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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

Chairman and F e d eral R eserve A gent

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
n e te e n t
r y w o an­
not available
Ni nualthisstatisticsh iaret but- tsome gen­
as
is written,
eral trends of business during the year
can be pointed out. The depression
continued progressively during the
first two-third® of the year, but about
the beginning of September the de­
scending curves on business charts be­
gan to level off, and in a few lines of
trade and industry turned slightly up­
ward. On the whole, these moderate
gains were maintained until the end
of the year, with the result that some
annual statistics when compiled will
show up better than was indicated in
the first half of the year. After the
first quarter of 1932, bank failures in the Fifth dis­
trict declined sharply, but commercial failures contin­
ued in large numbers. Some progress was made in
overcoming hoarding after bank failures were checked,
and a considerable volume of funds was added to cir­
culation during the closing months of the year from
other sources than banks. Textile mills rather sud­
denly increased their operations during the late sum­
mer, when it appeared that this year’s cotton crop
would be much smaller than the yield of 1931, and,
although the crop turned out considerably larger than
early season estimates, the mills held to the scale of
operations established in August and September. In
textile sections, the increased activity of the mills and
larger pay-rolls was reflected in improved business in
many other lines, especially in retail trade. Employ­
ment did not improve during the year except in a few
scattered industries, but on the contrary, the number
of unemployed persons slowly increased. Building
declined still further in the Fifth district in 1932,
especially in city construction, but road and highway
work continued at about the usual rate and in the
closing weeks of the year plans were made for ex­
tensive road and bridge work as a relief measure. Ag­
ricultural yields turned out much worse than yields
last year, and the price level for farm products failed




DECEMBER 31, 1932
to advance in keeping with reduced
production, thus further reducing the
purchasing power of the rural popu­
lation.
Examining specifically the develop­
ments in the Fifth reserve district be­
tween the first of November and the
middle of December, most of them
appear to be seasonal in character. Re­
discounts for member banks at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
decreased moderately between Novem­
ber 15 and December 15, and member
bank reserve balances increased. There
was an increase in the volume of Fed­
eral reserve notes in actual circulation,
a normal development at this season
when holiday itrade increases the need for currency.
Reporting member banks reduced both loans and in­
vestments between the middle of November and the
middle of December, and their deposits also dropped
slightly during the month. Debits to individual ac­
counts figures in five weeks ended December 14 failed
to show a normal seasonal increase in comparison with
debits in the preceding five weeks, ended November 9,
but on the contrary declined 2.5 per cent. Employ­
ment showed no improvement in November and early
December; there was some seasonal rise in unemploy­
ment, chiefly as a result of inclement weather.-. Coal
production in the United States in November exceeded
production in November 1931, the first month since
the depression began in which production exceeded
production of the preceding year. Textile mills in the
Fifth reserve district consumed more cotton last month
than they used in either October 1932 or November
1931. Spot cotton prices, which declined in November,
resisted the influence of an unexpectedly large esti­
mate of production released on December 8 and since
that date advanced slightly over the price prevailing
just prior to the report. Tobacco markets in North
Carolina and Virginia sold much less tobacco in No­
vember than in the same month last year, the decrease
being due in part to later opening of some markets this

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

year but chiefly to a much lower production in 1932
in both states. Average prices realized by growers last
month were moderately higher than November 1932
prices, and the quality of tobacco sold was also slightly
better. Tobacco manufacturing declined further in
November except for snuff, which showed an increase
in production over November last year. Construction
work provided for in November building permits and
contract awards was in very small volume. Retail
trade in department stores in November was relatively
better than trade in October, and wholesale trade was
up to seasonal level in most lines in comparison with
trade in recent months.

Reserve Bank Statement
ITEMS

Dec. 15
1932

000 omitted
Nov. 15 Dec. 15
1932
1931

cash reserves, and a rise of 5.32 points in the ratio of
cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined.

Member Bank Statement
ITEMS

Dec. 14
1932

000 omitted
Nov. 9
Dec. 9
1932
1931

Loans on stocks and bonds
(including Governments)__ $115,090 $118,178 $144,415
191,370 194,787 233,640
All other loans____________
Total loans and discounts.... 306,460 312,965 378,055
Investments in stocks & bonds 267,118 273,902 237,023
34,136
35,483
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank..
35,757
Cash in vaults-------------------13,361
15,438
13,631
Demand deposits __________ 281,809 287,145 310,958
226,355 231,072 231,769
Time deposits ____________
Borrowed from F. R. Bank
3,976
5,735
16,515

The accompanying table shows the principal items
of condition of forty-nine regularly reporting member
Rediscounts held ........_............. $ 15,935 $ 18,310 $ 36,081
banks in twelve cities of the Fifth reserve district as
1,969
1,945
11,528
Open market paper------------of three dates, thus affording an opportunity for com­
47,133
47,133
25,025
Government securities -------700
parison of the latest available figures with those of the
0
0
Other earning assets----------67,388
73,334
65,037
corresponding dates a month and a year earlier. It
Total earning assets--------99,046
Circulation of Fed. res. notes.. 102,653 100,889
should be understood that the figures in the table
55,381
55,082
49,006
Members’ reserve deposits---reflect conditions as of the report dates only, and are
94,124
93,727
102,819
Cash reserves ____________
not necessarily the highest or lowest figures that oc­
58.86
60.22
64.18
Reserve ratio -------------------curred during the interval between the dates.
Rediscounts for member banks held by the Federal
Most of the changes during the past month in the
Reserve Bank of Richmond decreased seasonally by combined statement of the forty-nine reporting mem­
$2,375,000 between November 15 and December 15, ber banks were seasonal in character. Between No­
but there was a very small increase of $24,000 in the vember 9 and December 14, both this year, loans by
portfolio of open market paper. No change occurred these banks decreased $6,505,000, about equally di­
in the holdings of Government securities during the vided between security loans and all other loans. Total
month under review, but the reduction in rediscounts investments in bonds and securities also declined, by
held lowered the total earning assets of the Richmond $6,784,000, and aggregate reserve balances of the re­
bank by $2,351,000. Between November 15 and De­ porting institutions at the Federal Reserve Bank of
cember 15, the circulation of Federal reserve notes Richmond decreased by $1,621,000. Cash in vaults
rose $1,764,000, a seasonal increase due to needs for declined $270,000 during the past month. Between
additional currency in connection with holiday buying. November 9 and December 14, deposits in the report­
Member bank reserve deposits at the Federal Reserve ing banks declined a total of $10,053,000, demand de­
Bank of Richmond rose by $6,076,000 last month. The posits decreasing $5,336,000 and time deposits drop­
several changes in the statement enumerated, with ping $4,717,000. The several changes mentioned en­
others of less importance, raised the cash reserves of abled the banks to reduce thier borrowing at the re­
the Richmond bank by $9,092,000 during the past serve bank by $1,759,000 during the past month. Thir­
month, and also raised the ratio of reserves to note teen of the forty-nine reporting banks were borrow­
and deposit liabilities combined by 3.96 points.
ing at the reserve bank on December 14, compared
A comparison of the figures on the statement for with sixteen banks which were borrowing on Novem­
December 15, 1932, with the figures for December 15, ber 9.
Condition figures for December 14, 1932, were low­
1931, shows a decrease of $8,297,000 in the bank’s
total earning assets this year. Rediscounts for member er in all items except investments than corresponding
banks dropped $20,146,000 during the year, the port­ figures for December 9, 1931. Loans in the forty-nine
folio of open market paper declined $9,559,000, and banks declined by $71,595,000 during the year, loans
miscellaneous earning assets decreased $700,000. On on stocks and bonds dropping $29,325,000 and all
the other hand, holdings of Government securities rose other loans decreasing $42,270,000. On the contrary,
by $22,108,000 during the year. Federal reserve notes investments in bonds and securities increased by $30,
in circulation on December 15 this year totaled $3,- 095,000 between December 9 last year and December
607,000 more than notes in circulation a year earlier, 14 this year. Aggregate reserve balances of the fortybut member bank reserve deposits at the Federal Re­ nine reporting banks at the Federal Reserve Bank of
serve Bank of Richmond declined by $229,000 during Richmond declined by $1,347,000 during the year
the year, the latter change a mere daily fluctuation. under review, and cash in vaults dropped $2,077,000.
These changes in the statement, with others, resulted There was a decrease of $34,563,000 in total deposits
in an increase of $8,695,000 in the Richmond bank’s in the reporting banks in the period, demand deposits




MONTHLY REVIEW
declining by $29,149,000 and time deposits falling $5,414,000. A decrease in loans approximately double the
drop in deposits provided the funds for the increase
in investments previously mentionsd, and also enabled
the reporting banks to decrease thier borrowings at
the reserve bank by $12,539,000 during the year. On
December 14, 1932, only thirteen of the forty-nine
banks were borrowing at the Federal Reserve Bank
of Richmond, compared with twenty-eight borrowing
institutions on December 9, 1931.

Time and Savings Deposits
Time deposits in forty-nine reporting member banks
and aggregate deposits in twelve mutual savings banks
in Baltimore totaled $433,285,126 at the end of No­
vember 1932, a lower figure than either $438,683,140
reported at the end of October this year or $444,717,740 reported at the end of November last year. The
percentage of decrease in time deposits in reporting
member banks last month was about 2 per cent, while
savings deposits in mutual savings banks declined only
3/10ths of 1 per cent.

Debits to Individual Accounts
CITIES

Asheville, N. C.-----Baltimore, Md...........
Charleston, S. C.---Charleston, W. Va.....
Charlotte, N. C.-----Columbia, S. C.____
Cumberland, Md.......
Danville, Va............ ~
Durham, N. \C.____
Greensboro, N. C.__
Greenville, S. C____
Hagerstown, M d .__
Huntington, W. Va...
Lynchburg, V a .-----Newport News, Va__
Norfolk, V a .______
Portsmouth, Va. ___
Raleigh, N. C
Richmond, Va...........
Roanoke, Va..............
Spartanburg, S. C.....
Washington, D. C...
Wilmington, N. C__
Winston-Salem, N. C.
Fifth District Totals

000 omitted
Total debits, five weeks ended
Dec. 14,
Nov. 9,
Dec. 9,
1932
1932
1931
$

9,124
287,582
11,116
31,937
37,654
14,104
6,205
7,040
21,585
11,154
11,685
6,452
11,758
14,167
8,174
42,324
4,188
19,659
124,380
20,475
5,818
203,709
8,006
24,645

$ 942,941

$

8,578
302,226
12,179
30,450
39,084
13,854
5,826
6,283
22,113
14,806
13,540
6,002
10,819
13,941
7,033
37,981
3,371
17,264
128,263
21,498
6,856
209,092
8,230
27,404

$ 966,693

$

12,671
357,873
11,400
40,896
#3,641
24,272
8,005
9,820
28,918
20,275
J 6,666
7,302
16,757
17,404
11,836
52,340
6,037
27,038
140,181
30,345
10,171
250,095
,10,665
02,641

$1,187,249

Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts
figures in the table reported for three equal periods
of five weeks each by clearing house banks in twentyfour leading Fifth district cities, show an unseasonal
decrease during the period ended December 14, in com­
parison with the five weeks ended November 9. Ag­
gregate debits in the reporting cities totaled $942,941,000 during the five weeks ended December 14, a de­
crease of $23,752,000, or 2.5 per cent, under the total
of $966,693,000 reported for the preceding period this
year. Among the twenty-four reporting cities, exactly




3

half increased and half decreased during the five weeks
Among the larger cities, Norfolk reported increased
debits, but Baltimore, Richmond and Washington all
failed to register seasonal increases.
In comparison with debits totaling $1,187,249,000
reported for the five weeks ended December 9, 1931,
the total for the corresponding five weeks this year
showed a decrease of $244,308,000, or 20.6 per cent.
A part of the reduction is due to lower price levels in
some lines this year, and the influence of the tax on
checks also tended to lower 1932 debits figures, but a
generally lower level of business activity probably ac­
counted for most of the decline. Every one of the
twenty-four cities reported lower debits figures for
the 1932 period. The three largest cities declined as
follows: Baltimore 19.6 per cent, Washington 18.5 per
cent, and Richmond 11.3 per cent.

Commercial Failures
The month of November 1932 witnessed 147 insol­
vencies in the Fifth reserve district, with aggregate
liabilities totaling $4,250,000, compared with 139 in­
solvencies and liabilities totaling $2,570,911 in Novem­
ber 1931, and only 119 failures and $1,933,670 in lia­
bilities in October 1932. The district therefore shows
an increase of 5.8 per cent in the number of failures
and a rise of 65.3 per cent in liabilities involved in
November 1932 in comparison with November 1931.
On the other hand, there were 2,073 failures in the
United States in November, with liabilities totaling
$53,621,127, compared with 2,195 failures and $60,659,612 in liabilities in November last year, decreases
last month of 5.6 per cent in number of insolvencies
and of 11.6 per cent in aggregate liabilities. In the
United States, seven of the twelve reserve districts
reported fewer failures in November 1932 than in
November 1931, and six of the twelve districts re­
ported lower aggregate liabilities.

Employment
Weather in late November and the first half of De­
cember was unfavorable for outside work, and there
was some seasonal increase in unemployment. To
counteract this increase, a number of localities are un­
dertaking emergency work, partly by the use of funds
borrowed from the Reconstruction Finance Corpora­
tion. City governments are making part time work
for unemployed heads of families, having parks clean­
ed and planted, trees set out, streets and alleys cleaned
more frequently, etc. Textile employees continue fair­
ly well employed, and there has been some seasonal
increase in coal mining, but otherwise all recent in­
creases in work have been artificially stimulated as re­
lief measures, and are as a rule being paid for either
directly or indirectly from public funds. Calls for
relief from charitable agencies and public welfare de­
partments are heavier this winter than in any other
winter since the depression set in, but this does not
necessarily prove that more people are unemployed
than last winter. Part of the increased distress is un­
doubtedly due to the length of the depression, many

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

families with means to care for themselves for awhile j price had advanced to 5.66 cents, and on December 16,
the latest date for which figures are available, it was
now having exhausted their surplus funds.
5.80 cents. The advances noted on December 9 and 16
Coal Production
were unusual in view of the Department of Agricul­
Bituminous coal mined in the United States in No­ tures’ final estimate of cotton production for this year,
vember this year totaled 30,634,000 net tons, a decrease ! which increased the figure issued a month earlier by
from 32,677,000 tons mined in October 1932 but an j a little more than three-quarters of a million bales.
increase over 30,110,000 tons dug in November 1931. | Production figures on this year’s cotton crop, re­
Total output of bituminous coal in the United States j leased by the Department of Agriculture on December
during the present calendar year to December 1 j 14, totaled 12,727,000 equivalent 500-pound bales, an
amounts to 274,559,000 net tons, compared with 347,- j increase of 780,000 bales over the estimate made on
850.000 tons mined to the same date last year. Ship- j October 1, but 4,369,000 bales below 1931 production
ments of coal through Hampton Roads in November l Weather was favorable for cotton during most of the
totaled approximately 1,421,000 tons, and total ship­ 1932 growing season, and the Department of Agricul­
ments from January 1 through November 30 totaled ture increased its estimate of production every month.
Starting with an estimate of 11,306,000 bales on Aug­
14.830.000 tons
The November 26 report of the Bureau of Mines. ust 1, increases of 4,000 bales were made in Septem­
Department of Commerce, gave bituminous coal pro­ ber, 115,000 bales in October, 522,000 bales in Novem­
duction by states for the month of October 1932 West ber, and 780,000 bales in December, a total increase
Virginia led all states with 8,784,000 net tons, Penn­ of 1,421,000 bales, or 12.6 per cent, between the Aug­
sylvania ranking second with 7,680,000 tons and Ken­ ust 1 and December 1 reports. The latest report stated
tucky third with 4,038,000 tons West Virginia’s pro­ that the large increase in the December estimate over
duction in October was 11.3 per cent below October earlier estimates was due in part to a larger per acre
1931 figures, while the United States total output de­ yield than was expected and in part to an unusually
small abandonment of acreage this year. Along with
clined only 8.5 per cent in October this year.
the National figures, the production estimate for the
Fifth district was raised above the November 1 figure,
Textiles
increases occurring in both Carolinas. North Caro­
Fifth District cotton textile mills continued opera­ lina’s probable production for 1932 was given in the
tions during November at recent levels, which amounts latest estimate as 640,000 bales, a higher figure than
to more than full time on a day-light basis. There 575.000 bales forecast a month earlier but less than
was some decline in forward orders, but not sufficient 756.000 bales raised in 1931. South Carolina’s fore­
to cause curtailment in output for the present. Con­ cast of 695,000 bales shows an increase over 650,000
sumption of cotton in Fifth district mills slightly in­ bales predicted a month earlier, but is less than final
creased in comparison with October, and materially ginnings of 1,005,000 bales last year. The Virginia
exceeded consumption in November 1931. In Novem­ yield for 1932 is 28,000 bales, compared with 28,000
ber this year, North Carolina mills used 124,126 bales bales expected on November 1 and 42,000 bales grown
of cotton, South Carolina mills used 110,077 bales, last year. Total production in the Fifth district is
and Virginia mills used 12,572 bales, a district total of therefore expected to be about 440,000 bales less this
246,775 bales, compared with 242,038 bales consumed year than in 1931.
in the district in October 1932 and 212,884 bales used
Ginning figures to December 1, released by the Cen­
in November 1931. The district increase of 2.0 per sus Bureau on December 8, showed 11,631,361 bales
cent in cotton used in November in comparison with ginned from this year’s crop, compared with 15,018,403
October was larger than the National increase of bales of last year’s crop ginned before December.
3/10ths of 1 per cent, but the increase last month in
Cotton consumption in American mills in Novem­
the district over consumption in November 1931 ber totaled 503,722 bales, according to the report of
amounting to 15.9 per cent was less than the National the Census Bureau released on December 14. This
increase of 18.5 per cent. Consumption of cotton in figure shows an increase over 502,244 bales consumed
the Richmond reserve district in November this year during the month of October this year, and is approxi­
totaled 48.99 per cent of National consumption com­ mately 18.5 per cent above 425,228 bales consumed
pared with 48.19 per cent in October 1932 and 50.06 in November 1931. Total consumption during the
per cent in November 1931.
four months of the present cotton year amounted to
1,900,222 bales, compared with 1,775,616 bales con­
Cotton Statistics
sumed during the four months ended November 30,
Spot cotton prices declined further after the middle 1931. Cotton on hand at manufacturing establishments
of November, but in the first half of December re­ on November 30 this year totaled 1,456,913 bales, com­
gained some of the ground lost in the preceding month. pared with 1,266,816 bales held on October 31 this
In our November 30 Review we quoted the average year and 1,446,941 bales held on November 30 last
price paid for middling cotton on ten Southern mar­ year. Bales in public warehouses and compresses num­
kets on November 18 as 6.15 cents per pound. The bered 10,677,362 at the end of November, 9,826,875
price declined during the next two weeks to an average at the end of October, and 10,704,371 on November
of 5.62 cents on December 2. On December 9 the 30, 1931. Exports of cotton totaled 1,012,411 bales




MONTHLY REVIEW
in November, compared with 1,008,023 bales sent
abroad in October this year and 1,070,643 bales in
November 1931. Total exports during the four months
of the present cotton year—August 1-November 30,
inclusive—totaled 3,206,253 bales, a higher figure than
2,854,045 bales shipped over seas during the corres­
ponding four months last year. Spindles active at
some time during November numbered 24,349,506,
compared with 24,587,732 in October this year and 24,
870,182 in November 1931.
Cotton growing states consumed 421,499 bales in
November, compared with 355,347 bales used in No­
vember last year. Last month’s consumption in the
cotton growing states amounted to 83.68 per cent of
National consumption, compared with 83.57 per cent
of National consumption used in cotton growing states
in November last year. Of the 421,499 bales of cot­
ton consumed in the cotton growing states in Novem­
ber, the Fifth district mills used 246,775 bales, or 58.55
per cent, a lower figure than 59.91 per cent of Southern
consumption attained by Fifth district mills in No­
vember last year.

5

estimate that the quality of tobacco sold in November
graded 18 per cent good, 36 per cent medium, and 46
per cent common, compared with 16 per cent good, 38
per cent medium, and 46 per cent common for tobacco
sold in November 1931.

Tobacco Manufacturing

Tobacco factories further reduced output in Novem­
ber, and continued operations at a level below that of
1931. Stamp taxes paid to the Federal Treasury on
all tobacco products in November this year totaled
$29,186,635, compared with $31,564,443 in October
1932 and $30,208,135 in November 1931. In quantity
of production, cigarettes manufactured dropped from
7,850,253,728 cigarettes in November 1931 to 7,614,246,565 cigarettes in November 1932, cigars dropped
from 477,458,157 to 419,173,428, and manufactured
tobacco for smoking and chewing dropped from 25,229,734 pounds to 25,148,846 pounds. On the other
hand, snuff production rose from 2,705,103 pounds in
November last year to 2,850,789 pounds in November
this year.

Tobacco Marketing

Agricultural Notes

North Carolina auction tobacco market sold 61,440,005 pounds of growers’ tobacco in November 1932, at
an average price of $12.68 per hundred pounds, com­
pared with 116,419,691 pounds sold in November 1931,
at $8.81 cents per hundred pounds. Total sales this
season on North Carolina markets reached 244,577,776
pounds prior to December 1, compared with 358,269,502 pounds sold on the same markets prior to De­
cember 1931. Last month Winston-Salem led in sales
with 10,653,914 pounds, Greenville ranking second with
7,943,852 pounds. Durham led all North Carolina
markets in average price paid in November with $15.20
per hundred pounds, Fuquay Springs ranking second
with an average of $14.58 per hundred. In season sales
Greenville reports 33,251,274 pounds, Wilson ranking
second with 31,483,924 pounds.
Virginia leaf tobacco sales in November amounted
to 15,434,328 pounds, for a total of $1,400,569, com­
pared with 24,564,905 pounds sold for $1,951,126 in
November 1931, according to warehouse reports to the
Commissioner of Agriculture. The average price for
all types of tobacco sold in November was $9.08 per
hundred pounds, compared with $7.94 last year and
$9.14 two years ago. Flue-cured sales amounted to
14,491,003 pounds, with an average of $9.23 per hun­
dred pounds, while for the same month last year sales
of this type amounted to 22,951,514 pounds at an aver­
age price of $8.16 per hundred. Flue-cured prices im­
proved slightly during November and the average for
the month was about 3 per cent above the October av­
erage. Fire-cured markets did not open until about the
middle of November, and therefore sales for last
month were much less than usual, the total for this
type being 914,863 pounds at an average of $6.64 per
hundred pounds. In November last year, 1,512,939
pounds of fire-cured tobacco were sold for an average
price of $4.76 per hundred. Burley and sun-cured
markets did not open until December. Warehousemen

Harvests for 1932 are practically completed, but
final production figures are not yet available. In the
next issue of this Review a table will be printed, con­
taining production figures for the leading crops of the
Fifth reserve district for 1932 in comparison with
figures for some earlier years.
On the whole, 1932 was disappointing to farmers,
yields of many crops being low on account of hot, dry
weather during the growing season, and prices contin­
uing very low. Material reductions were made in
acreages planted to cash crops, but previously accumu­
lated surpluses, together with lessened demand as a
result of the world-wide depression, prevented much
advance in prices. Crops were made cheaply, much less
fertilizer than in normal years being used, but returns
in many cases failed to pay even the relatively low ex­
pense of production. Farmers raised large crops of
food and feed crops this year, and are therefore pre­
pared to live at home to a considerably greater degree
than is the case when prices for cash crops are better.




Construction

Building inspectors in thirty-two Fifth district cities
issued 1,894 permits in November this year, compared
with 2,338 permits issued in November last year. Esti­
mated valuation figures last month totaled only $1,908,504, a decrease of 53.7 per cent in comparison with
$4,122,775 valuation for November 1931. Nine of the
thirty-two cities reported higher valuation figures for
the 1932 month, but the three largest cities reported
low figures, Richmond actually falling below several
much smaller cities.
Contracts awarded in November for construction
work in the Fifth district, including both rural and
urban projects, totaled $9,809,965, compared with $19,644,097 awarded in November 1931 and $15,067,295
in November 1930, according to figures collected by
the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Of the awards in No-

MONTHLY REVIEW

6

vember this year, $2,263,735, or 23.1 per cent, was
for residential work, compared with $3,791,522, or
19.3 per cent, for this type of work in 1931.

Building Permits Issued, Fifth District Cities,
November 1932 and 1931
CITIES

Total Valuation
1932
1931
$1,772,040
1,025 $ 903,840
3,370
1,970
10
5,726
510
11
6,155
30,710
9
8,575
6,200
13
23,982
6,020
8
45,212
25,302
28
72,115
117,225
119
2,100
31,253
5
5,394
23,239
37
40,185
115,485
103
57,672
10,660
43
5.120
2,595
2
18,884
41,377
45
12,655
8,888
18
4.120
19,830
29
12,699
7,390
24
11,965
115,513
36
16,640
21,675
8
25,729
79,415
37
5,925
17,590
16
17,310
240,624
18
1,550
11,510
11
1,050
6,600
4
10,850
18,800
17
27,360
21,353
48
42,855
18,789
33
26,631
73,102
46
7,745
18,665
15
9,890
8,475
10
5,425
1,650
14
520,585
1,197,510
496

Permits Issued
1932
1931

Baltimore, Md. —
Cumberland, Md.......
Frederick, Md............
Hagerstown, Md......Salisbury, Md......... Danville, Va..............
Lynchburg, Va..........
Norfolk, Va..............
Petersburg, Va.........
Portsmouth, Va.........
Richmond, Va......... Roanoke, Va..............
Bluefield, W. Va----Charleston, W. Va.-...
Clarksburg, W. Va...
Huntington, W. Va.~
Asheville, N. C.-----Charlotte, N. C----Durham, N. C.------Greensboro, N. C.—
High Point, N. C---Raleigh, N. C.-------Rocky Mount, N. C...
Salisbury, N. C.-----Wilmington, N. C..~.
Winston-Salem, N. C.
Charleston, S. C.---Columbia, S. C.-----Greenville, S. C.___
Rock Hill, S. C____
Spartanburg, S. C—
Washington, D. C..

889
7
6
8
10
7
39
117
5
21
59
16
7
59
13
16
25
15
11
29
7
13
2
2
16
38
33
39
21
10
11
343

Totals _________

1,894

2,338 $1,908,504

$4,122,775

Retail Trade, 33 Department Stores_____________
Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District
November 1932 sales, compared with sales in November 1931:
—14.3
—14.6
—15.1
—18.4
—15.1
Jan.-Nov. 1932 sales, compared with Jan.-Nov. 1931:
—19.7
—19.6
—16.0
—24.1
—18.6
Nov. 30, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Nov. 30, 1931:
—15.8
—14.0
—13.0
—24.2
—15.0
Nov. 30, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Oct. 31, 1932:
+ 3.1
+ 2.1
+ 7.3
+ 1.9
+ 4.2
Number of times stock was turned in November 1932:
.297
.316
.301
.221
.298
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1932:
3.171
3.198
3.319
2.303
3.139
Percentage of Nov. 1, 1932, receivables collected in Nov.:
29.5
22.1
27.7
26.9
25.2

Department store trade in November in the Fifth
Federal reserve district was about up to seasonal level,
but averaged 15.1 per cent less in dollars than sales in
November 1931, according to reports from thirty-three
leading stores in thirteen cities. Richmond stores as
a whole reported smaller declines in sales last month
than stores in other sections, with Baltimore in second
place. Cumulative sales in the first eleven months of
1932 totaled 18.6 per cent less than sales in the cor­
responding period of 1931, Washington leading the




other cities. During the first three weeks in December,
for which no actual figures are yet available, weather
was highly unfavorable for retail trade, and prelim­
inary reports indicate that the stores have suffered
accordingly in their holiday business.
Stocks of goods on the shelves of the reporting stores
showed a seasonal increase during November, but at
the end of the month were 15.0 per cent less than stocks
on hand on November 30, 1931, part of this increase
being due to lower prices in many lines this year. The
figures are reported in dollars, at retail selling prices.
The reporting stores turned their stocks .298 times in
November, and between January 1 and November 30
the average rate of turnover was 3.139 times, a lower
figure than 3.335 times stock was turned in the cor­
responding eleven months in 1931.
Collections during November averaged 25.2 per cent
of receivables outstanding on November 1, exactly the
same figure reported in October 1932 but lower than
27.3 per cent of outstanding receivables collected in
November 1931.

Wholesale Trade, 62 Firms
22

9

6

13

12

Groceries Dry Goods
Shoes
Hardware
Drugs
November 1932 sales, compared with sales in November 1931:
—12.4
— 4.9
— .9
— 2.5
—13.3
November 1932 sales, compared with sales in October 1932:
— 5.3
—15.4
—36.4
— 3.4i
— 3.5
Jan.-Nov. 1932 sales, compared with Jan.-Nov. 1931 sales:
—16.5
—20.8
—11.2
—19.0
—18.2
Nov. 30, 1932, stocks, compared with Nov. 30, 1931, stocks:
—14.2(8*) — 5.4(4*) —37.1(5*) —13.4(7*)
____
Nov. 30, 1932, stocks, compared with Oct. 31, 1932, stocks:
— 7.5(8*) — 5.4(4*) —15.5(5*) — 1.6(7*) , ____
Percentage of Nov. 1, 1932, receivables collected in Nov.:
56.9(13*) 35.5(6*)
40.1(6*)
32.1(11*) 43.3(8*)
—Denotes decreased percentage. ♦Number of reporting firms.

Wholesale trade in five leading lines was in smaller
volume in November than in either October this year
or November last year, but the decrease under the
preceding month was chiefly seasonal and the drop
in comparison with the corresponding month of 1931
was less than in earlier months this year. In cumu­
lative sales since January 1, all five lines show lower
figures than for the like period of 1931, shoes decreas­
ing least with 11.2 per cent, and dry goods most with
20.8 per cent.
Stocks carried by the reporting firms decreased sea­
sonally in November, and on November 30, 1932, all
firms were carrying smaller stocks than on November
30, 1931, shoes showing the greatest decline and dry
goods the least.
The percentages of collections in November to ac­
counts receivable on the first of the month were higher
in groceries and hardware and lower in dry goods,
shoes and drugs than the percentages for October
1932. In comparison with the collection percentages
reported for November 1931, those reported for No­
vember this year were higher in groceries, dry goods
and hardware, but were lower in shoes and drugs.
(Compiled December 21, 1932)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

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

Industrial activity declined in November by some­
what more than the usual seasonal amount. Changes
in factory employment and payrolls, reported for the
middle of the month, were largely seasonal in char­
acter. Prices in wholesale commodity markets were
somewhat lower, on the average, in November than
in October, and declined further during the first three
weeks of December.

Production and Employment

Volume of industrial production, as measured by
the Board’s seasonally adjusted index, declined from
66 per cent of the 1923-1925 average in October to
65 per cent in November, compared with a low level
of 58 per cent' in July. Output at woolen mills, silk
mills, and shoe factories declined in November from
the relatively high levels of the autumn, while cotton
mills continued active. Lumber production declined
by considerably more than the usual seasonal amount.
Steel production decreased during November and the
first three weeks of December, while automobile out­
put increased considerably in connection with the in­
troduction of new models.
The number employed at factories declined some­
what from October to November, reflecting in large
part developments of a seasonal character. Working
forces in the woolen, silk, shoe, and canning industries
were reduced, while at car-building shops and at fac­
tories producing automobiles and agricultural imple­
ments there were increases in employment.
Construction contracts awarded up to December 15,
as reported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, indicate
for the last three months of the year a decline from
the third quarter of somewhat more than the usual
seasonal amount, following a non*-seasonal increase
from the second to the third quarter.
Estimates of the Department of Agriculture, based
on December 1 reports, indicate a cotton crop of 12,727,000 bales, about 800,000 bales larger than the esti­
mate a month earlier, but 4,400,000 bales smaller than
last year’s unusually large crop. Wheat, tobacco, flax­
seed, and other leading cash crops are also consider­
ably smaller than a year ago, while feed crops are sub­
stantially larger. Acreage of winter wheat planted this
fall was slightly smaller than a year ago, and condition
of the crop on December 1 was unusually poor, accord­
ing to the Department of Agriculture.

Distribution
Distribution of commodities by rail decreased sea­
sonally from October to November, while the dollar
volume of department store sales, which ordinarily ex­
pands at this season, showed a decline.




Wholesale Prices
During early November the general level of whole­
sale commodity prices advanced somewhat, reflecting
chiefly increases in prices of domestic agricultural
products; in the latter part of the month, however,
prices of livestock, cotton, and grains declined consid­
erably ; and, during the first three weeks of December,
further declines in livestock prices were reported. By
the third week of December prices of textiles, copper,
and silver, as well as of livestock, were substantially
lower than in the middle of November and the general
average of wholesale prices was at a level slightly be­
low that prevailing before the advance that occurred
last summer.

Bank Credit
During the four weeks ended December 14 there
was an addition of $85,000,000 to the country’s stock
of monetary gold. The funds derived from this source
were utilized in meeting an increase in the demand for
currency, which was smaller than usual at this season,
in further reducing by $23,000,000 the indebtedness
of member banks to the reserve banks, and in increas­
ing by $25,000,000 the volume of member bank reserve
balances. On December 15 there was a further in­
crease of $95,500,000 in the stock of monetary gold
in connection with the current payment by Great Brit­
ain on the war debt. This amount of gold was ear­
marked in London for account of the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York, and an equivalent credit was given
by that bank to the United States Treasury. This
transaction together with other fiscal operations on
December 15 resulted in a temporary addition of
$100,000,000 to the reserves of member banks, which
were subsequently reduced by Christmas currency de­
mands, and an increase in Treasury deposits with the
reserve banks.
Loans and investments of reporting member banks
declined by more than $100,000,000 between Novem­
ber 16 and December 14, reflecting reductions in the
banks’ holdings of United States Government securi­
ties, and in loans other than security loans. Loans on
securities increased, both at New York City and at
other reporting member banks.
Money rates in the open market declined further,
rates on 90-day bankers’ acceptances declining from
y2 of 1 per cent to % of 1 per cent, and rates on prime
commercial paper from a range of lj^ -lj^ per cent
to a range of
per cent.