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FEDERAL RESERVE
C ald w

ell

H

ardy,

BANK OF R I C H M O N D

F ed eral R eserve

agent

General Business and Agricultural Conditions in the Fifth Federal Reserve District
for the Month of January, 1920

(Compiled February 16, 1920)

The new year, 1920, has opened prosperously, with no indications of any general business
curtailment in sight. All classes of merchants are busy, reserve stocks are small and demands
from consumers are increasingly active, especially for the better grades of merchandise.
Wholesalers report practically no “after holiday” slump.
The drygoods and textile jobbers are doing a very large volume of business, made up of
many small orders. Retailers hesitate to contract far ahead at present prices, but are
ordering more frequently so as to supply the constant demand from consumers.
Jobbers of foods report large sales and the free purchase of luxuries and high grade
goods by retailers and consumers. Stocks are low and several jobbers fear a shortage of
supplies, with higher prices.
Collections continue good and a more wholesome tendency to avoid speculative buying
is reported in all lines. Borrowing is being Jimi^ed •to^uec^jar y purposes and efforts to
restrict loans for speculation are being jae^fed?*’ Failures are* revy*
liabilities lower still.
* * * •*
* »•
*«*
*•
During January, 1920, there were thirj^*rfrre fatluKas.as.agaiy^t^iirty'f&ir jn January, 1919,
but the gross liabilities for those in i^Vamoun1ted;f c * ' d r y ,943 as corritjared to liabilities
of $617,155 for those in January, itjijj. This- wpul$, sherry to showrtllat th£ high prices have
been unfavorable to small firms but have rfot*s%ffousK" ’dffecfed the larger, well capitalized
houses.
The greatest activity is found in the building trades and allied industries, the volume
being limited only by the capacity of mills and the labor supply. The great demand for
homes and residences is still unsatisfied, and there seems small chance of soon catching up
with this need. Several cities report shortages of from 300 to 500 houses for homes, and at
least one city has formed a Home Corporation to buy property and erect homes in numbers.
Norfolk reports that “the building program in Virginia and North Carolina has not only not
caught tip with the shortage existing during the war, but has not kept pace with normal build­
ing conditions required through the growth of the various communities.”




FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND
BALAN CE SHEET AS OF FEB. 20, 1920
RESOURCES
CASH RESERVES
Gold Redemption Fund— Federal Reserve N o tes. .
Gold with Federal Reserve A ge n t.........
. .
Gold Settlement F u n d ..................................................................... .
Gold Certificates and C o in .........
Gold with Foreign A gencies..........
Legal Tender N o tes................
Silver Certificates and C o in ..........
T o tal Cash R e serve s..
UNCOLLECTED ITEMS, ETC.
National and Federal Reserve Bank Notes (Other B a n k s). .
Federal Reserve Notes and Other Currency (Other B a n k s)..
Nickel and Copper C o in ....................... . . .
Checks and Other Cash Item s.........
Exchange for Clearing H ouse........................................................
5 % Fund against Federal Reserve Bank Notes (Our O w n )..
O verdrafts........
Transit Item s..............................................
T otal Uncollected Items, e t c . .

P 9 , 720,552 49

3 3 ,380,145 00

28,355.91313
2,319.8 0
25 0
5,52 ,28 75
8 5
186,900 00

120,83175
$ 79,612,453 12

2 ,0 0 0
10 0 0
1,618,735 0
0
10 69
145,700 01

2,996,173 9
8
50 ,3 0 0
30 0
73 6 5
,4 5 4
6 8 ,14 4
5,4 8 8 2

EARNING ASSETS
Bills Discounted and B o u g h t.........
U. S. Government Securities..
.

7 ,0 5 3 6
1 3 ,5 3 4

,

114 045,78215
13,494,600 00

$ ,540,38215
127
LESS Unearned Discount and Reserves for Depreciation in U. S. Securities
(after deducting accrued in terest)................
T otal Liquid Value Earning A ssets.........
MISCELLANEOUS ASSETS
Advance to U. S. Government for W ar Loan E x p en ses..
Other Deferred C h arges.............
Real Estate and Equipm ent.................................................
T otal Miscellaneous A
s s e t s . ..........

..

T O T A L R^SaCTk’C^:^.

CAPITAL AND PROFiJS*.
OFU.S-.'
C apital Paid In », •
Surplus...........
Unapportioned Prcffits---- / .. .j .j.
T o tal Capital

•: V ;

•*
.

127,258,158 62
221,125 68

2 ,2 6 9
48 4
563,28412
808,696 74

.

$278,714,842 12

/. , . j .........

LIABILfrflig **.
•
\ > * ...

: / /• V.V; ••• • •••
^• •
•
•
..............
........................v ;*•••,
..................... .

22 2 5
8 ,2 3 3

. ... . • • • . * *
• • • - *•••■ •
. . * I ••• .V J.............

NOTE CIRCULATION, DEPOSITS, ETC.
Federal Reserve Notes in A ctual Circulation (Our O w n )............
Federal Reserve Bank Notes in A ctual Circulation (Our O w n)..
U. S. Treasurer...........
Member Banks’ R eserves........
Foreign Government C redits..
Cashier C h ecks...........................................
Deferred A vailability Items (T ran sit)...............
Reserve for Taxes Other than Franchise T a x .......
A ll Other L iabilities.............................................
T otal Circulation, Deposits, e tc ...............
T O T A L L I A B I L I T I E S ... ,

4,540,200 00
5,820,462 63
702,725 28
11,063,387 91

:

129,632,050 00
11,644,752 00

1,515,868 77

60,296,335 88
3,542,408 75

78,115 33
60,905,892 05
19,970 00
16,061 43
267,651,454 21
$278,714,842 12

Memo:
D ue U. S. Treasurer by Member Depositary B a n k s ..




$1,494 00

The figures for building permits for January follow:
December
Number of Cities Reporting
Number of Permits Issued..............
Estimated Cost of New Construction,
Improvements and Repairs.

January

Decrease

23
2,178

21
2,066

2
112

$7,337,260

$6,932,197

$405,063

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the inefficiency of labor.

Several reports

give sixty to seventy per cent, of pre-war production as the best that can be gotten now.
Wages of labor show no lower tendency, but, on the other hand, advances are noted in some
particular lines. A majority of reports show, however, that labor is more abundant and
better satisfied at present than it was thirty or sixty days ago.
Cotton manufacturing plants are making large profits and there is considerable trading
in mill stocks. Many mills are remodeling and replacing obsolete machinery with modern
equipment.
Furniture manufacturers can not fill their orders. Raw material, especially good grades
of lumber and glass, is very hard to secure even at abnormally high prices.
Coal producers are running below capacity, because of car shortage.
Paper manufacturers are very active and far behind with their orders, with a shortage
of pulp. The rag market is easing, due to large imports of rags.
Demands for empty cars exceed the supply in every line of business reported and one
shipper of perishable goods reports that it has been necessary to close one plant because of the
impossibility of making deliveries before the goods are spoiled.
Crops are bringing high prices, and indications are that farmers are purchasing new
agricultural implements freely. The wagon trade is especially active, with factories rushed
to fill orders and raw material scarce.
The boll weevil was seriously felt last fall in South Carolina and reports indicate a general
uncertainty regarding cotton planting this year over about half of that State. The Piedmont
and eastern sections of South Carolina, however, have had unprecedented prosperity.
Trading in real estate in these sections is very active and at high prices; much of it is specula­
tive and unhealthy.
The North Carolina tobacco crop as reported has exceeded Government estimates already,
with probably 3,000,000 pounds sJEllfcM sale. Iiv.aaailion, approximately 3,000,000 pounds
t




were raised in North Carolina but sold and reported in Tennessee or Virginia. The total
value of this season’s crop is estimated at more than $165,000,000.
Severe cold in South Carolina has hurt the truck crops on the coast, especially the
producers of early cabbage plants. The truck acreage in vegetables and potatoes will be
largely increased. The Beaufort area is planning for between 3,000 and 4,000 acres. Rail­
roads report the handling of three to four times as much seed stock as last year, but much of
this stock was damaged in shipment by frost and therefore the acreage may be affected to
some extent.
Reports of epidemics of grippe and influenza seem to show some injury to trade and
manufactures, because of the absence of numerous people from their customary business.
In the northern part of this district these epidemics appear on the decrease but are giving
trouble further South, many towns reporting limited quarantines.
Clearings show an increase of 23.4% over the corresponding month last year. Money
is in demand at full rates, but the needs of the district are being amply provided for. While
deposits have shown some shrinkage, many banks, when deposits were at high water, invested
freely in outside high-grade commercial paper. They are therefore fortified to some extent
to meet a normal shrinkage in deposits and partially supply the demands for pitching this
year’s crops.