Fifth reserve district numbered 2,757,
compared with 2,987 permits issued in July 1930, but
estimated valuation figures for last month totaled
$9,369,123, an increase of 13.4 per cent over valuation
of $8,258,502 in July 1930. Fourteen of the thirtytwo reporting cities showed higher valuation figures for
July 1931 than for July 1930, but the district increase
was largely accounted for by an increase of 95 per cent
in Baltimore.
Contracts actually awarded in July for construction
work in the Fifth reserve district totaled only $17,449,102, compared with $36,357,300 reported for July
1930, according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation. Of the July 1931 awards, $5,354,157
represented residential types of construction, compared
with $8,525,705 for this class of work in July last year.
Contracts for residential work made up approximately
31 per cent of all contracts awarded in July 1931, com­
pared with only 23 per cent in July 1930.

MONTHLY REVIEW

W holesale Trade, 65 Firms

Retail Trade, 34 Department Stores
Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cit.

Di&rict

July 1931 sales, compared with sales in July 1930:
— 1.6
— 2.7
2.1
—17.8
— 2.4
Total sales Jan.-July 1931, compared with Jan.-July 1930:
— 4.8 /
— 4.3
2.1
—12.4
— 2.8
July 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on July 31, 1930:
—17.4
— 9.9
—11.3
—15.8
—12.1
July 31, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on June 30, 1931:
— 6.1
— 8.4
—10.4
— 8.1
— 8.9
Number of times stock was turned in July 1931:
.271
248
.271
.172
.248
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1931:
2.219
2.189
2.297
1.545
2.148
Percentage of July 1, 1931, receivables collected in July:
30.4
24.1
31.7
26.7
27.4

Retail trade in July in the Fifth reserve district, as
reflected in sales in 34 department stores, was in smaller
volume than in July 1930, but made the best com­
parison of all Federal reserve districts. Trade in
Washington was better than in July last year, and
Richmond stores reported a very small average decline
last month. In cumulative sales since January 1,
Washington stores lead with a gain this year of 2.1
per cent, Baltimore taking second place with a decline
of 4.3 per cent compared to Richmond’s decline of 4.8
per cent. A seasonal decrease in stocks on hand was
reported for July, and at the end of the month prac­
tically all stores were carrying considerably smaller
stocks than on July 31, 1930. The reporting stores
turned their stocks .248 times in July, and since Jan­
uary 1 stocks have been turned an average of 2.148
times, a higher figure than 1.874 times for the cor­
responding seven months last year. Collections in July
averaged 27.4 per cent of total receivables outstanding
on July 1, compared with 26.4 per cent of outstanding
receivables collected in July 1930.




7

23

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

15

Hardware

12

DrUgs

July 1931 sales, compared with sales in July 1930:
— 9.9
— 8.8
— 6.7
—20.1
— 4.4
July 1931 sales, compared with sales in June 1931:
6.6
— 3.6
2.9
— 12
6.5
Jan.-July 1931 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-July 1930:
—16.7
—22.8
— 6.3
-25.8
— 6.0
July 31, 1931 stocks, compared with July 31, 1930 stocks:
_ 8.8(8*) —32.0(4*) —24.4(5*) —12.0(8*)
_____
July 31, 1931 stocks, compared with June 30, 1931 stocks:
2.7(8*)
15.7(4*)
23.9(5*)
2.1(8*)
_____
Percentage of July 1, 1931, receivables collected in July:
63.2(14*) 31.8(6*)
29.6(6*)
27.8(12*) 56.2(8*)
—Denotes decreased percentage.

*Number of reporting firms.

Sixty-five wholesalers and jobbers reported on their
July business to the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond. In comparison with sales in July last year,
July sales this year were materially less in all of the
five lines for which figures are available, hardware
showing the greatest decline and drugs the least change.
In comparison with June 1931 sales, July sales showed
seasonal increases in three lines, but dry goods and
hardware failed to make gains last month. Shoes did
not increase as much as usual in July this year. Cumu­
lative sales since January 1 this year were lower in
every line reported upon than sales in the first seven
months of 1930, hardware with a decline this year of
25.8 per cent showing the greatest decrease.
Wholesale stocks on the shelves of the reporting
firms increased seasonally during July in all lines. In
comparison with stocks carried last year, stocks on July
31, 1931, were smaller in every line.
Collections in July were better in shoes and drugs
than in July last year, but were slower in groceries,
shoes and hardware.

(Compiled August 21, 1931)

8

MONTHLY REVIEW

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

Industrial production and factory employment de­
clined by somewhat more than the usual seasonal
amount in July, while the general level of commodity
prices remained unchanged. Conditions in the money
market continued easy.

Production and employment
Industrial production, as measured by the Board’s
index, which is adjusted to allow for the usual seasonal
variations, declined 1 per cent further in July to 83
per cent of the 1923-1925 average, compared with the
low point of 82 for last December and the year’s high
point of 90 in April. Output of iron and steel, auto­
mobiles, lumber, and copper decreased further, while
activity at textile mills and shoe factories was main­
tained at a high level.
Factory employment and payrolls declined by some­
what more than the seasonal amount from the middle
of June to the middle of July. Large decreases in
employment were reported at car-building shops and
machinery and automobile factories, and at lumber
mills. In the textile industries as a whole employ­
ment decreased somewhat less than is usual in July;
and there were increases in employment in the woolen
goods and men’s clothing industries.
Figures on the value of building contracts awarded
during July and the first half of August, as reported
by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, show a continuation
of the downward movement of recent months.
Department of Agriculture estimates based on Aug­
ust 1 conditions indicated an unusually large crop of
winter wheat, an exceptionally small yield of spring
wheat, and a total wheat crop of 894,000,000 bushels,
72,000,000 bushels larger than the five-year average.
The corn crop was estimated at 2,775,000,000 bushels,
about the usual size and 700,000,000 bushels larger
than last year’s small crop. In spite of a 10 per cent
reduction in acreage, the cotton crop was estimated
by the Department of Agriculture to be about 15,584,000 bales, an increase of 1,600,000 bales over last year.




Distribution
Freight-car loadings increased by slightly less than
the usual seasonal amount in July and department store
sales, which ordinarily decline sharply at this season,
apparently decreased somewhat more than usual.

W holesale prices
The general level of wholesale prices in July con­
tinued at 70 per cent of the 1926 average, according
to the index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In­
creases were reported in the prices of livestock and
meats, while prices of building materials and of grains,
particularly wheat, declined. During July and the first
half of August prices of cotton and cotton textiles de­
clined sharply, while prices of dairy products increased.

Bank credit
Loans and investments of reporting member banks
in leading cities declined by about $340,000,000 between
July 15 and August 12, reflecting chiefly further liqui­
dation of loans on securities, and a decrease in all other
loans, which was partly a consequence of sales of ac­
ceptances to the reserve banks. The volume of the
member banks’ investments also showed a slight de­
cline for the period.
At the reserve banks there was an increase in the
total volume of credit of $190,000,000 between July
15 and August 19. Demand for reserve bank credit
during this period increased as a result of an outflow
of $144,000,000 of currency, which was larger than is
usual at this season, and further transfers of foreign
funds from the open market into balances at the re­
serve banks. This demand for reserve bank credit
was met by the reserve banks for the most part through
the purchase of bills and United States Government
securities in the open market, but also through increased
discounts for member banks.
Money rates remained at low levels.

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