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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

ROM January first to midFebruary is a period of stock
taking, and business is relatively
dull in most years, and this year the
slowness of trade was more pro­
nounced than usual. New business
was harder to secure than in any
other month since the depression
began in the fall of 1929, especially
in retail trade and in construction
work. There were no marked de­
velopments in banking in the Fifth
district from the middle of January
to the middle of February, but there
appears to be a more cheerful men­
tal outlook since the passage of the
Reconstruction Finance Corporation
Act by Congress at the end of January, and more
particularly in anticipation of the passage of the
Glass-Steagall bill. Federal reserve credit is be­
ing used much more extensively than at this time
last year, and the volume of reserve notes in
actual circulation is especially large, due doubtless
to hoarding of currency by nervous persons who
have drawn funds from their banks. This has ma­
terially reduced deposits in the banks of the dis­
trict, in comparison with deposits a year ago.
Debits to individual accounts in the district in the
four weeks ended February 10, 1932, showed a sea­
sonal decrease in comparison with debits in the
four weeks ended January 13, 1932, and totaled
17.5 per cent less than debits in the four weeks
ended February 11, 1931. Employment conditions
not only failed to improve in January, but appeared
to become somewhat worse as construction work
declined still farther. Coal production last month
was below seasonal level, because of reduced de­
mand from industrial consumers and exceedingly
mild weather throughout most of the East. Textile
mills held about the same rate of operations as in
recent months, but business was hard to secure at
profitable prices for textile products. Statistics on
cotton consumption appear to indicate that condi­
tions in the textile industry are rather better in the




FEBRUARY 29, 1932

Fifth district than in most other sec­
tions of the country. Spot cotton
prices ruled somewhat higher from
mid-January to mid-February than
in the preceding month, but were
still far below the price levels of
other recent years. Cotton con­
sumption in the United States in
January was in smaller volume than
in January 1931, although consump­
tion in the Fifth district increased
slightly in the 1932 month. Tobacco
markets paid very low prices for
producers’ tobacco in January, and
there was practically no m arket at
all for the lowest grades. Tobacco
manufacturing in both January and
in the year 1931 fell behind January 1931 and the
year 1930, but last year Virginia paid more taxes
on tobacco products than in 1930, chiefly because a
large cigarette factory in Richmond was open all
of 1931, but was not completed and opened until
well into 1930. Estimated valuation for building
permits issued in January in the Fifth district set
a new low figure for any month since the war
years, when practically all building was suspended,
and contracts actually awarded for construction
work also declined to a new low level. Retail trade
as reflected in department store sales was poorer in
January than in any month in many years, partly
due to unseasonal weather. Wholesale trade also
fell materially below the level of trade in January
1931.

Reserve Bank Statement

Rediscounts for member banks held by the Fed­
eral Reserve Bank of Richmond declined by
$8,523,000 between January 15 and February 15,
both this year, but on the latter date were $18,470,000 above rediscounts held on February 15, 1931.
The portfolio of open m arket paper also declined
last month, by $1,660,000, but advanced $5,572,000
during the year. On the other hand, the Bank in­
creased its holdings of Government securities by

MONTHLY REVIEW

2
ITEMS

Feb. 15
1932

000 omitted
Jan. 15 Feb. 15
1931
1932

Rediscounts held _..................... $ 36,213 $ 44,736 $ 17,743
2,418
9,650
7,990
Open market paper----------------9,081
17,261
14,081
Government securities----------0
700
700
Other earning assets-----------37,422
64,167
58,984
Total earning assets----------84,343
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.. 105,419 110,622
59,200
50,372
51,022
Members’ reserve deposits-----Cash reserves-------------------- 105,558 107,343 113,072
77.22
64.09
6524
Reserve ratio --------------------

ITEMS

000 omitted
Feb. 10 Jan. 13 Feb. 11
1932
1931
1932

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments)_____ $148,233 $144,624 $166,604
All other loans_____________ 220,790 224,712 270,129
Total loans and discounts— 369,023 369,336 436,733
Investments in stocks and bonds 233,807 234,130 183,600
33,154
40,319
33,799
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
15,838
16,689
13,729
Cash in vaults_____________
Demand deposits ---------------- 293,774 295,887 333,269
Time deposits______________ 223,720 224,457 246,342
22,617
5,226
14,711
Borrowed from F. R. Bank__

$5,(X ),000 between the middle of January and the
X
middle of February, but on the latter date held those on stocks and bonds rising by $3,609,000
$3,180,000 less in Government securities than on while all other loans decreased by $3,922,000. In­
February 15 last year. On February 15 and Janu­ vestments in bonds and securities declined $323,000
ary 15, this year, the Bank held $700,000 in other during the four weeks, but the banks increased
earning assets, but held no paper of this type a year their reserve balances with the Federal reserve
ago. The several changes in assets resulted in a bank by $645,000. Cash in vaults declined $2,109,net decline of $5,183,000 in total earning assets of 000 between January 13 and February 10, due chief­
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond during the ly to a lessening of the tension which caused many
past month, but there was an increase in total earn­ banks to accumulate unusually large amounts of
ing assets during the year amounting to $21,562,000. cash in their vaults in January. Deposits continued
The circulation of Federal reserve notes declined to decline last month, demand deposits dropping
$5,203,000 between January 15 and February 15, but $2,223,000 and time deposits dropping $737,000 be­
on the latter date was $21,076,000 above the circula­ tween January 13 and February 10. The fortytion on February 15, 1931. This marked increase in nine banks reduced their borrowings at the reserve
note circulation during the year, in spite of a gen­ bank by $7,906,000 during the four weeks under
erally reduced volume of business, is doubtless due review.
to the hoarding of currency. Member bank reserve
deposits at the Richmond reserve bank rose $650,In comparison with condition figures reported for
000 during the month between January 15 and February 11, 1931, those for February 10, 1932,
February 15, but were $8,178,000 lower on the show material decreases in every item except in­
latter date than at the same time last year, the vestments and in rediscounts at the reserve bank.
reduction during the year being due in part to a Total loans and discounts declined $67,710,000 dur­
smaller number of member banks and in part to ing the year, loans on stocks and bonds falling
lower deposits in member banks against which re­ $18,371,000 and all other loans decreasing $49,~
serves are carried. The cash reserves of the Fed­ 339,000. In keeping with this decline in loans, de­
eral Reserve Bank of Richmond were lower on posits in the reporting institutions dropped $62,February 15 than on either January 15, 1932, or 117,000 between February 11, 1931, and February
February 15, 1931, the table showing a decline of 10, 1932, demand deposits falling by $39,495,000 and
$1,785,000 in the past month and $7,514,000 in the time deposits falling $22,622,000. Cash in vaults
past year. The ratio of cash reserves to note and also decreased during the year, dropping $2,960,000,
deposit liabilities combined rose by 1.15 points be­ and reserve balance with the reserve bank de­
tween January 15 and February 15, but on the latter creased $6,520,000. On the other hand, the banks
date was 11.98 points lower than the ratio a year increased their investments in bonds and securities
earlier.
by $50,207,000 during the year, and also increased
their borrowing at the Federal Reserve Bank of
Member Bank Statement
Richmond by $9,485,000.
The figures in the accompanying table are totals of
the principal items of condition as of three dates for Savings and Time Deposits
forty-nine member banks in twelve cities of the
Twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore
Fifth Federal reserve district. I t should be under­ showed a slight decline in deposits in January, a
stood that the figures shown reflect the condition of continuation of the drop which began last Novem­
the reporting banks on the report dates only, and ber, but at the end of January deposits were still
are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures materially higher than a year earlier. The twelve
that occurred during the period under review.
banks had deposits totaling $212,539,513 on January
During the four weeks between January 13 and 31, 1932, compared with $213,515,559 on December
February 10, 1932, loans and discounts at the forty- 31,1931, and $200,969,642 on January 31,1931. Time
nine reporting member banks changed very little, deposits in forty-nine reporting member banks de­
but there was a shift in the classification of loans, clined during the past month from $224,457,000 on




MONTHLY REVIEW
January 13, 1932, to $223,720,000 on February 10,
1932, and on the latter date compared unfavorably
with deposits aggregating $246,342,000 on February
11, 1931. The time deposits in reporting member
banks contain a considerable amount of deposits
which are not savings, and therefore the figures are
more subject to fluctuations than the deposit fig­
ures in the mutual savings banks.

Debits to Individual Accounts
000 omitted
Total debits, four weeks ended
Jan. 13,
Feb. 11,
Feb. 10,
1932
1932
1931
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.______
Roanoke, jVa._______
Spartanburg, S. C.---Washington, D. C.-----Wilmington, N. C.---Winston-Salem, N. C. ..

$ 9,193
279,986
10,248
29,595
33,094
17,135
5,675
5,433
14,466
11,714
11,539
5,363
11,830
12,711
8,137
36,868
4,093
15,741
111,974
21,844
6,478
186,435
7,935
27,104

$ 9,144
282,268
8,178
30,689
33,940
19,306
6,361
7,785
23,339
15,802
13,631
5,819
12,729
13,744
8,591
41,111
4,762
22,086
108,441
23,870
8,440
190,934
8,567
23,060

$

District Totals-------

$884,591

$922,597

$1,072,754

11,109
355,670
16,300
38,892
36,636
19,459
6,963
6,151
23,355
16,195
15,028
7,398
16,814
16,311
10,429
45,172
4,063
20,158
122,768
26,711
7,927
209,932
10,738
28,575

Aggregate payments by check drawn on clearing
house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth Fed­
eral reserve district are shown in the accompanying
table for three equal periods of four weeks, thus
affording opportunity for comparison of the latest
figures, for the four weeks ended February 10, 1932,
with those for the preceding like period this year
and the corresponding period a year ago.
Debits in the four weeks ended February 10, 1932,
totaling $884,591,000 showed a seasonal decrease
from debits totaling $922,597,000 in the four pre­
ceding weeks, ended January 13, 1932, but the de­
crease was somewhat smaller than occurs in most
years. Four cities reported higher figures for the
later period, Asheville increasing 5/10 of 1 per cent,
Richmond 3.3 per cent, Winston-Salem 17.5 per
cent, and Charleston, S. C., 25.3 per cent.
In comparison with debits totaling $1,072,754,000
in the four weeks ended February 11, 1931, debits
in the corresponding four weeks this year showed a
decline of 17.5 per cent. Only one city, Portsmouth,
Va., reported a higher figure for the 1932 period,
and this gain was less than 1 per cent. The five
largest cities reported declines in debits for the




3

current period as follows: Baltimore, 21.3 per
cent; Washington, 11.2 per cent; Richmond, 8.8 per
cen t; Norfolk, 18.4 per cen t; and Charlotte, 9.7 per
cent.

Commercial Failures
Business failures tend to increase in January, be­
cause of the pressure of year-end settlements, and
in the Fifth district this year there was a moderate
rise in the number of insolvencies in comparison
with December 1931. The January 1932 record,
however, was the best in both number of failures
and in total liabilities involved reported in any
other January in several years. There were 159
bankruptcies in the Fifth district last month, com­
pared with 140 in December 1931 and 203 in January
1931. Not since 1924 has a lower number of failures
been reported for January. Liabilities last month
totaled $2,404,390, a lower figure than either $4,301,830 for December or $4,339,019 for January
1931. Last month's liabilities were the lowest for
any January since 1929, and with the exception of
that month, were the lowest for any January since
1920.

Employment
Employment conditions in the Fifth reserve dis­
trict showed no improvement in the first six weeks
of 1932, but unusually mild weather lessened the
hardships of those persons who are out of work.
The winter temperature has been so moderate that
fuel and heavy clothing costs have been relatively
low, thus allowing a larger proportion of reduced
incomes to go for food, housing and other necessary
expenses. Unemployment is widespread among all
classes of workers, probably being more extensive
in building trades and industrial groups than in
other fields. There is less unemployment in to­
bacco and textile fields than in others, although
many textile workers are working on reduced time
schedules.

Coal Production
Bituminous coal production in the United States
totaled approximately 27,892,000 net tons in Janu­
ary 1932, in comparison with 30,260,000 tons in De­
cember and 38,542,000 tons in January 1931. Total
production during the present coal year to Febru­
ary 6 (approximately 262 working days) amounts
to 309,419,000 net tons, a much smaller figure than
for any other recent year. Shipments of coal
through Hampton Roads this calendar year,
through February 6, totaled 2,187,000 net tons, com­
pared with 2,535,147 tons shipped to the same date
in 1931 and 3,008,029 tons in 1930.
In its February 6 report, the Bureau of Mines,
Department of Commerce, gave annual production
figures of soft coal by states for the past year. In
1931 W est Virginia mined 99,769,000 net tons, lead­
ing all states. Virginia produced 9,650,000 tons,

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

and Maryland dug 1,950,000 tons. Total production
in 1931 in the Fifth district was 111,369,000 net tons,
or 29.5 per cent of National production totaling
378,110,000 tons. Last year’s percentage of total
production was higher in the Fifth district than the
percentage for 1930, which was 28.9 per cent.

Textiles
Cotton yarn, cloth and knitting mills in the Fifth
reserve district continued operations in January at
about the same rate as in other recent months.
Forward orders are very scarce, but there is a
steady offering of small orders for immediate ship­
ment. Cotton consumed in the district in January
totaled 213,891 bales, of which North Carolina mills
used 107,292 bales, South Carolina mills used 95,037
bales, and Virginia mills 11,562 bales. In December
1931 the mills in the Carolinas and Virginia con­
sumed 198,076 bales, and in January 1931 they used
207,320 bales. Consumption of cotton in the Rich­
mond reserve district in January 1932 totaled 49.13
per cent of National consumption, compared with
47.7 per cent in December 1931 and 46.06 per cent in
January 1931.

Cotton Statistics
Spot cotton prices between January 15 and Febru­
ary 12 on ten Southern markets held the gain reg­
istered in the second week of January, but did not
advance further. As reported in this Review last
month, the average price for % inch staple, mid­
dling grade, upland cotton was 6.25 cents per pound
on January 15, from which it rose to 6.26 cents on
January 29 and then dropped to 6.23 cents on Feb­
ruary 12, the latest date for which official figures are
available.
Cotton consumption in American mills in January
1932 totaled 435,337 bales, according to the report
of the Bureau of the Census made public on January
13. This figure shows a seasonal increase over
415,517 bales consumed during the month of De­
cember 1931, but is 3.3 per cent less than 450,117
bales consumed in January 1931. Total consump­
tion during the six months of the present cotton
year amounted to 2,631,272 bales, compared with
2,460,250 bales consumed during the six months
ended January 31, 1931. Cotton on hand at manu­
facturing establishments on January 31, 1932,
totaled 1,637,139 bales, compared with 1,630,543
bales held on December 31,1931, and 1,617,840 bales
held on January 31, 1931. Bales in public ware­
houses and compresses numbered 10,032,322 at the
end of January, against 10,425,945 bales at the end
of December, and 7,938,817 bales on January 31,
1931. Exports of cotton totaled 919,338 bales in
January, compared with 1,181,089 bales sent abroad
in December 1931 and 532,821 bales in January 1931.
Imports last month totaled 12,718 bales, compared
with 12,705 bales imported in December and 11,299
bales in January 1931. Consumption of cotton in




the cotton growing states totaled 358,527 bales in
January, compared with 355,419 bales used in Janu­
ary 1931. Last month’s consumption in the cotton
growing states amounted to 82.36 per cent of Na­
tional consumption, compared with 78.96 per cent
of National consumption used in the cotton grow­
ing states in January a year ago. Of the 358,527
bales consumed in the cotton growing states last
month, Fifth district states used 213,891 bales, or
59.66 per cent, compared with 57.6 per cent in Janu­
ary 1931 and 58.0 per cent in January 1930.

Tobacco Marketing
Virginia tobacco markets sold 28,297,635 pounds
of producers’ tobacco in January 1932, at an aver­
age price of $5.76 per hundred pounds, according to
warehouse reports to the Commissioner of Agricul­
ture. Total sales for the season to January 31 were
91,200,096 pounds, and the average season price
was $6.91 per hundred, compared with 110,086,498
pounds sold at an average of $9.32 per hundred
prior to January 31, 1931. Nearly 75 per cent of the
estimated sales for the season had been sold by
January 31, compared with 83.4 per cent sold to the
same date last year and 88.8 per cent two years
ago. January sales of flue-cured tobacco amounted
to 12,814,401 pounds, at an average price of $5.57
per hundred, and sales for January 1931 amounted
to 19,332,275 pounds at an average of $6.35 per hun­
dred pounds. Danville led the flue-cured markets
in January in both the number of pounds sold,
6,459,991, and in average price paid, $6.32 per hun­
dred pounds. Fire-cured sales were much larger
than for any other January in recent years, the
total amounting to 9,704,373 pounds at an average
price of $4.81 per hundred pounds. The January
price was slightly better thaji the December aver­
age of $4.67, but was much lower than the January
1931 average of $9.29 and the January 1930 aver­
age of $18.13. Lynchburg with 2,920,055 pounds led
the fire-cured markets in sales in January, but
Blackstone with an average of $5.73 per hundred
paid the highest price. Sales of Burley tobacco
were larger in January than in December and the
total amounted to 4,427,873 pounds at an average
price of $8.47 per hundred pounds. The average
price was somewhat lower than the December aver­
age of $10.18 and was more than 50 per cent below
the January 1931 average of $17.57. Practically all
of the Burley tobacco was sold on the Abingdon
market. Sun-cured sales increased considerably
during January and the total amounted to 1,350,988
pounds, at an average price of $5.62 per hundred.
Sales for January 1931 amounted to 835,477 pounds,
at an average price of $8.16 per hundred. All suncured tobacco was sold at Richmond. According to
estimates of warehousemen, the grades in January
1932 averaged 14 per cent good, 32 per cent medium,
and 54 per cent common, compared with January
1931 grades of 10 per cent good, 26 per cent
medium, and 64 per cent common.

MONTHLY REVIEW
North Carolina auction markets sold 35,145,640
pounds of tobacco for growers in January, at an
average price of $6.13 per hundred pounds, com­
pared with 49,097,523 pounds sold for an average
of $10.66 per hundred in January 1931. Total sales
this season, to February 1, amounted to 458,129,286
pounds, compared with 541,114,488 pounds sold prior
to February 1, 1931. Winston-Salem sold 6,795,889
pounds in January 1932, leading all markets, while
Oxford with sales of 3,577,936 pounds and Wilson
with 3,475,132 pounds ranked second and third, re­
spectively. In average price paid, Asheville led
with $9.07 per hundred, but the tobacco sold in
Asheville was Burley and was not representative
of the State's crop. Among the flue-cured markets,
Durham led in price with $7.88, Mebane and Oxford
tying for second place with an average of $7.27 per
hundred pounds. The North Carolina Agricultural
Statistician states that sales this year do not re­
flect actual production. A considerable amount of
tobacco offered for sale received no offer from buy­
ers, and was returned to the farms to be used as
bedding and fertilizer. Tobaccos of this type sold
in 1931 at from 1 to 5 cents per pound, but was en­
tirely unsalable this season.

Tobacco Manufacturing
The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury
Department issued a report on February 1 on taxes
collected by the United States on tobacco manu­
facturing in 1931. Total taxes collected on all to­
bacco products amounted to $422,939,143, and of
this sum, $330,315,141, or 79 per cent, was paid in
the Fifth Federal reserve district, chiefly in North
Carolina and Virginia. In comparison with taxes
paid to the United States in 1930, those for the
country as a whole declined 4.8 per cent in 1931, but
the taxes paid last year in the Fifth district de­
clined only 3.9 per cent. Taxes on cigarettes paid
to the United States in 1931 totaled $340,397^)45,
of which the Fifth district paid $299,976,581, or
88.1 per cent. On cigars, the Government collected
$16,389,165 last year, of which the Fifth district paid
only $1,084,608, or 6.6 per cent. Manufactured to­
bacco, including chewing tobacco, smoking mix­
tures and snuff, brought in a total to the Treasury
of $66,152,934, of which the Fifth district paid $29,254,952, or 44.2 per cent. North Carolina was far in
the lead in cigarette production with tax payments
totaling $215,841,193, Virginia ranking second with
payments totaling $84,135,220. North Carolina also
led in taxes paid on manufactured tobacco, with
$23,459,435, but Ohio ranked second with $9,203,614.
The actual number of cigarettes produced in 1931
in the United States was 113,465,680,000, of which
the Fifth district made 99,992,193,000. North Caro­
lina manufactured 71,947,063,(X ) cigarettes in 1931,
X
and Virginia produced 28,045,073,000 cigarettes. Vir­
ginia and South Carolina paid more tobacco taxes
in 1931 than in 1930, and North Carolina paid more
taxes on smoking and chewing tobacco last year.




5

Agricultural Notes
Little work is done on farms in January and early
February, but this winter has been the mildest one
for many years and more outside work has been
possible than in most seasons. W inter grains have
had little or no snow cover, but neither have there
been any severe ice storms or freezes, and growing
crops are consequently in good condition. Rains
have been frequent enough to supply all the mois­
ture needed by vegetation, and the mild tempera­
tures have advanced growth much beyond the
normal point for this season of the year. There is
danger that fruits may advance too rapidly and be
damaged by frosts or freezes later in the spring.
Indications are th at acreage will be reduced in
nearly all crops this year, partly because of un­
favorable prices for agricuttural products and part­
ly because of inability of the farmers to finance
their usual acreage.

Building Operations for the Months of January
1932 and 1931.
CITIES
Baltimore, Md.------Cumberland, Md.---Frederick, Md-------Hagerstown, Md__
Salisbury, Md.----Danville, Va.....---Lynchburg, Va----Norfolk, Va...........
Petersburg, Va.___
Portsmouth, Va.._
Richmond, Va.-----Roanoke, Va.____
Bluefieldf, 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.___
Wilmtngton, 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....
District Totals__

Permits Issued
1931
1932
879
14
11
10

31
9
24
98

878
5
17
7
32

2

86

31
77
9
34
98

11

5
30
13

2

23

22
4
33

11

Total Valuation
1932
1931
964,200
17,871
19,629
11,855
20,425
3,116
182,365
101,832
450
21,840
75,668
31,580
1,020

9
722

357

15,610
2,515
5,253
4,470
45,631
3,550
8,087
4,450
1,895
850
5,200
39,000
21,628
12,323
17,738
19,350
1,850
9,852
1,304,725

2,289

1,930

$2,975,828

17
13
43
6
22
5
13
3
3
12

42
33
62
19
8

11

9
59
15
26
9
15
5
1
19
35
29
30
29
11

21

$1,354,920
8,175
10,583
4,605
27,050
150
137,958
92,950
28,640
33,739
181,485
13,125
690
43,866
286,020
21,270
1,825
67,007
53,430
11,495
4,680
6,351
2,090
275
20,900
43,215
30,048
323,875
15,575
9,120
13,043
1,816,700
$4,664,855

Building Permits issued by inspectors in thirty-two
leading cities of the Fifth Federal reserve district
in January 1932 number 2,289, a higher number than
1,930 permits issued in January 1931, but the aver­
age amount of each permit issued last month was
much less than the average in the same month last
year. Total valuation figures for the permits
issued in January this year amounting to $2,975,828

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

showed a decline of 36.2 per cent under permits
totaling $4,664,855 issued in January 1931, last
month’s figure being the smallest total reported for
any month in the past ten years. All of the larger
cities except Norfolk reported lower 1932 figures,
but it is of interest to note that twelve of the
thirty-tw o cities showed higher figures last month.
Contracts awarded in January for construction work
in the Fifth reserve district totaled $5,615,205,
including both urban and rural construction, com­
pared with $21,534,475 for contracts awarded in
January 1931, according to figures collected by the
F. W. Dodge Corporation. Of the January 1932
total, $2,745,005 represented contracts for residen­
tial types of construction, compared with $4,493,725
in contracts awarded for residential building in
January last year, a smaller amount this year but
a much larger percentage of total awards.

Retail Trade, 34 Department Stares

Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District

January 1932 sales, compared with sales in January 1931:
—22.1
—19.7
—16.3
—22.1
—18.9
Jan. 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1931:
—12.2
—11.0
— 6.8
—17.5
—10.4
Jan. 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Dec. 31, 1931:
— 8.9
—10.8
— 5.2
— 8.2
— 8.2
Number of times stock was turned in January 1932:
248
259
.263
.182
.250
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1932, receivables collected in January:
302
25.3
31.7
27.8
28.3

Sales in thirty-four department stores in the
Fifth district in January made the most unfavor­
able comparison with sales in the corresponding
month of the preceding year that has occurred in
a number of years. P art of the decline this year
is due to lower prices, and part to exceptionally
unseasonable weather for winter trade.
Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores
declined an average of 8.2 per cent in January, a
seasonal reduction, and at the end of the month
averaged 10.4 per cent less than stocks on hand a
year earlier. Probably most of the decline in stocks
during the year is accounted for by price re­
ductions.
Collections in January averaged 28.3 per cent
of receivables outstanding at the beginning of the
month, a lower percentage than 30.0 per cent col­
lected in January 1931.




Wholesale Trade, 63 Firms
22"

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

14

Hardware

12

Drugs

January 1932 sales, compared with sales in January 1931:
—17.6
—24.4
— 4.1
—18.5
—26.0
January 1932 sales, compared with sales in December 1931:
— 8.6
—10.0
+32.3
+ 12
— .7
Jan. 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1931:
_____
—17.7(8^) —24.3(4*) —17.7(5*) —14.7(7*)
Jan. 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on Dec. 31, 1931:
+ 1.7(8*) +19.5(4*) +13.9(5*) + 3.0(7*)
_____
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1932, receivables collected in January:
53.6(12*) 30.2(5*)
29.9(6*)
27.4(11*) 50.3(8*)
* Number of reporting firms.

Wholesale trade in the Richmond Federal re­
serve district was seasonally better in shoes and
hardware than in December, but was slower in
groceries, dry goods and drugs, and compared un­
favorably with January 1931 trade in all five lines.
Stocks increased seasonally during January and
at the end of the month were larger in all four
lines for which figures are available than at the
end of December, but all lines showed lower stock
figures than at the end of January 1931.
January collections of receivables outstanding on
the first of that month were slower in all lines
reported upon than collections in January last year,
but the decrease was not large in any line.

(Compiled February 20, 1932)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

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

In January production of manufactures increased by
about the usual seasonal amount, while output of min­
erals and value of building contracts awarded continued
to decline. Wholesale prices declined further during
January and early February, but more recently prices
of certain leading commodities showed an advance.

Production and Employment
Volume of industrial production, which includes both
manufactures and minerals, increased from December
to January by an amount somewhat smaller than is
usual at this time of year, and the Board’s seasonally
adjusted index declined from 71 per cent of the 19231925 average to 70 per cent. In the steel industry there
was a seasonal increase in activity during January, fol­
lowed by a slight decline during the first three weeks
of February. Production of automobiles, which usually
increases considerably at this season, showed little
change in January, following an increase in December.
Activity at textile mills increased by more than the
usual seasonal amount and at shoe factories there was
a seasonal increase in production. Output of coal and
petroleum was substantially reduced. Volume of fac­
tory employment declined by more than the usual sea­
sonal amount between the middle of December and the
middle of January. Number employed at foundries,
car building shops, clothing factories, and establish­
ments producing building materials declined substan­
tially, while employment in the tobacco industry de­
creased less than is usual at this season, and employ­
ment in the woolen goods industry increased, contrary
to seasonal tendency. Total value of building con­
tracts awarded in 37 Eastern states, as reported by the
F. W. Dodge Corporation, declined sharply in Janu­
ary, and for the three months period ending in that
month was about one-half of the amount awarded in
the corresponding period a year ago. Approximately
one fourth of the decrease was in residential building,
and three fourths in other types of construction.




Distribution
Total freight car loadings decreased in January, con­
trary to seasonal tendency, reflecting chiefly smaller
shipments of merchandise, miscellaneous freight, and
coal. Department store sales declined by about the
usual seasonal amount.

W holesale Prices

The general level of wholesale commodity prices, as
measured by the index of the Bureau of Labor Sta­
tistics, declined 2 per cent further from December to
January, although prices of some important commodi­
ties, such as wheat, showed little change and the price
of cotton advanced. During early February prices of
certain leading commodities, including grains and cot­
ton, declined, but later in the month there was some
advance in the price of these commodities.

Bank Credit

Volume of reserve bank credit outstanding declined
in January and the first half of February. This de­
crease has reflected a return flow of currency from cir­
culation, which has been smaller than usual this year,
together with a continued reduction in member bank
reserve balances, offset in part by a demand for reserve
bank credit caused by an outward movement of gold
amounting to $100,000,000 since the turn of the year.
A decline in money in circulation after the first few
days in February reflected some return of hoarded cur­
rency accompanying a decrease in bank failures. At
member banks in leading cities volume of credit con­
tinued to decline during January and the first half of
February. Between January 13 and February 17, total
loans and investments decreased by $550,000,000, rep­
resenting declines in loans on securities, in other loans
and in investments. Deposits of these banks also de­
clined substantially during this period. Money rates
in the open market showed little change. On February
26 the discount rate of the Federal Reserve Bank of
New York was reduced from 3y* to 3 per cent, and
buying rates on bankers' acceptances of short maturi­
ties were reduced from 2% to 2% per cent.

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