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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

C h a ir m a n a n d F e d e r a l R e s e r v e A g e n t

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA___________________________________________________ FEBRUARY 28, 1934
HE period from January 1 through
the middle of February is usu­
ally one of adjustment and shows a
marked recession in business activity
from the preceding three or four
months. However, the decline in
trade was less this year than normal­
ly, and some lines reported unusual
improvement in comparison with Jan­
uary last year. For example, retail
trade last month not only exceeded
January 1933 trade by more than 13
per cent, but also showed less than a
normal decrease in comparison with
trade in the preceding fall and winter
months. Wholesale trade, likewise,
made the best comparative showing in
more than four years. Textile mills not only showed
seasonal gains over December operations, but secured
sufficient orders to keep them busy for some weeks.
Tobacco sales far exceeded sales in January last year,
and prices were also materially better for most types
of tobacco. Cotton prices between the middle of Janu­
ary and the middle of February were about twice as
high as prices in the corresponding period last year.
Various CWA and PWA projects have greatly reduced
the number of unemployed persons in comparison with
the people who could not find work a year ago, and
private industry has also taken on an appreciable num­
ber of additional workers. Debits to individual ac­
counts figures for five weeks ended February 14 showed
less than the normal seasonal decline in comparison
with debits during the preceding five weeks, and ex­
ceeded debits in the corresponding period a year ago
in most of the reporting cities in the Fifth district.
Coal production in January exceeded production in both
December and January last year. The commercial fail­
ure record in the Fifth district was excellent for Janu­
ary, the number of insolvencies declining 48 per cent
and aggregate liabilities involved dropping 42 per cent
in comparison with the figures for January 1933.
In banking, rediscounts at the Federal Reserve Bank
of Richmond declined further, but total earning assets

T




of the Bank increased during the past
month, due to an increase in the own­
ership of Government securities. Cir­
culation of Federal Reserve notes de­
clined seasonally between January IS
and February IS, but continued far
above the circulation figures a year
earlier. Member banks reported prac­
tically no change in their loans during
the past month, but both demand and
time deposits showed moderate in­
increases. They also increased their in­
vestments in securities, chiefly Govern­
ment issues bought for temporary in­
vestment of surplus funds. Construc­
tion work of a private nature contin­
ued very small in amount during Jan­
uary, but contracts awarded reached a relatively high
figure, chiefly due to projects undertaken by Govern­
ment agencies or with Government aid. The outlook
for agriculture this year is probably better than it has
been for several years. Farmers secured sufficient re­
turns from 1933 crops to enable them to buy needed
live stock and farm implements, and to lighten the load
of debt carried over from previous years of unprofitable
operations. Plans for 1934 farming are well advanced
for this season of the year.

Reserve Bank Statement
000 omitted
ITEMS

Feb. 15
1934

Jan. 15
1934

Feb. 15
1933

Rediscounts held ---------------- $ 2,593 $ 4,075 $ 17,494
2.582
3,800
Open market paper--------------1,642
78,563
93,563
46,899
Government securities ---------98.738
86,438
Total earning assets----------66,035
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes— 147,329 151,560 100,421
4,402
4,518
Cir. of Fed. Res. bank notes—
0
94,974
90,607
62,966
Members’ reserve deposits-----Cash reserves -------------------- 165.416 176,355 119,375
65.58
69.96
68.00
Reserve ratio --------------------

Rediscounts for member banks at the Federal Re-

MONTHLY REVIEW

2

serve Bank of Richmond continued to decrease between
the middle of January and the middle of February,
declining by $1,482,000, and the portfolio of open
market paper also dropped by $1,218,000 during the
month. On the other hand, the Bank increased its
investments in Government securities by $15,000,000,
the result of the changes showing a net rise in total
earning assets amounting to $12,300,000 between Janu­
ary 15 and February 15. During the same period there
was a seasonal decline in the circulation of Federal re­
serve notes totaling $4,231,000, and Federal Reserve
bank notes in circulation also declined by $116,000.
Member Bank reserve deposits, which are far above
minimum legal requirements, rose by $4,367,000 last
month, and for a few days between the two dates used
these reserves went even higher, passing the $100,000,000 mark. The several changes mentioned in the state­
ment, with others of less importance, reduced the cash
reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by
$10,939,000 during the past month, and also lowered
the ratio of reserves to note and deposit liabilities com­
bined by 4.38 points.
Comparison of the February 15, 1934, figures with
those reported for February 15, 1933, shows material
changes in nearly all items during the year. Redis­
counts for member banks declined by $14,901,000, but
holdings of open market paper rose by $904,000, and
ownership of Government securities increased by $46,664,000, the changes giving a net increase of $32,703,000
in total earning assets. The circulation of Federal re­
serve notes also rose during the year, by $46,908,000,
and there were $4,402,000 of Federal Reserve bank
notes outstanding at the middle of February this year,
while last year none of these notes were in circulation.
Member bank reserve deposits rose during the past
year by $32,008,000, and at the middle of February
were not far from double the legal requirements. The
several changes in items resulted in an increase of
$46,041,000 in cash reserves during the year, but the
ratio of reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined
declined by 2.42 points.

Member Bank Statement
““

"
ITEMS

000 omitted
Feb. 14
1934

Jan. 10
1934

Feb. 15
1933

Loans on stocks & bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ------- $ 59,313 $ 59,030 $ 60,497
All other loans-------------------- 109,223 109,293 112,351
168,536 168,323 172,848
Total loans & discounts------179,422 168,212 134,278
Investments in securities-------Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
36,779
24,528
34,047
10,891
11,081
11,166
Cash in vaults-------------------198,883 195,011 163,822
Demand deposits ---------------130,701 129,514 137,192
Time deposits ...........................
Borrowed from F. R. Bank.---0
140
0

that the figures in the table reflect conditions as of the
report dates only, and are not necessarily the highest
or lowest figures that occurred during the interval be­
tween the dates.
During the month between January 10 and February
14, both this year, total loans and discounts held by the
twenty-eight reporting banks rose by $213,000, loans
on securities rising by $283,000, while all other loans
decreased by $70,000. The reporting banks increased
their investments in stocks and bonds by $11,210,000
during the month, chiefly by the purchase of Govern­
ment securities, and further increased their reserve
balances at the reserve bank by $2,732,000. Cash in
vaults declined slightly during the past month, dropping
by $190,000. Aggregate deposits rose by $5,059,000
between the middle of January and the middle of Feb­
ruary, of which $3,872,000 was in demand deposits
and $1,187,000 was in time deposits. None of the
twenty-eight reporting banks were borrowing at the
reserve bank on either January 10 or February 14.
In comparison with condition figures reported for
February 15, 1933, those for February 14, 1934, show
material changes in several items. Total loans and
discounts in the twenty-eight banks decreased mod­
erately during the year, loans on securities declining by
$11,184,000 and all other loans decreasing by $3,128,000. On the other hand, during the year the reporting
banks increased their investments in bonds and other
securities, chiefly Governments, by $45,144,000, and
raised their reserve balances at the reserve bank by
$12,251,000. Cash in vaults dropped $275,000 during
the year. Aggregate deposits rose by $28,570,000, de­
mand deposits rising by $35,061,000 while time deposits
dropped by $6,491,000. The reporting banks were
borrowing nothing at the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond on February 14, compared with $140,000
borrowed by the same banks on February 15, 1933.

Time and Savings Deposits
Time deposits in twenty-eight reporting member
banks and aggregate deposits in eleven mutual savings
banks in Baltimore totaled $317,206,433 at the end of
January 1934, a higher figure than $315,035,743 re­
ported at the end of December 1933 but 8 per cent
less than $344,458,813 reported at the end of January
last year. Both reporting member banks and mutual
savings banks showed declines in time and savings
deposits during the yean

Debits to Individual Accounts

Aggregate payments by check drawn on clearing
house banks in twenty-three cities of the Fifth Federal
reserve district are shown in the accompanying table
for three equal periods of five weeks, thus affording
opportunity for comparison of the latest figures, for
The accompanying table shows the principal items the five weeks ended February 14, 1934, with those
of condition of twenty-eight regularly reported mem­ for the preceding like period this year and the corre­
ber banks in the Fifth reserve district as of three dates, sponding period a year ago.
Aggregate debits in the five weeks ended February
thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest
available figures with those of the corresponding dates 14 totaling $944,825,000 showed a seasonal decrease of
a month and a year earlier. It should be understood; $25,657,000, or 2.6 per cent, in comparison with $970,-




MONTHLY REVIEW
CITIES

000 omitted
Total Debits, Five Weeks Ended
Jan. 10,
Feb. 14,
Feb. 15,
1934
1934
1933

Asheville, N. C.------Baltimore, M d._____
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, V a ............
Washington, D. C.__
Wilmington, N. C.—
Winston-Salem, N. C.

$ 10,289
262,802
12,406
32,880
44,454
17,679
6,258
9,485
32,883
11,291
15,121
5,881
11,323
16,485
6,946
41,626
3,225
30,524
126,115
20,448
183,636
8,057
35,011

$ 9,903
259,238
12,850
47,230
43,229
17,421
6,586
10,993
33,150
8,950
14.381
6,013
12,819
16,117
8,465
47,321
3,681
27,489
134,098
23,386
182,655
8,503
36,004

$ 8,059
273,683
10,758
31,239
35,570
17,796
5,301
5,576
16,944
11,601
10,557
5,457
10,586
13,063
7,146
34,324
3,333
18,109
1124,323
20,344
201,878
7,333
25,781

Fifth District Totals

$944,825

$970,482

$898,761

482,000 of debits in the preceding period, ended Janu­
ary 10. However, the comparison is more favorable
than in most years, the decrease in the later period
being materially less than usually occurs, and nine of
the reporting cities actually sending in larger figures
for the later period.
Debits in the five weeks ended February 14 this
year show an increase of $46,064,000, or 5.1 per cent,
in comparison with debits totaling $898,761,000 in the
five weeks ended February 15 last year. All of the
twenty-three cities except six reported higher figures
for the 1934 period, and the decreases in four of the
six cities—Baltimore, Columbia, Greensboro and Wash­
ington—were due chiefly to funds which are tied up
in closed banks and are not therefore available for ordi­
nary commercial transactions.

Commercial Failures
The Dun & Bradstreet Monthly Review, in com­
menting on business failures in the United States in
January 1934, says that the number of insolvencies was
smaller than for any other January in many years, and
showed less than the normal seasonal increase in com­
parison with the number of insolvencies in December
1933. In January this year there were 1,364 failures,
compared with 1,132 in December and 2,919 in January
a year ago. Insolvencies in January are usually at the
high point of the year, but January bankruptcies this
year were fewer than failures in any of the first eight
months of last year. Aggregate liabilities involved in
January 1934 bankruptcies totaled $32,905,428, com­
pared with $27,200,432 in December and $79,100,602
in January 1933. In the Fifth reserve district, Janu­
ary 1934 failures numbered only 98, with liabilities




3

amounting to $1,764,717, compared with 187 insolven­
cies for a total of $3,056,287 in January 1933, decreases
of 48 per cent and 42 per cent in number and liabilities,
respectively. Last month's figures for both number of
failures and aggregate liabilitits involved were the low­
est reported for any January since 1920.

Employment
Employment has broadened moderately in recent
weeks on work largely provided for by CWA and
PWA funds, but outside work has been seriously re­
tarded since the first of February by very severe
weather. Improvement in the demand for workers has
also been reported in private industry and in distribu­
tion, but private construction work continues at a very
low level, and shows no signs of material improvement
in the near future. Work from CWA funds has re­
cently been provided to assist some professional classes
and clerical workers, both men and women, who were
not helped by the earlier relief projects. A disappoint­
ing feature of the situation is that artificial relief work
planned as a temporary measure has apparently not
stimulated sufficient improvement in private industry
to absorb the workers as they may be released by com­
pletion of CWA and PWA projects.

Coal Production
Bituminous coal production in the United States
totaled approximately 32,916,000 net tons in January
1934, in comparison with 29,600,000 tons in December
and 27,060,000 tons in January 1933. Total produc­
tion during the present coal year to February 10
amounted to 294,071,000 net tons, an increase of 14
per cent over production to the corresponding date last
year. Shipments of coal through Hampton Roads this
calendar year, through February 10, totaled 1,881,679
net tons, compared with 2,278,317 tons shipped to the
same date in 1933 and 2,615,825 tons in 1929.
In its February 10 report, the Bureau of Mines, De­
partment of Commerce, gave annual production figures
of soft coal by states for the past year. In 1933 West
Virginia mined 90,770,000 net tons, leading all states.
Virginia produced 8,390,000 tons, and Maryland dug
1,500,000 tons. Total production in 1933 in the Fifth
district was 100,660,000 net tons, or 30.7 per cent of
National production totaling 327,940,000 tons. Last
year's percentage of total production was higher in the
Fifth district than 30.6 per cent for 1932, 29.5 per cent
for 1931, 28.9 per cent for 1930, and was also above
28.8 per cent for 1929, before the depression set in.

Textiles
Tht textile industry was very active in January, and
showed more than a seasonal increase over December
operations. However, Fifth district mills did not quite
reach the level of operations of January last year, code
restrictions holding the mills down to some extent. The
three textile manufacturing states in the Fifth district
used 231,555 bales of cotton in January, 45.58 per cent
of National consumption totaling 508,034 bales. North

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Carolina used 116,993 bales in January, South Caro­
lina 100,496 bales, and Virginia 12,122 bales, North
Carolina and Virginia figures exceeding those for
January last year. In December 1933 the Fifth dis­
trict used 158,124 bales, or 45.39 per cent of the
United States total, and in January 1933 the district
consumed 235,897 bales, or 50.17 per cent of the
National total. January 1934 consumption of cotton
in the Fifth district rose 46.44 per cent above Decem­
ber consumption, a higher figure than 45.82 per cent
increase for the United States as a whole, but the
district consumption last month in comparison with
consumption in January 1933 declined 1.84 per cent
while the United States showed an increase of 8.05
per cent.

consumed in the cotton growing states last month,
Fifth district states used 231,555 bales, or 56.99 per
cent, compared with 59.42 per cent in January 1933.

Tobacco Marketing

Virginia sales of leaf tobacco during January amount­
ed to 29,051,968 pounds, at an average of $11.85 per
hundred, according to reports to the Virginia Commis­
sioner of Agriculture. Sales for January 1933 were
19,096,922 pounds, and the average price during that
month was $8.61 per hundred pounds. Total sales of
all types of tobacco through January 31 amounted to
91,714,150 pounds, and the average season price was
$15.17, compared with 55,743,902 pounds sold at an
average of $9.04 for the same period of the preceding
year. Flue-cured sales for January 1934 amounted to
Cotton Statistics
16,881,501 pounds at an average price of $13.94 per
Spot cotton prices on ten leading Southern markets hundred, which compares with 9,413,527 pounds sold
continued an upward trend during the past month, and at an average of $6.42 in January 1933. Fire-cured
advanced from an average of 10.71 cents per pound markets were open only ten days last month, and con­
on January 12 to 12.29 cents per pound on February sequently sales were much smaller than usual, the total
16, the latest date for which official figures are avail­ for January being 3,116,500 pounds compared with
able. On February 17 last year the average price was 6,397,708 pounds sold in January 1933. The average
only 5.91 cents, this year’s price on the corresponding price last month, $6.87 per hundred pounds, was also
date showing an increase of approximately $32 a bale. materially lower than the average of $8.91 paid for
Cotton consumption in American mills in January fire-cured types in January 1933. Burley sales of 7,1934 totaled 508,034 bales, according to the report of 961,900 pounds in January this year show a big in­
the Bureau of the Census made public on February 14. crease over 2,865,338 pounds sold in January 1933, but
This figure shows a seasonal increase over 348,393 the average price of $9.86 per hundred pounds com­
bales consumed during the month of December 1933, pares unfavorably with the average of $15.40 paid for
and is 8.1 per cent higher than 470,182 bales consumed burley tobacco in January last year. Sun-cured sales,
in January 1933. Total consumption during the six all at Richmond, amounted to 1,092,067 pounds in
months of the present cotton year amounted to 2,923,- January, compared with only 420,349 pounds in the
724 bales, compared with 2,812,187 bales consumed same month last year, and last month’s average price
during the six months ended January 31, 1933. Cotton of $8.40 compared with $7.00 per hundred pounds in
on hand at manufacturing establishments on January January 1933. Warehousemen estimated that the sales
31, 1934, totaled 1,602,044 bales, compared with 1,- during January graded 23 per cent good, 39 per cent
641,742 bales held on December 31,1933, and 1,499,129 medium, and 38 per cent common, compared with 15
bales held on January 31, 1933. Bales in public ware­ per cent good, 36 per cent medium, and 49 per cent
houses and compresses numbered 9,500,915 at the end common in January 1933. Among the individual mar­
of January, against 10,313,461 bales at the end of kets, Danville led in total sales in January and for the
December, and 10,020,533 bales on January 31, 1933. entire season with 10,572,396 pounds and 42,042,996
Exports of cotton totaled 739,352 bales in January, pounds, respectively, and Danville also led in average
compared with 820,099 bales sent abroad in December price paid last month with $15.18 per hundred pounds.
1933 and 793,676 bales in January 1933, and exports Drakes Branch led the fire-cured markets in price last
in the six months of the present cotton year—August month with $8.66 per hundred.
1-January 31, inclusive—totaled 4,919,450 bales against
North Carolina tobacco markets sold 36,437,492
5,039,724 bales shipped over seas in the corresponding pounds of producers’ tobacco in January 1934, at an
six months ended January 31, 1933.. . Imports last average price of $14.31 per hundred pounds, compared
month totaled 12,698 bales, compared with 14,013 with 13,007,833 pounds sold for $8.67 per hundred
bales imported in December and 21,352 bales in Janu­ pounds in January 1933. Total sales this season to
ary 1933. Spindles active in the United States at some February 1 amounted to 509,060,354 pounds, for an
time in January 1934 numbered 25,653,324, compared average of $15.97 per hundred pounds, compared with
with 24,840,870 in December 1933 and 23,753,638 in 281,429,709 pounds sold prior to February 1, 1933,
January 1933. Consumption of cotton in the cotton at an average of $12.02 per hundred. Cash receipts
growing states totaled 406,343 bales in January, com­ received for this year’s crop totaled approximately $83,pared with 282,941 in December and 396,998 bales 553,000, compared with only $35,273,000 received for
used in January 1933. Last month’s consumption in the previous year’s crop. Winston-Salem with 10,the cotton growing states amounted to 79.98 per cent 320,668 pounds led in January 1934 sales, Durham
of National consumption, compared with 84.43 per ranking second with 4,527,444 pounds. Durham led
cent of National consumption used in the cotton grow­ in price paid in January with an average of $17.54 per
ing states in January a year ago. Of the 406,343 bales hundred pounds. In season sales, Wilson with 65,-




MONTHLY REVIEW
228,972 pounds and Greenville with 64,546,458 pounds
are far ahead of other markets.

Tobacco Manufacturing
The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury De­
partment issued a report on February 1 on taxes col­
lected by the United States on tobacco manufacturing
in 1933. Total taxes collected on all tobacco products
amounted to $409,308,921, and of this sum $309,011,611, or 75.5 per cent, was paid in the Fifth Federal
reserve district, chiefly in North Carolina and Virginia.
Tobacco manufacturing taxes for the United States as
a whole rose 5.7 per cent in 1933 in comparison with
taxes in 1932, but in the Fifth district the amount paid
to the Treasury last year rose 9.3 per cent above the
amount paid in 1932. Taxes on cigarettes paid in the
United States in 1933 totaled $335,534,623, of which
$281,102,882, or 83.8 per cent, was paid in the Fifth
district. On cigars, the Government collected $11,404,458 last year, of which the Fifth district paid only
$1,076,382, or 9.4 per cent. Manufactured tobacco, in­
cluding chewing tobacco, smoking mixtures and snuff,
brought in a total to the Treasury of $61,457,311, of
which the Fifth district paid $26,832,347, or 43.7 per
cent. The Treasury received less in 1933 than in 1932
from taxes on cigars and manufactured tobacco, but
more than made up the two decreases by the increase
in taxes from cigarettes. North Carolina was far in
the lead in cigarette production with tax payments
totaling $187,082,311, Virginia ranking second with
payments totaling $94,020,284. North Carolina also
led in taxes paid on manufactured tobacco, with $21,699,333, but Ohio ranked second with $8,939,606. The
actual number of cigarettes produced in 1933 in the
United States was 111,763,441,149, of which the Fifth
district made 93,700,961,000. North Carolina manu­
factured 62,360,770,000 cigarettes in 1933, and Vir­
ginia produced 31,340,095,000 cigarettes.

Agricultural Notes
Not much farm work is done during January and
February, but on the whole farmers are well advanced
in their planning and arrangements for 1934 crops.
Reports indicate that with larger receipts for 1933
crops in hand, farmers are buying more mules than
in any other recent year, and fertilizer distribution has
also started in materially larger amount than last year.
The weather during the winter prior to February was
favorable for winter crops, but since February 1 tem­
peratures have been unusually low and some grains
and fruit trees appear to have suffered considerable
damage. In some sections of the Fifth district there
is a deficiency of moisture, but this is not yet serious
and the lack could easily be made up by a few good
rains.




5

Construction
Building Permits Issued in January
1934 and 1933
Permits Issued
1934
1933

4
8
12
71
3
12
53
20
5
50
10
9
19
15
25
18
4
8
1
3
40
17
19
11
12
4
232

556
2
5
8
9
14
19
65
4
19
52
16
3
76
7
12
14
21
10
27
5
11
0
3
26
19
25
32
3
10
328

Total Valuation
1934
1933
$ 445,080 $ 590,880
9,200
3,900
6,050
410
8,760
1,275
10,450
5,400
4,075
8,505
18,776
27,067
26,060
65,190
2,900
2,500
10,285
4,880
62,830
53*230
24,238
9,874
725
550
14,202
10,320
5,895
3,186
6,100
7,415
8,320
15,435
28,205
50,291
62,800
326,075
10,660
35,700
1,325
2,600
3,983
6,040
40
0
10,525
2,800
20,374
16,950
6,889
14,170
11,980
14,157
8,100
7,030
2,900
1,385
1,382
2,837
337,475
392,080

District T otals___ 1,154

1,401

$1,165,179 $1,687,537

CITIES
Baltimore, M d._____
Cumberland, M d.___
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.____
Winston-Salem, N. C.
Charleston, S. C.____
Columbia, S. C._____
Greenville, S. C.____
Rock Hill, S. C____
Spartanburg, S. C---Washington, D. C....-

451
3
8

7

Building permits issued by inspectors in thirty-one
Fifth district cities numbered only 1,154 in January
1934, with estimated valuation amounting to $1,165,179,
compared with 1,401 permits and valuation figures
totaling $1,687,537 in January 1933, decreases of 17.6
per cent and 31.0 per cent in number of permits and in
valuation, respectively. Twelve cities reported more
permits in the 1934 month, and fifteen cities reported
higher valuation figures, but all of the five largest cities
except Richmond showed lower valuation figures last
month.
Contracts awarded in January for construction work
in the Fifth reserve district totaled $31,109,468, in­
cluding both urban and rural construction, compared
with $4,735,493 for contracts awarded in January 1933,
according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Cor­
poration. Of the January 1934 awards, $1,873,433, or
only 6 per cent, represented contracts for residential
types of construction, compared with 1,458,368, or 31
per cent, in contracts awarded for residential building
in January last year.

MONTHLY REVIEW

6

Retail Trade, 30 Department Stores

Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District

January 1934 sales, compared with sales in January 1933:
+30.1
+10.4
+10.1
+24.7
+13.6
Jan. 31, 1934, stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1933:
+14.1
+222
+16.0
— 4.9
+15.7
Jan. 31, 1934, stocks, compared with stocks on Dec. 31, 1933:
— 6.8
— 7.5
— 6.8
— 2.7
— 6.7
Number of times stock was turned in January 1934:
292
232
249
234
245
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1934, receivables collected in January:
30.7
30.9
28.6
28.8
29.7

Sales in thirty department stores in the Fifth reserve
district in January continued to compare favorably with
sales in the corresponding month of the preceding year.
Sales were 13.6 per cent larger in dollar value than
sales in January 1933, the largest gain reported for any
month except August 1933 since the depression began.
Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores de­
clined an average of 6.7 per cent during January, a
seasonal reduction, but at the end of the month stocks
averaged 15.7 per cent above stocks a year earlier.
Stocks were turned an average of .245 times during
January, a slightly faster rate than .242 times in Janu­
ary 1933.
Collections in January 1934 averaged 29.7 per cent
of receivables outstanding at the beginning of the
month, a higher percentage than 28.2 per cent collected
in January 1933.




W holesale Trade, 58 Firms
21

7

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

13

Hardware

11

Drugs

January 1934 sales, compared with sales in January 1933:
+24.5
+89.8
+ 51.1
+762
+13.3
January 1934 sales, compared with sales in December 1933:
+ 2.0
+83.8
+128.3
+14.4
+12.0
Jan. 31, 1934, stocks, compared with Jan. 31, 1933, stocks:
+16.2(8*) +55.0(3*) + 24.3(4*) +17.5(7*)
Jan. 31, 1934, stocks, compared with Dec. 31, 1933, stocks:
+ 4.3(8*) +13.9(3*) + 6.0(4*) + 6.4(7*)
Percentage of Jan. 1, 1934, receivables collected in January:
76.6(12*) 48.7(4*)
47.0(6*)
43.2(11*) 59.9(7*)
♦Number of reporting firms.

Wholesale trade by 58 firms in 5 representative lines
in the Fifth reserve district in January 1934 made a
remarkable comparison with the volume of business
done by the same firms in January last year, and also
showed considerably more than the normal seasonal
increase in comparison with the volume of trade in
December. Dry goods, shoes and hardware showed
especially noteworthy gains in sales in comparison with
January 1933 sales.
Stocks on hand at the end of January this year were
larger in all of the four lines for which figures are
available than they were at the end of January last
year, and all lines also showed moderate increases of
a seasonal nature in stocks during the past month. The
stock increases during the year were not as large as the
increases in sales.
Collections in January were better in every line re­
ported upon than they were in January 1933, the per­
centage of collections to outstanding receivables being
larger in January 1934 in every line.

(Compiled February 21, 1934)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

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

Volume of industrial production increased by more
than the usual seasonal amount in January and the
early part of February. The general level of whole­
sale commodity prices, after showing relatively little
change during the last five months of 1933, advanced
considerably after the turn of the year.

Production and Employment
Output of factories and mines, as measured by the
Federal Reserve Board’s seasonally adjusted index of
industrial production, advanced from 75 per cent of
the 1923-1925 average in December to 78 per cent in
January. This compares with a recent low level of 72
per cent in November and a level of 65 per cent in
January, 1933. The January advance reflected chiefly
increases of more than the usual seasonal amount in
the textile, meat packing, automobile, and anthracite
coal industries. Activity at cotton mills, which had
reached an unusually high level in the summer of 1933
and had declined sharply in the latter part of the year,
showed a substantial increase in January. Output of
automobiles also increased by more than the usual
seasonal amount, while activity in the steel industry
showed little change, following a non-seasonal increase
in December. In the first half of February there was
a further growth in output at automobile factories and
activity at steel mills showed a substantial increase.
Factory payrolls, which usually decline considerably
at this season, showed little change between the middle
of December and the middle of January, while factory
employment declined by about the usual seasonal
amount. There were substantial increases in employ­
ment and payrolls in the automobile, hardware, shoe,
and women’s clothing industries, while decreases, part­
ly of a seasonal character, were reported for the hosiery,
tobacco, furniture, and lumber industries.
Value of construction contracts, as reported by the
F. W. Dodge Corporation, showed a decline in Janu­
ary and the first half of February, following a sub­
stantial increase in the latter part of 1933. As in
other recent months, public works made up a large
part of the total.

Dollar Exchange
The foreign exchange value of the dollar in relation
to gold currencies, which in January had fluctuated
around 63 per cent of par, declined after January 31
to slightly above its new parity of 59.06 per cent.

Prices
Wholesale commodity prices showed a general in­
crease between the third week of December and the
third week of February and the weekly index of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics advanced from 70.4 per
cent of the 1926 average to 73.7 per cent. There were
substantial increases in livestock prices; wool continued
to advance and cotton reached a level higher than at any
time since 1930. Scrap steel advanced to about the
level prevailing in the summer of 1933.

Bank Credit

As a consequence of the reduction on January 31 of
the weight of the gold dollar, together with subsequent
imports of gold from abroad, the dollar amount of the
country’s stock of monetary gold increased from $4,035,000,000 on January 17 to $7,089,000,000 on Feb­
ruary 14. About $3,000,000,000 of this increase was
reflected in a growth of the cash held by the Treasury,
which includes gold bullion.
Nothwithstanding a further reduction in discounts
for member banks and in acceptance holdings of the
Reserve banks, member bank reserve balances increased
moderately during this period, reflecting gold imports,
a return of currency from circulation, and a reduction
in United States Government deposits with the Reserve
banks. In the middle of February these balances were
more than $900,000,000 above legal reserve require­
ments.
At reporting member banks there was a growth be­
tween January 17 and February 14 of more than $600,000,000 in holdings of United States Government se­
curities and of more than $500,000,000 in United States
Government deposits, reflecting Treasury financing.
Loans on securities and all other loans increased slight­
ly and bankers’ balances showed a substantial growth.
Short-term money rates in the open market remained
Distribution
at low levels. On February 2, the Federal Reserve
Bank of New York reduced its discount rate from 2
Freight traffic increased in January by more than per cent to 1J4 per cent and during the succeeding two
the usual seasonal amount, reflecting larger shipments weeks reductions of
per cent were made at the Fed­
of coal and merchandise. Sales by department stores eral Reserve banks of Cleveland, Boston, St. Louis,
showed the usual seasonal decline after the holiday Dallas, Richmond, Kansas City, Atlanta, and San Fran­
cisco.
trade.