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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
DISTRICT SUMMARY.— At the middle of De­
cember bank deposits in the Fifth reserve dis­
trict are at record levels, member banks as a
whole are in a stronger position than they oc­
cupied a year ago, and debits to individual ac­
counts figures in November above those of
November 1926 testify to the large volume of
business still being done. However, except for
holiday trade, business in the Fifth district in
November and early December was not up to the
average of recent years. In retail trade, sales of
department stores fell moderately below the
volume of sales in November last year, but were
in larger volume than average November sales
during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive.
Wholesale trade was in smaller volume than in
November 1926 in nearly all lines for which
statistics are available. The unemployment
situation did not improve during November and
early December, but on the other hand it did not
grow materially worse and concerted efforts to
bring forward some contemplated projects have
apparently improved the prospects for some re­
lief early in the coming year. The volume of
construction work provided for in permits issued
in November compared more favorably with
those of the preceding year than the permits
issued in other recent months. Business failures
in November were more numerous than in any
other November since 1921, but liabilities were
relatively low. Coal production in the country
and in the Fifth district declined in November,
and was far below the level of November 1926,
when export demand on account of the British
coal strike swelled the production figures. Textile
mills continued full time operations through
November, but early in December demand slack­
ened and a large number of mills have either re­
stricted their output or are seriously considering
some curtailment in running time. Cotton prices
declined about a cent and a half a pound during
the past month, but on the whole the crop of the
Fifth district is much more profitable this year
than last. The year 1927 was fairly favorable for
agricultural work, and farmers generally are in
better shape than they were a year ago, in spite

of local depressions here and there.


DECEMBER 31,1927
RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS.— Between
November 15th and December 15th, both this
year, the volume of rediscounts for member banks
held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
rose from $20,535,000 to $21,321,000, an unusual
rise at the season of agricultural liquidation. The
increase in rediscounts was due to an expansion
of commercial loans to customers of the city
banks. A seasonal need for additional currency
to handle the holiday trade raised the circulation
of Federal reserve notes from $76,509,000 at the
middle of November to $78,884,000 at the middle
of December. The increase in rediscounts and
purchases of bills in the open market during the
month raised the total earning assets of the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $80,522,000 to $84,128,000. Member banks lowered
their reserve deposits from $75,065,000 on Novem­
ber 15th to $73,737,ooo on December 15th. The
several changes enumerated produced a net in­
crease in the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond from $74,024,000 to $77,852,000, and raised the ratio of cash reserves to note
and deposit liabilities combined from 47.52 per
cent at the middle of November to 50.55 per cent
at the middle of December.

On December 15, 1926? member banks were
borrowing $27,643,000 from the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond, compared with $21,321,000
on the corresponding date this year. The circu­
lation of Federal reserve notes, which stood at
$85,704,000 a year ago, was $78,884,000 at the
middle of December this year. On the other
hand, the total earning assets of the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond, which were $46,679,000
on December 15, 1926, were $84,128,000 on De­
cember 15, 1927, the increase being made up of
acceptances purchased in the open market and
larger holdings of Government securities. Mem­
ber banks raised their reserve deposits at the
reserve bank from $69,940,000 at the middle of
December last year to $73,737,000 on December
15th this year, increased deposits in member
banks requiring higher reserves at the reserve
bank. The cash reserves of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond were $120,879,000 on De­
cember 15, 1926, and on December 15, 1927, were
$77,852,000. ^The ratio of cash reserves to note
and deposit liabilities combined was 76.78 per cent
at the middle of December last year and 50.55
per cent on the corresponding date this year.

CONDITION OF SIXTY-SIX REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
Dec. 7, 1927

ITEMS
Total Loans and Discounts (including all
rediscounts) ................................................
Total Investments in Bonds and Securities
Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve
Bank ............................................................
Cash in Vaults................................................
Demand Deposits .........................................
Time Deposits ................................................
Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank........

Nov. 9, 1927

Dec. 8, 1926

$524,636,000
168.675.000

$522,774,000
172.603.000

$516,252,000
131.624.000

44.330.000
14.977.000
403.391.000
242.060.000
11.921.000

44.159.000
15.213.000
394.648.000
248.866.000
13.171.000

40.573.000
16.284.000
385.158.000
206.244.000
8,116,000

The accompanying table shows totals for the principal items of condition reported by sixty-six
identical member banks of the Fifth Federal reserve district on three dates, December 7, 1927, Novem­
ber 9, 1927, and December 8, 1926. These data afford an opportunity for comparing the latest avail­
able figures with those of a month and a year earlier. The November figures were reported by sixtyseven banks and the figures for December 8th last year were reported by sixty-eight banks, but
consolidations during the year reduced the number to sixty-six without materially altering the
comparableness of the figures.
During the month between November 9th and December 7th, both this year, commercial loans
extended to customers by the reporting banks exceeded the usual fall liquidation resulting from
crop marketing, and total loans and discounts outstanding rose $1,862,000. A reduction of $3,928,000
in investments in bonds and securities enabled the reporting banks to reduce their borrowing at the
reserve bank by $1,250,000 during the month, and an increase in demand deposits totaling $8,743,000
nore than balanced a reduction of $6,806,000 in time deposits. The decrease in time deposits was
seasonal, but was larger than in most years. During the month under review, the reserve balances
of the reporting banks at the reserve bank increased by $171,000, but cash in vaults declined by $236,000, the drop in cash being an unusual development at this season.
In comparison with the figures reported on December 8, 1926, those for December 7, 1927, show
increases in all items except cash in vaults, which dropped $1,307,000 during the year. Loans and dis­
counts to customers rose $8,384,000 during the year, and investments in bonds and securities increased
by $37,051,000. The reporting banks increased their reserve balances at the reserve bank by $3,757,000, and also increased their borrowing at the reserve bank by $3,805,000. During the year,
demand deposits rose $18,233,000 and time deposits $35,816,000.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
TOTAL DEBITS DURING THE FOUR WEEKS ENDED
CITIES

December 7, 1927

November 9, 1927

December 8a 1926

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

26.329.000
388.881.000
23.945.000
37.802.000
56.312.000
21.305.000
9.439.000
18.499.000
36.918.000
25.634.000
29.100.000
9.674.000
23.113.000
17.949.000
9.425.000
77.053.000
23.773.000
154.438.000
27.357.000
15.129.000
226.100.000
17.446.000
40.779.000

25.940.000
413.677.000
28.126.000
35.419.000
57.516.000
22 866.000
9.290.000
15.246.000
40.105.000
26.861.000
33.228.000
10.030.000
23.926.000
17.531.000
8.407.000
74.517.000
22.785.000
151.153.000
26.803.000
16.986.000
217.079.000
20.895.000
44.884.000

28,602,000
381.395.000
25.319.000
36.973.000
47.417.000
18.081.000

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

$1,316,400,000

$1,343,270,000

$1,282,224,000

.

8 ,212,000

16.594.000
36.308.000
24.328.000
21.143.000
10.375.000
26.861.000
18.827.000
10.516.000
82.617.000
21.260.000
135.905.000
29.418.000
12.983.000
232.365.000
19.369.000
37.356.000

Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in clearing house banks in twenty-three
leading trade centers of the Fifth reserve district totaled $1,316,400,000 during the four weeks ended



2

December 7, 1927, a decrease of 2 per cent under the total of $1,343,270,000 reported for the four
preceding weeks, ended November 9th. The more recent period contained two holidays, however,
compared with one holiday during the earlier period, and on a daily basis debits in the four weeks
ended December 7th were approximately 2.5 per cent above those in the November 9th period. Twelve
of the twenty-three cities reported lower figures for the later four weeks, while eleven cities reported
higher figures. Among the largest centers, Norfolk, Richmond and Washington reported higher
figures last month, but Baltimore, Charlotte and Winston-Salem reported lower totals.
Compared with aggregate debits during the four weeks ended December 8, 1926, when a total of
$1,282,224,000 was reported, the total of $1,316,400,000 for the four weeks ended December 7th
this year shows an increase of 2.7 per cent, a very satisfactory comparison in view of the marked
decline in construction work in the district during the year under review. Thirteen cities reported
higher and ten reported lower figures for the 1927 period. Improved conditions in the textile field
accounted for more increases than any other factor, all textile centers included in the table showing
higher debits totals this year than last.
SAVINGS DEPOSITS— Savings deposits appear to have a tendency to decline moderately in No­
vember in most years, but this year deposits in thirteen mutual savings banks in Baltimore rose
from $172,642,769 at the end of October to $174,344,100 at the end of November. A year ago deposits
in the same banks totaled $158,128,346. Time deposits in sixty-six regularly reporting member
banks followed the seasonal trend in November and early December, declining from a total of $248,866.000 on November 9th to $242,060,000 on December 7th but on the latter date stood above the
$206,244,000 reported on December 8, 1926.
BUSINESS FAILURES—As usual at this season, commercial failures in the United States have
increased, numbering 1,864 i*1 November, according to Dun's Review of December 3rd. This is 4.3
per cent more than the 1,787 defaults for October, Compared with the 1,830 failures of November
1926, the latest returns show an increase of less than 2 per cent. On the other hand, last month’s de­
faults are the largest in number for any November since 1921. Last month’s indebtedness of $36,146,573 is a little below the $36,235,872 of October and is smaller than the amounts for August, July,
May and April, as well as in each month of the first quarter of this year. However, in contrast to
this showing, the present liabilities disclose a rise of about $3,000,000 from the $32,692,993 of No­
vember 1926. For eleven months of the present calendar year commercial failures numbering 20,984
compare with 19,704 for the corresponding period of 1926, an increase of 6 per cent, and this year’s
indebtedness of approximately $469,000,000 is fully 29 per cent in excess of the $363,000,000 for the
first eleven months of last year.
Business failures in the Fifth reserve district in November totaled 137, the highest number re­
ported for any November since 1921. November 1926 witnessed 120 bankruptcies in the district. Liabili­
ties last month were lower than a year ago, totaling $2,555,698 compared with $3,067,845 in Novem­
ber 1926.
LABOR—The number of involuntarily idle workers apparently did not increase more than the
seasonal average in the Fifth reserve district during November, but the immediate unemployment
problem showed no improvement. A larger number of workmen are unable to obtain employment
than at any other time for several years, and in some of the larger centers the outlook for the near
future is such as to demand the attention of officials and others desirous of improving the situation.
A considerable number of the district’s industrial plants are closed temporarily or are operating with
skeleton forces, but the marked decrease in construction work appears to be chiefly responsible for
the existing problem. In several cities the authorities and leading builders are attempting to advance
the letting of contemplated contracts, with sufficient success to indicate that improvement may be
expected in employment shortly after the New Year.
COAL—Bituminous coal production in the United States in November totaled approximately
40.628.000 net tons, compared with 44,000,000 tons mined in October this year and 59,739,000 tons
in November 1926. The unseasonal decrease in November’s production in comparison with that of
October shows the effect of lessened activity in industry throughout the country. West Virginia led
all states in tonnage in November, but by a smaller margin than in other recent months. Total pro­
duction of soft coal in the entire country this calendar year to December 3rd amounted to 482,559,000 net tons, compared with 528,360,000 tons mined prior to December 3, 1926. On the other hand,
total production this year exceeds production in either 1925, 1924 or 1922.
TEXTILES —Textile mills in the Fifth district consumed 270,506 bales of lint cotton in November,
compared with 260,114 bales used in October this year and 249,997 bales in November last year. Each
of the three textile manufacturing states in the district used more cotton last month than in either
October 1927 or November 1926, North Carolina mills consuming 146,595 bales, South Carolina mills
111,357 bales, and Virginia mills 12,554 bales. Reports from mill executives and others indicate that
since December 1st a considerable number of mills have begun to curtail operations, and it appears
likely that there will be further restrictions in output during the next few weeks. Forward orders



3

have almost ceased, due chiefly to favorable weather for maturing and gathering the cotton crop,
and some manufactured goods have begun to accumulate at mills.
Profits on recent operations of
the mills are claimed to be very small.
BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER 1927 AND 1926.
Permits Issued
0

CITIES

z

New

1 Baltimore, Md.....

3 Frederick, Md.....
4 Hagerstown, Md...
5 Danville Va.........
6 Lynchburg, Va....
7 Norfolk, Va..........
8 Petersburg, Va.....
9 Richmond, Va......
10 Roanoke, Va........
11 Bluefield, W. Va...
12 Charleston, W. Va.
13 Clarksburg, W. Va
14 Huntington, W.Va.
15 Parkersburg,W.Va
16 Asheville, N. C....
17 Charlotte, N. C....
18 Durham, N. C......
19 Greensboro, N. C.
20 High Point, N. C...
21 Raleigh, N. C.......
22 Salisbury, N. C....
23 Wilmington, N. C.
24 Winston-Salem, N. C.
25 Charleston, S. C ...
26 Columbia, S. C.....
27 Greenville, S. C....
28 Spartanburg, S. C.
29 Washington, D. C.

517
15
3
19
19

21

54

2

71

68
12

44
31
32
15
25
67
36
52
33
28

1927

1926

618 1,001
23
5
4
1
9
27
6
17
28
17
94
68
1
3

110

60

68

24

31

0
11

35

1
12

8

21

20

13

55
25

11

46
34
38
49
43
41
14

111

22

84
16
9

13
129
17
15
33
189

Increase or Per Cent
of
Decrease
of
Increase 0
*
Total
or
2
Valuation Decrease

Alterations

Repairs

1927 1926

2 Cumberland, Md._.

New Construction

22

8

17
268

10

62
9
13

2

7

9
40
42

12

435

1927

1926

893 $ 1,964,000 $ 4,180,800
8
18,936
7,120
0
12,300
21,550
3
31,520
42,160
5
221,160
98,590
30
22,390
17,601
60
86,760
120,375
6
8,300
240
87
340,487
481,300
22
153,703
200,100
0
10,085
23,875
12
213,265
49,515
21
381,075
78,315
4
46,605
41,400
0
35,350
32,800
43
200,431
513,425
16
317,040
237,600
15
137,850
258,202
32
868,720
614,840
5
94,100
200,800
5
117,425
138,855
6
23,950
49,295
3
51,100
49,800
45
403,760
190,720
28
16,095
14,942
45
88,700
26,395
22
99,600
16,700
15
39,430
68,740
352 2,684,170
3,067,650

Totals......... 1,593 1,749 2,108 1,783 $ 8,688,307 $10,843,705

1927

1926

$ 478,300 $
36,760
500
7,225
1,318
16,270
67,795
475
36,148
21,564

0

3,900
7,950

100

12,350
35,435
16,989

6,000

31,358
3,575
8,815
975
9,850
50,186

2,220

19,545
43,105
2,625
338,955
$1,260,288

505,566
52,290

0

475
16,562
18,526
19,080
2,790
55,546
15,640

0

11,128
11,375

6,100
0

32,715
11,600
13,380
9,892
1,600
2,650
2,580
3,800
38,950
7,860
46,223
7,245
2,250
317,175

$-2,244,066
—
3,714
—
8,750
—
3,890
107,326
2,533
15,100
5,745
— 160,211
— 40,473
— 13,790
156,522
299,335
—
795
14,900
— 310,274
84,829
— 127,732
275,346
— 104,725
— 15,265
— 26,950
7,350
224,276
—
4,487
35,627
118,760
— 28,935
— 361,700

—
—
—
—

47.9%
6.3
40.6
9.1
93.2
7.0

10.8

189.6
— 29.8
— 18.8
— 57.8
258.1
333.7
— 1.7
45.4
— 56.8
34.0
— 47.0
44.1
— 51.7
— 10.8
— 52.0
13.7
97.7
— 19.7
49.1
496.0
— 40.8
— 10.7

1
2

3
4
5

6

7

8

9

10
11
12

13
14
15
16
17
18
19

20
21
22

23
24
25
26
27
28
29

$1,212,998 —$ 2,108,108 — 17.5%

— Denotes decrease.
NOTE— The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits of the
several cities, but take no account of suburban developments.

Twenty-nine Fifth district cities issued i ,593 building permits for new construction in November this
year, compared with 1,478 permits in October 1927 and 1,749 in November 1926. Valuation figures
for new work totaled $8,688,307 in November 1927, $6,903,407 in October 1927, and $10,843,705 in
November 1926. For the past fifteen months the value of permits issued for new work has been lower
than in the corresponding month of the preceding year. November repair and alteration permits
totaled 2,108, with estimated valuation of $1,260,288, compared with 1,783 permits valued at $1,212,998 issued for the same class of work in November last year. Total valuation figures for all classes
of work in November 1927 were 17.5 per cent below the totals of November 1926. Among the larger
cities, Norfolk, Charlotte and Winston-Salem reported higher valuation figures this year, but figures
in Baltimore, Richmond and Washington declined. Considering the size of the cities, Greensboro,
Winston-Salem and Clarksburg made the best showing last month in the value of construction work
provided for in new permits.
COTTON— Spot cotton prices in the Carolinas declined approximately a cent and a half a pound
during the latter half of November and the first half of December. The average price paid growers
for middling cotton was 20.16 cents per pound during the week ended November 12th, but in the week
ended November 19th the average dropped to 19 .71 cents and continued downward through 19.67 cents
for the week ended November 26th to an average of 18.96 cents during the week ended December 3rd.
The week ended December 10th witnessed a slight rise to an average of 19.06 cents, but the average
for the latest week, ended December 17th, declined to 18.42 cents. During November and December
1926 spot cotton brought between 11 and 11.50 cents per pound.
The Department of Agriculture’s final cotton condition report on the 1927 crop estimated this
year’s yield at 12,789,000 bales, based on the December 1st condition. This compares with 12,842,000
bales indicated on November 1st, and final ginnings of 17,977,374 bales in 1926. The December 1st
estimate showing a decrease of 53,000 bales under the November 1st estimate was somewhat lower
than the trade expected, but cotton prices were not materially affected.



4

The Bureau of the Census ginning report to December 13th showed 12,071,799 bales ginned prior
to that date this year, compared with 15,540,804 bales ginned to the same date in 1926 and 14,831,846
bales ginned before December 13th in 1925. Due to very favorable weather for picking, a larger per­
centage of the total crop was ginned before December this year than a year ago, only 329,915 bales
being ginned between December 1st and 13th this year compared with over a million bales last year.
Cotton consumption in American mills in November totaled 625,680 bales, compared with 612,935 in October this year and 583,746 bales in November 1926. Total consumption for the four months
of the present season—August 1st to November 30th—amounted to 2,499,370 bales, compared with
2,222,930 bales consumed during the corresponding four months last year. Stocks of cotton on
hand in manufacturing establishments totaled 1,551,336 bales on November 30, 1927, compared with
1,327,095 bales a month earlier and 1,493,013 bales a year ago.
Public warehouses and compresses
held 5,969,418 bales on November 30, 1927, compared with 5,433,129 bales so held on October 31, 1927,
and 6,516,502 bales on November 30, 1926. Exports in November of 999,501 bales were lower than
1,126,509 bales sent abroad in October this year and 1,486,224 bales exported in November last year,
and total exports of 3,097,362 bales during the four months of the present season are below the
4,041,923 bales shipped over seas during the corresponding period in 1926. November imports totaled
28,845 bales, compared with 19,235 bales brought in during October and 41,441 bales in November
1926. Cotton growing states consumed 468,596 bales in November, compared with 449,040 bales used
in October and 426,129 bales consumed in November 1926. The cotton growing states used 74.89 per
cent of November's consumption this year, compared wuth 73.00 per cent of the November 1926
consumption.
Between November 1st and December 1st, the Department of Agriculture raised its estimate of
production for South Carolina by 5,000 bales, and also raised the estimate for North Carolina 12,000
bales. The estimate for Virginia was lowered 2,000 bales during the month. These changes resulted
in a net increase in November of 15,000 bales in the expected production of the Fifth district. The
final estimate for South Carolina is 735,000 bales. Ginnings in South Carolina to December 1st
totaled 700,991 bales, or 95.4 per cent of the year’s yield, in comparison with 81.7 per cent of the
1926 crop ginned to the same date last year. North Carolina’s estimated yield of 857,000 bales is 13
per cent below last year’s record crop, but the present crop is worth approximately $10,000,000 more
money. Previous to December 1st, ginnings in North Carolina totaled 787,000 bales, approximately
92 per cent of this year’s crop, compared with 80 per cent ginned before December last year. V ir­
ginia’s expected production of 32,000 bales is about 37 per cent less than the 51,000 bales grown in
1926, but the acreage planted to cotton in Virginia this year was 29 per cent less than last year.
Ginnings in Virginia totaled 23,562 bales prior to December 1st, or 73.6 per cent of the year’s yield,
compared with 73.2 per cent of the crop ginned before December a year ago. In all Fifth district cot­
ton growing states the weather was favorable for late development and for picking in October and
November, and on December 1st very little cotton remained in the fields. The good weather caused
the lint to suffer less than usual from discoloration, and very little cotton was beaten out by hard
rains.
TOBACCO—North Carolina tobacco markets sold 120,977,862 pounds of producers’ tobacco in
November at an average of $26.28 per hundred pounds. The number of pounds sold was 16 per cent
above 104,032,285 pounds sold in November last year, but this year’s price was about 5 per cent be­
low the average of $27.66 per hundred paid during the same month last year. Winston-Salem led in
November 1927 sales with 19,975,812 pounds, Wilson ranking second with 16,791,262 pounds and
Greenville third with 15,042,466 pounds. Mebane and Roxboro paid the highest average prices during
November with $32.54 and $29.09 per hundred pounds, respectively. Total season sales of 386,015,087
pounds prior to December amount to about 88 per cent of the Government estimate of the 1927 crop.
Virginia auction markets sold 40,119,836 pounds of producers’ tobacco in November. Flue-cured,
or Bright, tobacco sold totaled 35,957,135 pounds, and brought an average price of $24.20 per hundred
pounds, compared with 29,903,184 pounds sold for an average of $26.42 per hundred in November last
year. Fire-cured, or Dark, tobacco sold in November totaled 3,392,984 pounds, at an average of $9.52
per hundred, compared with 4,773,506 pounds sold for $8.07 per hundred in November 1926. Sun-cured
tobacco sold on the Richmond market totaled 769,7 J7 pounds in November and averaged $10.65 Per
hundred pounds, compared with 1,194,180 pounds at $8.51 per hundred sold in November a year ago.
In aggregate sales in November, Danville with 15,538,468 pounds sold for an average of $25.31 per
hundred led in both quantity and price, South Boston with sales totaling 7,800,160 pounds for $24.85
ranking second. Lynchburg led in Fire-cured sales with 1,420,664 pounds, but Drake’s Branch led
in price, selling 282,751 pounds of this type of tobacco for $10.19 Per hundred pounds. The quality
of the Virginia tobacco crop this season has been slightly better than last year, and prices for Firecured types have been better, but Flue-cured tobacco prices are lower than in 1926.
AGRICULTURAL NOTES— Crops in the Fifth reserve district turned out well this year, on the
whole, and it now appears that farmers are in better position than they were a year ago. There are
sections of the district in which conditions are not good, notably in southern, eastern and central



5

South Carolina where the cotton crop was very poor, but on the other hand the Piedmont counties
of that state have gathered the largest cotton crop in several years. As a whole the cotton crop of the
district was much more profitable than the 1926 crop, both because of higher prices this year and the
cheapness with which the crop was grown. Farmers raised increased supplies of food and feed crops
this year, and are in position to begin next year’s operations advantageously.
In our Review next month final production figures by states for the leading crops of the Fifth
district will be given.
FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE

As Indicated By Reports from Twenty-Nine Representative Department Stores for the Month of November 1927
Percentage increase in November 1927 sales, compared with sales in November 1926:
Baltimore
Richmond
Washington
Other Cities
District
— 7.1
.6
— 2.7
— 3.4
— 3.4
Percentage increase in total sales since January 1st, over sales during the first eleven months of 1926:
— 3.7
2.0
— 1.5
— 1.4
— 2.1
Percentage increase in November 1927 sales over average November sales during the three years 1923-1925,
inclusive:
1.1
23.6
14.1
1.8
7.7
Percentage increase in stock on hand November 30, 1927, over stock on November 30, 1926:
— 3.3
2.3
5.7
6.5
1.8
Percentage increase in stock on hand November 30, 1927, over stock on October 31, 1927:
2.6
3.4
4.5
1.3
3.2
Percentage of sales in November 1927 to average stock carried during that month:
29.7
29.2
28.6
20.6
28.1
Percentage of cumulative sales since January 1st to average stock carried during each of the eleven elapsed
months:
281.5
292.9
292.4
226-6
279.9
Percentage of outstanding orders on November 30th to total purchases of goods in 1926:
4.1
3.9
3.2
3.9
Percentage of collections in November to total accounts receivable on November 1, 1927:
25.4
31.0
31.9
33.0
28.6
— Denotes decreased percentage.

Retail trade in the Fifth reserve district in November, as reflected in sales by twenty-nine lead­
ing department stores, was 3.4 per cent below that of November 1926, but exceeded the average
volume of sales in November during the three years 1923-1925 by 7.7 per cent. Total sales this year
since January 1st were 2.1 per cent less than the record set during the first eleven months of 1926.
Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores on November 30, 1927, were 1.8 per cent larger than on
November 30, 1926, and were 3.2 per cent larger than on October 31st this year. The percentage of
sales in November to average stocks carried that month was 28.1 per cent, and the percentage of total
sales since January 1st to average stock carried during each of the eleven months was 279.9 per cent,
a slightly lower figure than 284.1 per cent attained during the corresponding eleven months last
year. Collections in November averaged 28.6 per cent of receivables outstanding on November 1st,
showing some improvement over 27.8 per cent of outstanding receivables collected in October, but a
decline from 28.9 per cent collected in November 1926.




6

WHOLESALE TRADE, NOVEMBER 1927
Percentage increase in November 1927 sales, compared with sales in November 1926:
33 Groceries
11 D ry Goods
5 Shoes
16 Hardware
5 Furniture
13 Drugs
— .5
— 11.9
— 12.1
— 9.3
— 39.6
2.6
Percentage increase in November 1927 sales, compared with sales in October 1927:
— 2.5
— 16.2
— 32.1
— 12.8
— 21.3
— 4.7
Percentage increase in total sales since January 1, 1927, compared with sales in the first eleven months of 1926:
— 5.0
— 2.2
1.8
2.2
— 10.3
— .3
Percentage increase in stock on November 30, 1927, compared with stock on November 30, 1926:
— 2.6(12*)
18.2(4*)
— 25.3(4*)
— 1.2(8*)
........
......
Percentage increase in stock on November 30, 1927, compared with stock on October 31, 1927:
1.5(12*)
— 5.8(4*)
— 6.1(4*)
— .9(8*)
........
........
Percentage of collections in November to total accounts receivable on November 1, 1927:
64.7(20*)
36.1(8*)
35.0(5*)
41.5(12*)
24.1(3*)
50.3(8*)
— Denotes decreased percentage.

* Number of reporting firms.

Eighty-three wholesale firms in six important lines of trade reported upon November’s business.
All lines except drugs show smaller sales in November this year than last, and all lines show sea­
sonally smaller sales than in October 1927. During the first eleven months of 1927, sales of shoes
and hardware slightly exceeded sales during the corresponding eleven months of 1926, but grocery,
dry goods, furniture and drug sales were less this year.
Stocks of dry goods on the shelves of the reporting firms on November 30th were larger than
on November 30, 1926, but grocery, shoe and hardware stocks were smaller. During the past month
stocks of groceries increased, but dry goods, shoe and hardware stocks decreased, as is usual at this
season.
The percentages of collections in November to accounts receivable on the first of the month were
higher in dry goods, shoes and hardware than in November 1926, but were lower in groceries, furniture
and drugs.




(Compiled December 20, 1927)

7

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

Industrial activity and freight carloadings declined further in November, while retail trade showed
more than the usual seasonal increase. The general level of wholesale commodity prices, after ad­
vancing for four months, remained practically unchanged in October and November.
PRODUCTION. Output of manufactures and minerals was re.duced in November, and the com­
bined index of production, after adjustments for customary seasonal variations, fell below the 19231925 average for the first time since 1924. The largest decline was in the output of automobiles,
owing largely to preparations for the production of new models. Iron and steel production has also
declined further and in November was the lowest since 1924. I11 December, however, inquiries for iron
and steel increased. Textile mill activity was slightly curtailed in November but continued at a
higher level than in previous years. There were decreases in the production of coal, building materials,
and leather and shoes. Building contract awards showed seasonal declines in November and the first
two weeks of December and were slightly smaller than in the corresponding period of last year.
The total value of about fifty crops in 1927 is estimated by the Department of Agriculture at
$8,430,000,000, an increase of $635,000,000 over 1926. The greatest increases in value were shown
for cotton, corn, barley and oats, while the largest decrease for any individual crop was shown for po­
tatoes. The physical quantity of production of the seventeen principal crops was about 2 per cent
less than last year but 3 per cent above the average of the last ten years.
TRADE. ' Retail trade increased slightly more than usual in November. Compared with a year
ago, retail trade of department stores, mail order houses and chain stores was larger, while wholesale
trade continued in slightly smaller volume in nearly all reporting lines. Freight carloadings de­
clined during November and in the early part of December were smaller than in the corresponding
periods for the past four years. There were large decreases in loadings of all classes of commodi­
ties.
PRICES. The general level of wholesale commodity prices, as measured by the index of the Bu­
reau of Labor Statistics, after a continued advance since early in the summer, remained at practically
the same level in November as in October. Changes were relatively small in all groups, increases
occurring in foods, and hides and leather, and decreases in farm products, textiles, fuels and building
materials. In the first two weeks of December prices of wheat, cattle, hogs, cotton, pig iron and
soft wood lumber declined, while those of silk, woolen goods, hides and sole .leather advanced.
BANK CREDIT. Between the middle of November and the middle of December total loans and
investments of member banks in leading cities showed a considerable increase, reflecting continued
growth in the volume of loans on securities and in the banks’ investment holdings. In the same period
loans chiefly for commercial purposes, which reached a seasonal peak in October, showed a further
slight decline.
At Federal reserve banks the seasonal increase in currency requirements and the continued de­
mand for gold for export during the four weeks ending December 21st were reflected in a growth in
member bank borrowing. At the end of this period the total volume of reserve bank credit in use was
larger than on any other date in the past six years. Somewhat firmer conditions in the money market
in December were reflected in increased rates on call money. Rates on prime commercial paper and
bankers acceptances remained unchanged during the month.

NOTE.

The customary charts to accompany the above summary are omitted this month, to prevent delay in printing and
mailing the Monthly Review.