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MONTHLY REVIEW BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT RICHMOND, VIRGINIA DISTRICT SUMMARY— In most respects business in the Fifth Federal reserve district in January and early February was at the same level as in December when allowance is made for the usual seasonal variations, and exceeded the volume of business done in January 1928. Debits to individual accounts figures in clearing house banks last month were higher than the corresponding figures for 1928 by 5.5 per cent. Business failures in the Fifth district were fewer in number and lower in liabilities than in January a year ago. The employment situation is dis tinctly better than it was in early 1928, with workers now more nearly employed on full time. Coal production in both the nation and the dis trict was in greater tonnage in January than in January 1928. Textile mills operated more ex tensively last month than in January a year ago, cotton consumption by Fifth district mills being 12.5 per cent above the figures for January 1928. Retail trade, as reflected in department store sales, were somewhat larger in most stores in January this year. On the other hand, there are some indications of unsatisfactory basic conditions in the district which may affect business later in the year, un less new factors are brought into play. Finan cial returns from 1928 crops were considerably lower in the aggregate than returns from 1927 crops, and the liquidation of last year’s indebt edness by farmers was not up to average years. This tends to lessen the 1929 purchasing power of the agricultural population, and handicaps the farmers in their arrangements for planting and raising a new crop. Bank deposits in reporting member banks are lower than they were a year ago, and member banks are borrowing more from the Reserve Bank to meet the needs of their customers. Building permits issued in Jan uary 1929 were fewer in number and very much lower in estimated valuation than permits is sued in January 1928, although this comparison is not as serious as might be thought, valuation figures in January 1928 having been much higher than in any other January on record. Whole sale trade in January 1929 was less in most lines than in January 1928. RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS— The vol ume of rediscounts for member banks held by Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond on Feb the FEBRUARY 28, 1929 ruary 15, 1929, was $36,999,000, compared with $40,530,000 held on January 15th this year, a de cline of $3,531,000 during the month. A decrease of $6,857,000 in the open market paper in the Bank’s portfolio between the same dates, with the decrease in rediscounts, caused the earning assets to decrease from $65,898,000 to $55,510,000, a decline of $10,388,000. Following a seasonal trend, the circulation of Federal reserve notes declined from $80,801,000 at the middle of Jan uary to $76,704,000 on February 15th, but the outstanding circulation remains higher than in recent years at this season. Member bank re serve deposits dropped from $68,294,000 to $68,082.000 between January 15th and February 15th, a daily fluctuation only. The several changes in the items mentioned, with others of less im portance, raised the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $86,934,000 at the middle of January to $98,264,000 on February 15, 1929, and also raised the ratio of cash re serves to note and deposit liabilities combined from 57.20 per cent to 66.63 per cent between the same dates. A year ago, on February 15, 1928, rediscounts for member banks held by the Richmond reserve bank totaled $25,319,000, but on February 15th this year rediscounts totaled $36,999,000. Total earning assets of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond did not increase in proportion to re discounts during the year, the Bank’s holdings of bankers’ acceptances bought ijroin member banks and in the open market having been re duced by approximately the amount of the in crease in rediscounts. Total earning assets rose from $55,112,000 on February 15th last year to $55,510,ooo on February 15th this year. The cir culation of Federal reserve notes at the middle of February 1928 totaled $66,176,000, but on Feb ruary 15, 1929, notes totaling $76,704,000 were in actual circulation. Member bank reserve de posits decreased during the year, due to lower deposits in member banks, the reserve declining from $72,323,000 on February 15, 1928, to $68,082.000 on February 15, 1929. The total cash re serves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose from $92,379,000 on February 15th last year to $98,264,000 on February 15th this year, and the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined rose from 64.96 per cent to 66.63 per cent. CONDITION OF SIXTY-THREE REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES Feb. 13, 1929 Total Loans and Discounts................................. Total Investments in Bonds and Securities.... Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank. Cash in Vaults.................. ................................. Demand Deposits .............................................. Time Deposits .................................................... Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank.............. Jan. 16, 1929 Feb. 15, 1928 $517,854,000 158,408,000 41,241,000 11,412,000 369,679,000 239,668,000 16,820,000 ITEMS $518,914,000 159,304,000 41,853,000 11,840,000 368.896,000 240,774,000 20,173,000 $511,471,000 174.559.000 43.137.000 11.784.000 380.873.000 246.687.000 15.499.000 In the accompanying table, the chief items of condition are shown for sixty-three member banks in thirteen leading cities of the Fifth reserve district, figures for three dates being included to al low for comparison of the February 13, 1929, figures with those of January 16, 1929, and February 15, 1928, the preceding month and year, respectively. It should be understood that the amounts shown represent the condition of the reporting banks on the report dates only, and are not neces sarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred during the period under review. All loans and discounts are included in one figure, a recent change in the classification of loans making it impos sible to show loans secured by different kinds of paper. During the past month, every item in the statement showed a decline except demand deposits, which rose $783,000 between January 16th and February 13th, both this year. Total loans and dis counts declined $1,060,000 last month, and the reporting banks reduced their investments in bonds and securities by $896,000 during the same period. Reserve balances of the sixty-three reporting banks at the reserve bank dropped $612,000 between January 16th and February 13th, probably only a daily fluctuation, and cash in vaults declined $428,000 between the same dates. Time deposits de creased slightly last month, falling $1,106,000 between January 16th and February 13th. The re porting banks reduced their indebtedness at the reserve bank by $3,353,000 during the period be tween January 16th and February 13th. The volume of credit extended by the reporting member banks to their customers in the form of loans and discounts on February 13, 1929, was $6,383,000 more than the volume of loans and dis counts outstanding on February 15, 1928, but total investments in bonds and securities owned by the reporting banks were $16,151,000 lower on the 1929 date than a year earlier. Aggregate reserve balances at the reserve bank on February 13th this year were $1,896,000 below those of a year ago, and cash in vaults declined during the year by $372,000. Demand deposits decreased $11,194,000 and time deposits dropped $7,019,000 between February 15, 1928, and February 13, 1929, a total de posit decline of $18,213,000. The reporting banks increased their rediscounts at the reserve bank by $1,321,000 this year. DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS CITIES TOTAL DEBITS DURING THE FIVE WEEKS ENDED February 13, 1929 Asheville, N. C........... Baltimore, Md............. Charleston, S. C......... Charleston, W. Va. ... Charlotte, N. C........... Columbia, S. C............ Cumberland, Md...... . Danville, Va................ Durham, N. C. * .......... Greensboro, N. C....... Greenville, S. C......... Hagerstown, Md......... Huntington, W. Va. ... Lynchburg, Va........... Newport News, Va. ... Norfolk, Va................. Portsmouth, Va......... Raleigh, N. C............ . Richmond, Va. h ......... Roanoke, Va............... Spartanburg, S. C...... Washington, D. C....... Wilmington, N. C....... Winston-Salem, N. C. $ 30,565,000 468,501,000 31,468,000 47,737,000 69,943,000 28,676,000 11,088,000 12,035,000 39,530,000 29,786,000 29,497,000 12,287,000 26,730,000 23,643,000 12,316.000 75,486,000 6,273,000 37,256,000 172,261,000 34,045,000 17,674,000 320,584,000 20,297,000 54,070,000 District Totals $1,611,748,000 1 This Norfolk figure includes Portsmouth figure also. January 9, 1929 $ 41,415,000 510,619,000 33,343,000 54,953,000 72,102,000 33,805,000 11,484,000 15,533,000 40,184,000 32,559,000 28,340,000 13,022,000 28,293,000 25,838,000 13,618,000 92,372,000 8,219,000 34,910,000 185,173,000 38,911,000 19,784,000 330,052,000 22,493,000 56,697,000 $1,743,719,000 February 15, 1928 $ 31,396,000 463,334,000 30,491,000 43,870,000 66,649,000 28,125,000 10,477,000 14,264,000 37,533,000 29,772,000 31,340,000 11,526,000 25,701,000 22,966,000 10,985,000 *78,801,000 26,814,000 170,050,000 31,110,000 17,441,000 271,590,000 20,827,000 51,975,000 $1,527,037,000 The accompanying table shows debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the clear ing house banks of twenty-four trade centers in the Fifth reserve district, three equal periods of five weeks being given to allow for comparison of the latest available figures with those of the pre ceding like period and the corresponding period last year. Total debits in the twenty-four reporting centers during the five weeks ended February 13, 1929, amounted to $1,611,748,000, in comparison with $1,743,719,000 reported for the preceding five weeks ended January 9, 1929. A decrease during the later period is a seasonal development, due to the unusually large debits just before Christmas and around the first of the year. Greenville, S. C., and Raleigh, N. C., were the only cities reporting higher figures for the period ended February 13th, and in Raleigh the increase was due to an abnormal transfer of State funds. In comparison with debits figures totaling $1,527,037,000 reported for the five weeks’ period ended February 15, 1928, aggregate debits totaling $1,611,748,000 in the corresponding period ended February 13th this year show an increase of $84,711,000, or 5.5 per cent. Larger figures were re ported this year by twenty of the twenty-four cities, Asheville, N. C., Danville, Va., Greenville, S. C., and Wilmington, N. C., reporting the only decreases in comparison with the corresponding five weeks of 1928. SAVINGS DEPOSITS—At the end of January 1929, twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore had aggregate deposits amounting to $187,929,960, compared with $187,161,472 on December 31, 1928, and $178,834,286 on January 31, 1928. On the other hand, time deposits in sixty-three regularly reporting member banks, located in thirteen Fifth district cities, declined during the past month and at the middle of February were lower than a year ago, total time deposits in the reporting banks aggregating only $239,668,000 on February 13, 1929, compared with $240,774,000 on January 16, 1929, and $246,687,000 on February 15, 1928. BUSINESS FAILURES—Dun’s Review for February 9th, in reviewing the January business mortality record, says, “ Continuing the trend of the two immediately preceding months, commercial failures in the United States during January fell below those of the corresponding period of the previous year. At 2,535, last month’s total compares with 2,643 defaults in January 1928, or a re duction of a little more than 4 per cent. Moreover, the increase over the 2,465 insolvencies of the same month of 1927 is only about 2.5 per cent. The number of failures for last month is appreciably above the figures of recent months, and is, in fact, the highest reported in exactly a year. Such a tendency, however, always is to be expected in January, when the statistics of business mortality reflect more plainly the strains incidental to the annual settlements. Despite the smaller total of defaults last month, the liabilities rose considerably. That in crease was due to a larger number of insolvencies of unusual size, which swelled the aggregate indebtedness to $53,877,145. Not since last August, when more than $58,200,000 was involved, has last month’s amount been equaled. It contrasts with $47,634,411 in January 1928, or an expansion of more than 13 per cent.” In the Fifth reserve district, January 1929 failures numbered 170, with liabilities totaling $2,165,331, compared with 197 insolvencies and liabilities aggregating $3,192,930 in January 1928. The num ber of insolvencies last month was larger than for any other month since January a year ago, but the January 1929 liabilities were lower than those of all months in 1928 except June, July, October and December. LABOR—There were no important changes in employment conditions in the Fifth reserve dis trict during the past month. Labor is seasonally employed, most of the surplus labor of a few months ago having been absorbed in the construction and industrial activities of the district since the beginning of fall. The weather this winter has been generally favorable for outside work. L a bor conditions are much better at present than they were at the middle of February last year, when unemployment was increasing and prospects for early improvement in the demand for workers were not good. COAL—Bituminous coal production in the United States totaled approximately 51,456,000 net tons in January, a higher figure than either 43,380,000 tons mined in December 1928 or 44,308,000 tons mined in January a year ago. Total production during the present coal year to February 9th—ap proximately 264 working days—was 430,288,000 net tons, an increase of nearly 6 per cent over 406,096,000 tons dug in the corresponding period of the 1927-1928 coal year. West Virginia led Penn sylvania by a small margin in the production of soft coal in January this year. The report of the Bureau of Mines showing coal stocks as of January 1, 1929, indicates somewhat smaller stocks in storage throughout the country than a year ago, due chiefly to an increased rate of consumption in November and December over the same months cf 1927. All retail dealers report stocks sufficient to fill orders promptly. TEXTILES —Textile mills in the Fifth reserve district consumed 290,146 bales of cotton in Jan uary this year, compared with 226,764 bales in December 1928 and 257,948 bales in January a year ago. North Carolina mills used 156,015 bales last month, South Carolina mills used 123,342 bales and Virginia mills 10,789 bales, the North and South Carolina figures exceeding those of January 3 1928 by 10.9 per cent and 16.5 per cent, respectively, while Virginia’s consumption dropped 5.4 per cent. The district increase in cotton consumption of 12.5 per cent was slightly less than the Nat ional increase of 14 per cent. Activity in the textile industry appears to be greater this year than it was a year ago, when curtailment of operations was quite general. Buyers are still reluctant to place forward orders, but a large volume of business is being done 011 orders for immediate or early delivery. The raw material situation shows improvement over that of 1928, last year’s cotton crop having been sufficient to meet requirements but not large enough to create a troublesome surplus. BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JANUARY 1929 AND 1928. 0 CITIES z Permits Issued New Repairs 1929 1928 1 Baltimore, Md..... 2 Cumberland, Md... 326 9 7 3 3 465 4 1929 775 3 3 4 9 2 3 Frederick, Md..... 15 4 Hagerstown, Md... 10 5 Danville, Va......... 16 11 12 6 Lynchburg, Va.... 54 55 48 7 Norfolk, Va......... 2 1 8 8 Petersburg, Va..... 14 11 14 9 Portsmouth, Va... 43 57 71 10 Richmond, Va...... 32 11 23 11 Roanoke, Va........ 3 2 10 12 Bluefield, W. Va... 69 17 23 13 Charleston, W. Va. 5 13 6 14 Clarksburg, W. Va. 0 21 16 15 Huntington, W.Va. 11 1 2 16 Parkersburg, W. Va.... 45 21 22 17 Asheville, N. C...... 32 59 48 18 Charlotte, N. C.... 38 4 28 19 Durham, N. C...... 37 28 71 20 Greensboro, N. C. 31 3 21 High Point, N. C... 26 12 23 11 22 Raleigh, N. C....... 16 2 9 23 Rocky Mount, N.C. 2 16 1 24 Salisbury, N. C.... 11 6 19 25 Wilmington, N. C... 69 71 37 . 26 Winston-Salem, N C._ 17 38 11 27 Charleston, S. C... 19 31 20 28 Columbia, S. C..... 11 30 3 29 Greenville, S. C... 22 14 17 30 Spartanburg, S. C. 475 93 31 Washington, D. C. 156 Totals............. 1,041 1,274 1,760 1928 New Construction 1929 1928 816 $ 1,977,360 $ 4,976,800 3 14,540 8,225 0 4,400 22,150 5 8,555 23,035 5 4,250 21,930 17 20,550 59,935 65 211,578 86,575 2 30,550 600 27 12,250 10,400 62 1,169,496 956,614 19 98,068 220,878 1 55 5,805 40,380 150,995 11 9 3,525 94,510 19,241 33,740 1 2 5,225 69,650 28 260,575 117,525 33 376,185 616,450 12 167,748 7,178,400 34 983,278 249,735 5 106,375 110,400 45,950 752,350 9 4 8,085 15,210 11 1,350 65,675 29,400 15,600 7 46 120,730 297,275 11,460 23 29,950 33,600 72,750 43 12,600 34,000 25 40,150 67,595 12 280 2,155,375 4,422,125 1,617 $ 8,009,124 $20,750,642 Alterations 1929 1928 Increase or Per Cent of Decrease of Increase 0 or Total Z Valuation Decrease $ 472,800 $ 1,071,120 $-3,597,760 — 59.5% 1 375 75.2 525 6,465 2 0 3,950 21,700 493.2 3 9,875 — 22,405 — 68.1 1,950 4 1,820 — 16,780 — 70.7 2,720 5 7,840 — 36,960 — 54.5 10,265 6 48,515 80,335 156,823 116.1 7 4,5004,000 29,450 577.5 8 12,453 27,128 72.3 16525 9 148,862 35,031 9.0 10 99,051 14,884 — 132,879 — 56.4 11 4,815 200 — 4,955 — 82.5 12 995 19,880 — 116,495 — 68.2 13 14,000 57,480 — 147,415 — 97.0 14 1,050 350 — 14,849 — 43.6 15 0 2,100 — 64,025 — 89.2 16 2,500 16,405 116,600 243,245 181.6 17 31,311 — 200,876 — 31.0 18 70,700 21,038 —7,026,240 — 97.6 19 5,450 61,482 37,276 709,337 227.9 20 2,530 — 750 5,805 — 5.1 21 8,975 — 700,925 — 92.1 22 14,450 4,575 — 10,900 — 55.1 23 800 3,575 — 67,750 — 97.8 24 150 4,200 17,500 27,100 136.9 25 15,250 — 134,573 — 43.1 26 57,222 13,000 8,589 57.6 27 14,079 23,920 — 53,745 — 55.6 28 9,325 21,530 — 21,045 — 37.9 29 21,885 4,970 — 29,415 — 40.5 30 3,000 207,770 —2,071,450 — 44.7 31 403,070 $1,428,831 $1,840,785 $—13,153,472 — 58.2% — 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. A fter making an excellent record during the closing months of 1928, building permits issued in the leading cities of the Fifth district fell off in January in both number and estimated valuation. Thirty-one cities for which figures for both 1929 and 1928 are available issued 1,041 permits for new construction in January this year, with estimated valuation of $8,009,124, compared with 1,274 per mits and estimated valuation of $20,750,642 in January 1928. Total valuation figures for all classes of work were $ 9 ,437,955 in January 1929, a decrease of $13,153,472, or 58.2 per cent, under the total valuation of $22,591,427 for January 1928. The record of January 1929 was not as bad as the com parison indicates, however, the figures for January last year having been swelled far above average January figures by permits totaling nearly $5,000,000 in both Baltimore and Washington, and a re markable permit for approximately $7,000,000 issued in Durham for construction work at Duke University. Among the thirty-one reporting cities, ten reported higher figures for January 1929 than for January 1928, Greensboro with permits for new work aggregating $983,278 making the best showing for the month in proportion to population. Building contracts awarded in the Fifth district in January totaled $28,747,575, including both urban and rural construction, compared with $27,606,830 awarded in January 1928. Of the January 1929 total, $9,463,265 represented contracts for residential types of construction, according to statis tics collected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation. COTTON—Spot cotton prices were slightly lower during the month between the middle of January and the middle of February than during the preceding month. On January 18th, the latest date mentioned in the Review last month, the average price on ten Southern markets for middling cot ton was 19.12 cents per pound. On January 25th and February 1st the average price was down to 18.71 cents, and on February 8th had declined further to 18.68 cents. The latest date for which figures are available, February 15th, witnessed a partial recovery, the average price being 18.82 cents. Consumption of cotton in American mills in January totaling 668,389 bales broke all records for January, and was 14 per cent above 586,142 bales consumed in January 1928. Total consumption for the six elapsed months of the present cotton season—August 1, 1928 to February 1, 1929— amounted to 3,451,363 bales, compared with 3,627,494 bales used in the corresponding months of last season. Stocks of cotton on hand at consuming establishments totaled 1,767,742 bales on January 31, 1929, according to the February 14th report of the Bureau of the Census. This figure compares with 1,740,892 bales held by manufacturing plants on December 31, 1928, and 1,708,646 bales so held 011 January 31, 1928. Warehouses and compresses held in storage 4,615,337 bales at the end of Jan uary, compared with 5,315,411 bales so held at the end of December and 5,013,611 bales at the end of January a year ago. Exports in January numbered 788,645 bales, less than 1,058,013 bales shipped abroad in December but more than 712,129 bales exported in January 1928. Imports last month tot aled 54,939 bales, compared with 39,630 bales brought in in December and 41,445 bales in January 1928. Exports during the six months ended January 31st totaled 5,576,774 bales, compared with 4,496,248 bales exported during the six months ended January 31, 1928. Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states totaled 508,537 bales in January, compared with 405,315 bales used in December and 442,330 bales in January 1928. Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to 76.08 per cent of National consumption, compared with 75.46 per cent of National consumption used in cotton growing states in January last year. Of the 508,537 bales of cotton consumed in the cotton growing states in January, the Fifth district mills used 290,146 bales, or 57.06 per cent. The Census Bureau’s ginning report to January 16th shows that the Fifth district raised slightly more cotton in 1928 than the crop forecast of December 1st indicated. Prior to January 16th, North Carolina ginning totaled 845,128 bales, compared with the December forecast of 840,000 bales; South Carolina ginnings of 731,676 bales compare with a predicted yield of 725,000 bales; and Virginia’s ginnings of 42,518 bales compare with the forecast of 43,000 bales. The January 16th figures usually include practically all of the crop, but a final ginning report for the year will be issued in March. TOBACCO—V IR G IN IA auction markets sold 24,338,809 pounds of producers’ tobacco in Janu ary, at an average price of $16.18 per hundred pounds. Season sales to February 1st totaled 98,196,767 pounds, approximately 80 per cent of the estimated sales for the year. In January 1928 sales of 25,304,615 pounds of tobacco brought the season sales up to 116,694,854 pounds, approximately 81.6 per cent of the year’s total sales. Flue-cured tobacco sold in January totaled 11,961,865 pounds, at an average price of $15.37 Per hundred, compared with 15,598,760 pounds of this type sold in Jan uary 1928, at an average of $17.91 per hundred. Fire-cured tobacco sold in January totaled 7,73o,008 pounds, compared with 6,630,127 pounds in January 1928. The average price paid for fire-cured tobacco last month was $12.45, compared with $11.35 'm January last year. Sales of burley to bacco, all at Abingdon, totaled 2,988,790 pounds last month, and averaged $32.09 per hundred pounds, the highest burley price since official price records began in 1920. Sun-cured sales on the Richmond market totaled 1,658,146 pounds last month, and the average price received by growers was $10.69 per hundred pounds. Danville sold 5,251,797 pounds of flue-cured tobacco last month, South Boston sold 2,814,676 pounds of the same type, and Lynchburg with 2,028,051 pounds led the fire-cured markets. Danville also led the flue-cured market in price paid with an average of $17.06 per hundred, while Amelia paid an average of $15.13 per hundred for 197,002 pounds of fire-cured tobacco, lead ing the markets for that type. NORTH CAROLINA auction markets sold 27,798,339 pounds of tobacco for growers in Jan uary, at an average price of $16.30 per hundred pounds, compared with 25,344,667 pounds sold for an average of $19.07 per hundred in January 1928. Total sales this season, to February 1st, amounted to 475,123,360 pounds, compared with 459,110,191 pounds sold prior to February 1, 1928. WinstonSalem sold 7,923,826 pounds in January 1929, leading all markets, while Durham with sales of 2,386,020 pounds and Oxford with 2,158,445 pounds ranked second and third, respectively. In average price paid, Fuquay Springs led last month with $22.19 Per hundred pounds, Mebane coming second with $21.60. TOBACCO MANUFACTURING—Internal revenue figures released by the Treasury Department bring out some interesting facts on tobacco manufacturing in the Fifth reserve district. For ex ample, in 1928 this district paid $252,337,592.19 in taxes on cigarettes out of a total of $317,833,335.06 paid by the entire country. North Carolina paid taxes on cigarettes amounting to $193,342,474.92, and Virginia paid $58,993,738*44, both leading the third state, New York, by a very wide margin. 5 North Carolina also led all states with taxes totaling $21,870,482.74 on smoking and chewing tobacco and snuff. Virginia paid $962,260.89 taxes on cigars, but was only in seventh place. Out of aggre gate tobacco taxes paid to the Federal Government in 1928 totaling $411,016,098.04, the Fifth district paid $280,841,858.80, or 68 per cent. North Carolina alone paid 52 per cent of all tobacco manufac turing taxes last year. AGRICULTURAL NOTES—There is little activity on farms in the Fifth district between the middle of January and the middle of February. The continued cold weather during most of the past month was favorable for fruit trees, preventing premature development of buds, but an ab sence of snow over much of the district was unfavorable for winter grains. Fertilizer sales below those of last winter in tonnage indicate that farmers are either less able to finance this year’s crops or that acreage reduction may develop at planting time. Crops in 1928 brought in less money to the growers, and manf of them are beginning their 1929 operations in distinctly less favorable cir cumstances than a year ago. An effort is being made to reduce the potato acreage this year, due to the large crop and very low prices of 1928. 6 FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE As Indicated By Reports from Thirty-One Representative Department Stores for the Month of January 1929 Percentage increase in January 1929 sales over sales in January 1928: Baltimore Richmond Washington Other Cities District — .4 3.2 2.9 — 4.1 .8 Percentage increase in January 1929 sales over average January sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive .1 22.7 15.7 — 15.0 6.2 Percentage increase in stock on hand January 31, 1929, over stock on January 31, 1928: — .3 — 3.4 1.4 — 5.5 — .7 Percentage increase in stock on hand January 31, 1929, over stock on December 31, 1928: — 8.8 — 7.9 — 4.3 — 7.1 — 6.8 Percentage of sales in January 1929 to average stock carried during that month: 23.1 26.8 25.0 16.8 23.3 Percentage of collections in January 1929 to accounts receivable on January 1st: 28.6 33.5 33.5 31.6 31.1 — Denotes decreased percentage. Total sales in thirty-one leading department stores in the Fifth reserve district in January 1929 were .8 per cent greater than total sales in the same stores in January 1928, due chiefly to increases reported by Richmond and Washington firms. Sales in January averaged 6.2 per cent above aver age January sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive, the gains again occurring in Richmond and Washington. Stocks of merchandise on the shelves on January 31st this year were 7/ioths of I per cent smaller than stocks at the end of December, and 6.8 per cent less than stocks on January 31, 1928. Sales in January 1929 averaged 23.3 per cent of stock carried during the month. Collec tions totaled 31.1 per cent of receivables outstanding on January ist, the percentages for Baltimore, Richmond and Washington being higher than in January last year while the Other Cities reported a slightly lower percentage of receivables collected last month. ____________________ WHOLESALE TRADE, JANUARY 1929____________________________ Percentage increase in January 1929 sales, compared with sales in January 1928: 30 Groceries 10 Dry Goods 5 Shoes 15 Hardware 5 Furniture 6.3 — 18.1 — 17.4 — 8.4 — 24.5 Percentage increase in January 1929 sales, compared with sales in December 1928: 3.5 13.6 65.8 9.9 7.9 Percentage increase in stock on January 31, 1929, compared with January 31, 1928: 8.1(11*) — 21.8(3*) .9(4*) — .9(8*) Percentage increase in stock on January 31, 1929, compared with December 31, 1928: .7(11*) 13.2(3*) 7.7(4*) 2.7(8*) Percentage of collections in January to total accounts receivable on January 1, 1929: 58.9(18*) 41.0(7*) 40.5(5*) 36.2(12*) 22.6(3*) — Denotes decreased percentage. 13 Drugs 22.9 22.0 67.5(9*) * Number of reporting firms. Seventy-eight wholesale firms, representing six important lines, sent confidential reports on their January business to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. All lines reported upon showed sea sonal increases in January sales in comparison with those of December, but the gains in dry goods and furniture were probably not up to seasonal average. In comparison with sales in January 1928, results secured in January this year were less favorable, groceries and drugs reporting the only increases while lower sales were reported in dry goods, shoes, hardware and furniture. Stocks on the shelves of the reporting firms at the end of January 1929 showed the usual increases over De cember 31st stocks in every line for which figures were available, but were smaller than stocks on hand on January 31, 1928, in dry goods and hardware. The percentages of collections in January to total receivables on January ist were higher this year than in 1928 in dry goods, shoes and drugs, but grocery, hardware and furniture percentages were lower last month than in January 1928. (Compiled February 20, 1929) 7 BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (Compiled by the Federal Reserve Board) Manufacturing and mining increased in January and the first part of February, while building continued to decline. Wholesale commodity pricesrose slightly. Reserve bank credit declined be tween the middle of January and the middle of February, reflecting chiefly a reduction in reserve balances of member banks. PRODUCTION—Industrial production increased in January and continued to be larger than a year ago. Output of pig iron, steel ingots and automobiles was in record volume for January. The high rate of steel activity reflected large purchases by automobile manufacturers and also increased demand by railroads. Domestic output of refined copper, while continued in large volume, was some what lower in January than in December. Activity of textile mills increased considerably in Janu ary. In the mineral group, output of copper ore, bituminous coal and petroleum was exceptionally large, and anthracite coal and tin also increased. In the first part of February preliminary reports indicate the maintenance of a high level of industrial activity. Steel plants operated at a high per centage of capacity, the output of coal continued large, and employment in Detroit factories in creased. The production of petroleum, however, declined slightly in the middle of February. Build ing activity declined in January for the third successive month, reflecting primarily a large reduction in awards for residential building, while commercial building awards increased somewhat. The value of building contracts let during the first six weeks of the year was substantially lower than in the corresponding period of either 1928 or 1927. TRADE—Shipments of freight by rail increased during January and the first two weeks of February and were larger than a year ago. The increase during January reflected primarily larger shipments of coal and coke and live stock. Sales by wholesale firms were seasonally larger in Jan uary and above the level of a year ago. Department store sales declined less than is usual at this season and were considerably larger than in January 1928. The general level of wholesale prices rose somewhat in January. Prices of grains, livestock and meats advanced, and there were also price advances in steel, automobiles and copper. A decrease in the group index for building ma terials reflected reduction in the prices of lumber and brick, and prices of pig iron, silk, cotton and petroleum also declined. Among the raw materials, rubber advanced sharply in price, while silk, cotton and hides declined. During the first half of February, the price of copper advanced to a new high level, and the price of rubber continued to rise. Among the agricultural commodities, prices of wheat, corn and frogs rose, while sugar and cattle declined slightly. BANK CREDIT—On February 20th total loans and investments of member banks in leading cities were nearly $90,000,000 smaller than in the middle of January, owing chiefly to reductions in the banks’ investment holdings. After the first week in February, security loans declined, while all other loans, largely commercial, increased somewhat in February. During the five weeks ending February 20th, a decline in the reserve balance of member banks, together with a considerable in flow of gold from abroad and some further decline in the demand for currency, were the chief fac tors accounting for a decline of $173,000,000 in the volume of reserve bank credit in use. A large decline in reserve bank holdings of acceptances and United States securities was offset in part by a small increase in the volume of member bank borrowing. Open market rates on bankers’ accept ances and commercial paper advanced, while rates on collateral loans showed little change. 8