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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
ST A T IST IC A L RECORD
Debits to Individual Accounts (23 Cities)------Number of Commercial Failures, 5th District__
Liabilities Involved in Failures_______________
Cotton Consumption, 5th District Mills (Bales)Cotton Grown in Fifth District (Bales)________
lobacco Grown in Fifth District (Pounds)____
Building Permits for New Work, 29 Cities_
Value of Permits for New Work, 29 Cities____
Value of Contracts Awarded, Fifth District____
Total Sales, 30 Department Stores, 5th DistrictTotal Sales, 83 Wholesalers in 6 Lines________
Bituminous Coal Production, U. S. (Tons)_____
Business in the Fifth Federal reserve district
in December 1927 was probably better than
most observers had anticipated, due chiefly to
unusually favorable weather and to the increased
purchasing power of farmers this year in com­
parison with the fall and winter of 1926. Retail
trade as reflected in department store sales last
month was a small fraction of 1 per cent below
the volume of business done in December a year
ago, but exceeded November’s business by more
than the usual amount and was also above aver­
age December trade during the three years 19231925, inclusive. Debits to individual, firm and
corporation accounts in twenty-three leading
cities during the five weeks ended January 11,
1928, exceeded debits during the preceding like
period, ended December 7, 1927, and were less
than 1 per cent below the record amount reported
for the five weeks ended January 12, 1927.
Loans and discounts of sixty-six regularly re­
porting member banks increased between De­
cember 7, 1927, and January 11, 1928, and the
volume of rediscounts held by the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond also increased between
the middle of December and the middle of Janu­
ary. On January 15, 1928, rediscounts held by
the Richmond reserve bank exceeded those of
January 15, 1927, but the circulation of Federal
reserve notes was smaller on the later date.
Bank deposits at the close of 1927 were ma­
terially higher than a year earlier, due to a
marked increase in savings and time deposits.
Business failures in December in both the United
States and the Fifth district were more numer­
ous and liabilities were higher than in December
1926. The labor situation did not improve dur­
ing December, but on the other hand it did not
grow materially worse. The value of building
permits issued in December for new work was
smaller than for any other month of the year
and was also considerably below the value of
permits issued in December 1926. Coal produc­




JANUARY 31, 1928

1927
$l6, 39^)202,O O
O
I,6ll
41,835,046
$
3,129,483
1,624,000
706,036,000
19,256
113 ,813,707
$
$ 409,160,000
104,623,753
$
84,998,657
$
519,804,000

1926
$: 6,429,388,000
$

$
$
$
$

1,441
28,741,221
2,768,596
2,272,000
614.812.000
21,763
170,436,136
416,801,400
106,509,127
86,692,171
578.290.000

tion in December was slightly above the produc­
tion of November, but wras lower than in the
preceding December. West Virginia dropped
from first to second place in coal production last
month. Textile mills found buyers more reluc­
tant in placing forward orders than during the
earlier months of the fall, and many mills began
the new year on restricted schedules to prevent
the accumulation of goods in their warehouses
Cotton consumption in the Fifth district and in
the United States] in December was less than in
December 1926. The number of bales of cotton
exported in December was only about half the
number shipped abroad in December of the pre­
ceding year. Tobacco marketing was very active
in December and early January, and Fire-cured
and Sun-cured types brought better prices than
a year ago, but Flue-cured prices this year are
below those of last year.
An examination of the statistical record of
1927 and 1926 at the top of this page shows
that the volume of business transacted during
1927 was moderately below the high level
reached in 1926, but at the beginning of 1928
the outlook for the coming year is probably as
good if not better than it was a: year ago. The
total value of agricultural products raised in the
Fifth district in 1927 was considerably larger
than the value of the 1926 crops, in spite of re­
duced yields in cotton, fruit, and some minor
money crops. The 1927 crops were also grown
more economically than those of the preceding
year, thereby returning larger net profits to the
growers. Plans have been made for much new
construction work in 1928, and if these plans
mature the present unemployment situation will
be quickly relieved. In the textile industry it
now appears that the outlook is better than it
was at this time last year. The banks of the
district are in position to care for all legitimate
credit needs that seem likely to develop.

CONDITION OF SIXTY-SIX REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
ITEMS
Total Loans and Discounts (including re­
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. 11, 1928

Dec. 7, 1927

Jan. 12, 1927

527.253.000
174.963.000

$ 524,636,000
168.675.000

$ 519,291,000
132.834.000

44.921.000
13.748.000
391.495.000
244.545.000
14.127.000

44.330.000
14.977.000
403.391.000
242.060.000
11.921.000

41.373.000
14.844.000
392.966.000
211.895.000
6,310,000

The accompanying table shows totals for the principal items of condition reported by sixty-six mem­
ber banks of the Fifth Federal reserve district on three dates, January n , 1928, December 7, 1927,
and January 12, 1927. These data afford an opportunity for comparing the latest available figures
with those of the preceding month and the preceding year. It should be borne in mind, however,
that the figures shown are not necessarily the highest or lowest that occurred during the periods
compared, but reflect conditions on the report dates only.
Between December 7, 1927, and January 11, 1928, total loans and discounts for customers at the
sixty-six reporting banks increased $2,617,000 and investments in bonds and securities rose $6,288,000.
Time deposits rose during the month under review by $2,485,000, but demand deposits declined
$11,896,000, a net decrease in total deposits of $9,411,000. Cash in vaults declined $1,229,000 between
December 7th and January nth, the banks needing less currency after the holiday shopping season.
The reporting banks increased their borrowing at the reserve bank by $2,206,000 during the month,
and also increased their reserve deposits by $591,000, merely a daily fluctuation.
A comparison of the January n , 1928, figures with those of January 12, 1927, shows a larger use
of bank credit this year. Total loans and discounts for customers were $7,962,000 higher on the
later date, and the sixty-six banks were in turn borrowing $7,817,000 more from the reserve bank.
Cash in vaults was $1,096,000 less on January n th this year than a year earlier, and demand de­
posits reclined $1,471,000 during the year. On the other hand, time deposits increased materially,
gaining $32,650,000, between January 1927 and January 1928, and investments in bonds and securi­
ties rose $42,129,000 between the same dates.
RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS—Member banks increased their indebtedness at the Federal
Reserve Bank of Richmond during the past month, the volume of rediscounts held by the Richmond
bank rising from $21,321,000 on December 15, 1927, to $26,405,000 on January 15, 1928. The rise in
rediscounts was chiefly due to an increased demand for accommodation from city banks. On the
other hand, a reduction in Government sceurity holdings and in paper purchased in the open market
lowered the total earning assets of the Richmond reserve bank from $84,128,000 on December 15th
to $80,228,000 on January 15th. The volume of Federal reserve notes in actual circulation followed
the seasonal trend last month, rising from $78,884,000 on December 15th to approximately $83,000,000
a few days before Christmas, and then falling rapidly after the holidays to $72,412,000 on January
15th. Member bank reserve deposits dropped from $73,737,000 at the middle of December to $73,176.000 at the middle of January. The several changes enumerated lowered the cash reserves of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $77,852,000 on December 15th to $70,523,000 on January
15th, and reduced the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined from 50.55 per
cent to 47.36 per cent between the same dates.

On January 15, 1927, member banks were borrowing $21,860,000 from the Federal Reserve Bank
of Richmond, compared with $26,405,000 on the corresponding date this year, the increase being in
rediscounts for city member banks. The circulation of Federal reserve notes, which stood at $78,689.000 a year ago, was $72,412,000 at the middle of January this year. The total earning assets of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, which aggregated $42,667,000 on January 15, 1927, were
$80,228,000 on January 15, 1928, the increase being composed chiefly of acceptances purchased in
the open market and larger holdings of Government securities. Member banks raised their reserve
deposits at the reserve bank from $70,278,000 at the middle of January last year to $73,176,000 on
January 15th this year, increased deposits in member banks requiring higher reserves at the reserve
bank. The cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond were $110,956,000 on January
15, 1927, but on January 15th this year they had declined to $70,523,000. The ratio of cash reserves
to note and deposit liabilities combined was 72.81 per cent at the middle of January last year and
47.36 per cent on the corresponding date this year.




2

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
CITIES
Asheville, N. C..........
Baltimore, Md...........
Charleston, S. C........
Charleston, W. Va....
Charlotte, N. C........
Columbia, S. C..........
Cumberland, Md........
Danville, Va..............
Durham, N. C.........
Greensboro, N. C......
Greenville, S. C........
Hagerstown, Md........
Huntington, W. Va...
Lynchburg, Via..........
Newport News, Va....
Norfolk, Va...............
Raleigh, N. C...........
Richmond, Va............
Roanoke, Va.............
Spartanburg, S. C...
Washington, D. C......
Wilmington, N. C....r.
Winston-Salem, N. C
District Total............

TOTAL DEBITS DURING THE FIVE WEEKS ENDED

Jan. 11, 1928

Dec. 7, 1927

Jan. 12, 1927

ANNUAL TOTALS
1926
1927

35.308.000
517.392.000
31.611.000
54.690.000
65.827.000
29.953.000
10.840.000
17.722.000
42.916.000
33.833.000
33.446.000
13.927.000
29.699.000
27.180.000
13.310.000
86.519.000
35.085.000
176.368.000
36.507.000
19.668.000
294.207.000
23.451.000
56.843.000

32.762.000
482.895.000
31.245.000
45.974.000
69.745.000
27.543.000
11.594.000
22.926.000
47.380.000
33.590.000
36.825.000
12.128.000
28.107.000
21 868.000
11,261,000
95.141.000
29.020.000
191.921.000
33.325.000
19.626.000
279.271.000
21.766.000
52.274.000

43.074.000
545.471.000
28.634.000
53.361.000
60.282.000
23.080.000
10.525.000
16.966.000
37.069.000
31.699.000
25.221.000
12.981.000
33.348.000
28.251.000
17.738.000
100.566.000
33.364.000
179.001.000
37.121.000
18.285.000
293.619.000
23.902.000
47.172.000

410.047.000
5.051.802.000
333.174.000
472.139.000
658.854.000
280.914.000
113.594.000
138.970.000
390.348.000
308.372.000
303.219.000
131.092.000
300.723.000
240.270.000
122.329.000
898.253.000
296.740.000
1.711.049.000
351.946.000
176.659.000
2.939.412.000
235.614.000
526.682.000

$1,686,302,000

$1,638,187,000

$1,700,730,000

$16,392,202,000

.

$

437,969,000
5.204.952.000
336.190.000
452.414.000
611.726.000
229.122.000
108.973.000
129.414.000
357.096.000
316.179.000
271.799.000
129.678.000
314.473.000
251.451.000
141.915.000
950.512.000
312.931.000
1.690.293.000
353.449.000
173.046.000
2.929.590.000
254.931.000
471.285.000

$16,429,388,000

The accompanying table shows debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the clearing
house banks of twenty-three 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. In addition, total debits are shown by
cities and the district for the calendar years 1927 and 1926.
During the five weeks ended January 11, 1928, the twenty-three cities reported debits aggregating
$1,686,302,000, an increase of $48,115,000, or 2.9 per cent, over the total of $1,638,187,000 reported for
the preceding five weeks, ended December 7, 1927. This increase was unusual, the period containing
the dull business days between Christmas and New Y ear’s generally showing lower figures than the
preceding period, but very large annual payments around January 1st and a brisk retail trade just
before the holidays more than balanced the smaller payments of the last week in December. Six­
teen of the twenty-three cities reported higher figures for the period ended January nth.
In comparison with debits aggregating $1,700,730,000 during the five weeks ended January 12,
1927, the total of $1,686,302,000 reported during the corresponding period this year shows a decline
of $14,428,000, or 8/ioths of 1 per cent, a not unfavorable comparison in view of the smaller amount
of construction work under way in the Fifth district this year. A majority of the reporting cities
showed higher totals for the period ended January 11, 1928, but some of the declines were large
enough to pull the district total below that of the corresponding period in the preceding year.
Fourteen cities reported higher and 9 reported lower figures for the later period. Several of the de­
clines coincided with marked recessions in construction work, and a majority of the increases were
reported by textile centers.
Aggregate debits in the twenty-three reporting cities for the year 1927 amounting to $16,392,202,000 were $37,186,000, or 2/ioths of 1 per cent, less than debits for the record year 1926, when
$16,429,388,000 were reported, but the 1927 figure was larger than for any other year. Twelve of
the twenty-three cities reported larger figures for 1927 than for 1926, but again a few large decreases
brought the 1927 total below that for 1926. Baltimore, Norfolk and Newport News reported the
largest declines, while Charlotte, Columbia, Durham and Winston-Salem reported the largest in­
creases in 1927 over 1926.
SAVINGS DEPOSITS—At the end of December 1927, thirteen mutual savings banks in Balti­
more had aggregate deposits amounting to $177,010,993, the highest figure on record, compared
with deposits in the same banks totaling* $174,344,100 on November 30, 1927, and $159,914,868 011
December 31, 1926. Time deposits in sixty-six regularly reporting member banks, located in thirteen
of the Fifth district cities, totaled $244,545,000 on January n th this year, compared with $242,060,000
on December 7, 1927, and $211,895,000 on January 12, 1927.
BUSINESS FAILURES—Business failures in the United States numbered 2,162 in December
1927, with liabilities totaling $51,062,253, compared with 2,069 failures and liabilities of $45,619,578




3

reported in December 1926. Failures during the entire year 1927 numbered 23,146, and the year’s
liabilities totaled approximately $520,000,000, an increase over the 1926 totals of 6 per cent in number
and 27 per cent in liabilities. Last year’s insolvencies were the second highest number on record,
being exceeded only by 23,676 insolvencies in 1922, but the 1927 liability record was exceeded in 1924,
1923, 1922 and 1921.
In the Fifth reserve district December 1927 witnessed 146 bankruptcies, with liabilities aggre­
gating $4,424,241, compared with 125 failures and liabilities totaling $3,179,434 in December 1926.
Failures during the year 1927 totaled 1,611, with liabilities amounting to $41,835,046. The number of
insolvencies in the Fifth district in 1927 was exceeded only by those of 1922, but last year’s liabili­
ties were lower than those of both 1922 and 1924.
LABOR— In contrast with conditions of a year ago, there is now quite a large amount of unem­
ployment in the Fifth reserve district, particularly in the building trades and in unskilled labor
circles connected with construction work. During the past month textile operatives have also had
less steady employment than during the fall of 1927, although practically no textile workers have
been thrown completely out of work. Coal miners in the Fifth district have also experienced some
decrease in the volume of operations as a result of the virtual settlement of the bituminous strike of
the past summer and fall. On the whole, labor conditions during recent weeks have show no ma­
terial improvement, but neither have conditions grown appreciably worse. Prospects are moderately
good for improvement in employment as soon as the severe winter weather is over, and probably the
outlook for the coming year is rather better at the beginning of 1928 than it was at the beginning
of 1927. At this time last year construction work was just beginning a really marked slump, but
this year the bottom appears to have been reached, and indications seem to point to an expanion in
operations in the early spring.
BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF DECEMBER 1927 AND 1926.
Permits Issued

0

CITIES

z

New

3 Frederick, Md.
4 Hagerstown, Md...
5 Danville Va.........
6 Lynchburg, Va....
7 Norfolk, Va..........
8 Petersburg, Va....
9 Richmond, Va......
10 Roanoke, Va........
11 Bluefield, W. Va...
12 Charleston, W. Va.
13 Clarksburg, W. Va
14 Huntington, W.Va.
15 Parkersburg,W.Va
16 Asheville, N. C....
17 Charlotte, N. C....
18 Durham, N. C......
19 Greensboro, N. C.
20 High Point, N. C...
21 Raleigh, N. C.......
22 Salisbury, N. C....
23 Wilmington, N. C.
24 Winston-Salem, N. C.
25 Charleston, S. C ...
26 Columbia, S. C.....
27 Greenville, S. C...
28 Spartanburg, S. C.
29 Washington, D. C.

1927

1926

436

42

24
7
80
44

86
2

65
13

54
13

9
4

19

15
16
31
19

50
42
31
23
19

43
36
32
35
24

9
7
4
3
51
5
3
38
7
15
5
5
35
15
27

1

61
46
5
38

8
21
20

8
8

62

8
21

4
16
218

6
6
12
4

21

2

22

11
6

70
15
14

2

9

210

443

2
0
1

5
17

1

2

5
26
30
4
34
5

6

3

6

58
13
63
34
7
265

1926

1927

239
7
9
14
7

11

Alterations

Repairs

1927 1926

1 Baltimore, Md.....
2 Cumberland, Md...

New Construction

706 $
3

1
2

7
18
71

0
1

12

15
264

814,100 $ 2,377,920
8,790
172,700
8,372
111,000
6,860
23,955
1,605
32,370
36,750
56,490
74,525
51,835
32,300
25,670
655,655
228,233
122,939
180,410
350
23,160
76,440
36,050
28,625
30,953
19,050
49,027
97,150
46,950
266,745
261,136
297,380
256,300
252,961
231,950
154,090
122,650
127,655
300,950
52,105
78,325
31,060
40,750
10,350
9,800
258,955
151,225
15,190
6,480
184,800
47,550
8,400
7,800
17,990
45,150
1,769,345
2,628,600

Totals......... 1,058 1,252 1,209 1,396 $ 5,276,263 $ 7,789,663

1927

1926

$ 214,000 $
800

Increase or Per Cent
Decrease
of
of
Increase 0
Total
or
Z
Valuation Decrease

5,650
46,900
3,400
3,350
225
9,100
18,952
7,065
22,040
9,305
1,175
238,035

325,680 $—1,675,500 — 62.0%
1,103
163,607 1,653.8
4,000
98,628 797.2
800
16,545 216.0
10,380
20,988 175.1
5,963
19,298
45.2
46,099
60,624
50.3
6,519 — 20.2
0 —
24,299 — 174,546 — 25.7
2,660 — 57,751 — 31.5
1,890 — 7.5
25,000 —
68,215 161.6
6,150
32,708 — 34,146 — 53.6
4,100 — 31,977 — 60.2
1,150 — 46,550 — 47.4
21,000 — 3,796 — 1.3
6,850
55,340
21.0
1,250
25,411
10.9
41,992 — 26,532 — 13.5
30,400 — 200,295 — 60.4
10,350 — 33,220 — 37.5
3,800 — 13,265 — 29.8
43,050 — 33,400 — 63.2
98,610
28,072
11.2
4,065
11,710 111.0
158,135 324.7
1,155
1,085
8,820
99.3
4,815
23,520 103.1
217,740 — 838,960 — 29.5

$1,070,220

$ 976,254 —$ 2,419,434 — 27.6%

0

250
603
5,521
129,413

11 1

277,175
2,380
300
33,975
890

2,100

4,800
11,595

21,110

1
2

3
4
5

6

7

8

9

10
11
12

13
14
15
16
17
18
19

20
21
22

23
24
25
26
27
28
29

— 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.

As is usual at the end of the year, the volume of construction work provided for in permits
issued in twenty-nine Fifth district cities in December was the smallest of the year, and for the
sixteenth consecutive month fell below the volume of work provided for during the corresponding
month of the preceding year. Permits for new construction numbered 1,058 in December, with esti­
mated valuation of $5,276,263, compared with 1,252 permits and estimated valuation of $7,789,663




4

issued for new work in December 1926. Alteration and repair permits totaled 1,209
month,
estimated to cost $1,070,220, compared with 1,396 permits to cost $976,254 issued in December 1926
for the same class of work. Total valuation figures for all classes of work totaled $6,346,483 in De­
cember 1927 and $8,765,917 in December 1926, a decrease during the more recent period of $2,419,434,
or 27.6 per cent. Baltimore reported a decline of 62 per cent, Richmond a decline of 25.7 per cent,
and Washington a decline of 29.5 per cent. Fourteen of the twenty-nine cities reported higher
valuation figures last month than for the same month a year earlier, eight of them increasing more
than 100 per cent, but except in Cumberland, Frederick and Columbia the large percentage gains were
due to low figures in December 1926 rather than to unusually high figures for last month.
Totals for the entire year 1927 show decreases in both the number of permits issued for new
work and in total valuation in comparison with 1926. The twenty-nine cities issued 19,256 permits
for new work in 1927, compared with 21,763 permits issued in 1926, a loss of 11.5 per cent. Esti­
mated valuation totaled $113,813,707 in 1927, compared with $170,436,136 in 1926, a drop of 33.2 per
cent.
The F. W. Dodge Corporation reports contracts actually awarded in the Fifth reserve district
totaling $37,226,016 in December 1927, of which $11,694,193 represented residential construction. Dur­
ing the year 1927 contract awards in the Fifth district totaled $409,160,000. This figure, which is
approximately three and a half times the amount of new construction work provided for in per­
mits issued in the twenty-nine largest cities of the district, indicates clearly the large volume of
industrial work done in the district in rural sections or in small towns and villages, as for example
in the textile villages in the Carolinas.
COAL—Bituminous coal production in the United States in December totaled approximately
41,277,000 net tons, compared with 40,628,000 tons mined in November 1927 and 57,671,000 tons in
December 1926. Production in West Virginia dropped slightly below that of Pennsylvania in De­
cember. Total production of soft coal in the entire country during 1927 amounted to 519,804,000
net tons, compared with 578,290,000 tons mined in 1926, the decline being due to much smaller ex­
ports in 1927 and to lessened activity in coal consuming industries, especially the steel and auto­
mobile industries.
TEXTILES —Fifth district textile mills have curtailed operations considerably since the end of
November. Most of the mills shut down for a week or ten days at Christmas, and after the holidays
a large number of plants resumed work on a four and a half day basis, closing down from Friday
noon to Monday morning. The restriction in operating time followed a decline in forward orders as
cotton prices fluctuated during December and the first half of January. With a narrow margin of
profit and an uncertain raw material market, the mills are making up yarns and cloth on orders only,
and are accumulating very little stock in their warehouses. Fifth district mills consumed 237,325
bales of cotton in December 1927, of which North Carolina mills used 125,252 bales, South Carolina
mills 102,658 bales, and Virginia mills, 9,415 bales. In December 1926 the three states consumed
254,102 bales. During the calendar year 1927, the three textile manufacturing states in the Fifth
district consumed 3,129,483 bales of lint cotton, compared with 2,768,596 bales consumed in 1926, an
increase last year of 360,837 bales, or 13 per cent. Cotton consumption in the district in 1927 ex­
ceeded the number of bales grown during that year in the district by a million and a half bales, total
consumption being approximately double the yield of cotton in Virginia and the Carolinas.
COTTON—The cotton market was unsettled during most of December and the first half of
January, and prices fluctuated through a range of about a cent a pound. In our Review last month
we traced spot cotton prices on Carolina markets through the week ended December 17th, when the
average price was 18.42 cents per pound. The following two weeks witnessed higher averages, the
price rising to 19.09 cents on December 24th and 19.37 cents on December 31st, but during the week
ended January 7th the average price declined to 19.20 cents and continued downward to an average of
18.99 cents during the week ended January 14th, the latest period for which figures are now avail­
able.
Cotton consumed in American mills during December totaled 543,598 bales, compared with 625,680 bales used in November 1927 and 602,986 bales in December 1926. Total consumption for the
present cotton year—August 1st through December 31st—totaled 3,042,968 bales, in comparison with
2,825,916 bales used during the corresponding five months of 1926. According to the Census Bureau's
January 13th report, cotton on hand in consuming establishments amounted to 1,707,326 bales on
December 31, 1927, compared with 1,551,336 bales on November 30th and 1,763,739 bales on December
31st a year ago. Warehouses and compresses held 5^655,736 bales at the end of December, 5,969,418
bales at the end of November, and 6,548,257 bales at the end of December 1926. December imports
totaled 4 1,211 bales, compared with 28,845 bales imported in November and 39,851 bales in December
a year ago. Exports in December totaled 767,314 bales, compared with 999,501 bales sent abroad
in November and 1,531,297 bales in December 1926. Total exports during the five months of the
present cotton year totaled 3,864,676 bales, compared with 5,573,220 bales exported during the last
five months of 1926. Active spindles numbered 31,715,388 in December 1927, compared with 32,269,478
in November 1927 and 32,489,570 in December 1926. Cotton consumption in the cotton growing




5

states totaled 406,710 bales in December, compared with 468,596 bales used in November and 438,511
bales in December 1926.
TOBACCO—V IR G IN IA leaf tobacco sales during the month of December totaled 25,224,934
pounds, compared with 40,119,836 pounds sold in November, and brought the total sales for this
season up to 91,393,677 pounds, which is approximately 64 per cent of the estimated production for
the year. The average price of flue-cured, or Bright, tobacco was $20.80 per hundred pounds in
December, compared with $24.19 in November 1927 and $23.86 in December 1926. Fire-cured, or
Dark, tobacco brought an average of $9.73 in December, compared with $7.72 for this type in De­
cember a year ago. Sun-cured tobacco prices rose in December from those of November, and the
December average of $11.78 per hundred pounds was materially above the average of $9.77 paid in
December 1926 for the same type. Danville sold 8,515,753 pounds of Bright tobacco in December
for an average of $21.81 per hundred pounds, leading the state markets in both number of pounds
and in price paid. Lynchburg led the Dark markets, selling 1,479,347 pounds, but in price several
markets averaged higher. Richmond sold 1,228,890 pounds of Sun-cured for $11.78 per hundred,
and Abingdon sold 979,574 pounds of Burley for an average of $19.39 Per hundred.
NORTH CAROLINA auction warehouses sold 46,625,686 pounds of producers’ tobacco in De­
cember, at an average price of $21.73 Per hundred, compared with 45,213,494 pounds sold in De­
cember 1926 at an average of $23.67 per hundred. Season sales to December 31st totaled 432,521,774
pounds, compared with 340,672,271 pounds sold by the auction markets to December 31, 1926.
Winston-Salem led the North Carolina markets in sales in December with 8,273,834 pounds, Wilson
with sales of 5,994,166 pounds ranking second, but Carthage with an average of $26.84 and Mebane
with $26.52 per hundred pounds ranked first and second in price.
AGRICULTURAL NOTES—The weather was favorable for farm work in December, but around
the end of the year a cold wave did some damage to truck and grain crops in the lower part of the
Fifth district. The extreme cold probably killed many boll weevils, however, which may compensate
for the damage done to truck and small grains. Tobacco growers have marketed their crop earlier
than usual this year, due to dry roads and absence of snow. The weather during the entire fall was
favorable for winding up the year’s farming operations, and many crops yielded better than had been
expected earlier in the season.
In order that our readers may have some comparative production figures for the leading crops
in the states comprising the Fifth Federal reserve district, we are including a table showing yields
for the, past two years in each of the several states. The figures were obtained from official
sources, and are final estimates.
Crops
Corn (bus.)

Yrs.
1927
1926
Cotton (bales)
1927
1926
Tobacco (lbs.)
1927
1926
1927
I. Potatoes (bus.)
1926
S. Potatoes (bus.)
1927
1926
1927
Oats (bus.)
1926
Wheat (bus.)
1927
1926
1927
Hay (tons)
1926
1927
Peanuts (lbs.)
1926
Apples (bus.)
1927
1926
Apples (bbls.)
1927
(Commercial crop)
1926
Sorghum Syrup (gals.) 1927
1926

Maryland
22,660,000
22,049,000

W. Virginia
15.109.000
16.005.000

26.176.000
26.040.000
5.246.000
3.510.000
1.584.000
1.815.000
1.708.000
1.706.000
9,188,000
11,960,000
728.000
521.000

6,000,000
8,500,000
5.989.000
4.982.000
330.000
330.000
5.421.000
5.796.000
1.796.000
2.352.000
1,266,000
1,036,000

1.700.000
3.500.000
400.000
600.000

5,200,000
10,875,000
1.400.000
1.700.000
712.000
776.000

Virginia
47.967.000
46.585.000
32.000
51.000
129.940.000
137.032.000
19.760.000
11.656.000
5.805.000
5.375.000
3.999.000
4.836.000
8,381,000
11,336,000
1,469,000
992.000
123.120.000
136.620.000
6,000,000
19,902,000
1.500.000
3.384.000
920,000
1 ,200,000

N. Carolina
53.626.000
52.272.000
857,000
1,213,000
468,000,000
386,460,000
7.368.000
6.325.000
10,146,000
7,560,000
5.733.000
6.820.000
5.168.000
6.303.000
902.000
733.000
210.367.000
185.400.000
1.825.000
5.986.000
91,000
345,000
2.484.000
2.730.000

S. Carolina
25.449.000
22.103.000
735,000
1,008,000
75.920.000
56.780.000
3.034.000
3.219.000
5.300.000
3.760.000
10.327.000
10.483.000
880,000
800,000
358.000

201.000
8.525.000
5.400.000
363.000
647.000

1.846.000
1.694.000

FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE

As Indicated By Reports from Twenty-Nine Representative Department Stores for the Month of December 1927
Retail trade in December, as reflected in department store sales, was fully up to seasonal
average, increasing 57 per cent over November sales and also averaging 8.6 per cent above average
December sales by the same stores during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive. Sales in December




6

fell 3/ioths of i per cent below the sales of December 1926, however, and total sales in the calendar
year 1927 were 1.8 per cent below the record sales of 1926. Sales in Richmond in 1927 exceeded
Percentage increase in December 1927 sales over sales in December 1926:
Baltimore
Richmond
Washington
Other Cities
District
— 2.6
2.6
1.2
— .5
— .3
Percentage increase in total sales during 1927 over total sales in 1926:
— 3.5
2.1
— 1.1
— 1.3
— 1.8
Percentage increase in December sales over December sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive:
2.5
20.3
13.4
5.2
8.6
Percentage increase in stock on hand December 31, 1927, over stock on December 31, 1926:
— .9
— 1.3
1.0
9.1
.9
Percentage increase in stock on hand December 31, 1927, over stock on November 30, 1927:
— 18.1
— 20.3
— 21.6
— 24.2
— 20.4
Percentage of sales in December 1927 to average stock carried during that month:
46.1
53.1
52,9
38.7
48.5
Percentage of total sales during 1927 to average stock carried each month:
331.3
350.8
351.4
268.9
333.0
Percentage of outstanding orders on December 31st to total purchases of goods in 1926:
3.6
2.2
3.5
2.0
3.3
Percentage of collections in December tc total accounts receivable on December 1st:
25.2
31.4
_
31.0___________________31/7___________________2 8 ^
— Denotes decreased percentage.

sales in 1926 by 2.1 per cent, but sales in Baltimore, Washington and the Other Cities were smaller.
Stocks on hand at the end of December 1927 were 9/ioths of 1 per cent larger than stocks at the
end of 1926, but were 20.4 per cent smaller than at the end of November 1927. Sales during Decem­
ber amounted to 48.5 per cent of average stock carried during the month, and total sales during the
calendar year 1927 were 333.0 per cent of average stock on the shelves at the end of each of the
twelve months. This figure indicates an average turnover during the year of 3.33 times, the stores
in Washington leading with approximately 3.51 times.
Outstanding orders at the end of 1927 totaled 3.3 per cent of total purchases of merchandise
during 1926, and collections during December equaled 28.6 per cent of total receivables outstanding on
December 1st, a slightly higher figure than 28.1 per cent of receivables collected in December 1926.
WHOLESALE TRADE, DECEMBER 1927
Percentage increase in December 1927 sales, over sales in December 1926:
31 Groceries
11 Dry Goods
5 Shoes
16 Hardware
U Furniture
— 3.6
— 6.4
— 3.4
— 6.6
— 21.8
Percentage increase in December 1927 sales, over sales in November 1927:
— 14.1
— 37.0
— 41.2
— 11.7
— 19.7
Percentage increase in total sales during the year 1927, compared with sales in 1926:
— 4.9
— 2.4
1.6
1.5
— 10.8
Percentage increase in stock on December 31, 1927, over stock on December 31, 1926:
— 5.0(13)*
15.0(5)*
— 37.1(4)*
— 1.3(8)*
Percentage increase in stock on December 31, 1927, over stock on November 30, 1927:
— 10 .1 ( 10 )*
— 2.5(4)*
— 10.7(4)*
1.1(8)*
Percentage of collections in December to accounts receivable on December 1 , 1927:
68.8(18)*
36.3(8)*
40.1(5)*
40.6(12)*
24.0(2)*
— Denotes decreased percentage.

_________
13 Drugs
— 2.6
— 10.7
—

.5
..

52.5(8)*

* Number of reporting firms.

Wholesale trade in the Fifth Federal reserve district in December, as indicated by reports from
eighty firms in six lines, was in smaller volume in every line than in either November 1927 or Decem­
ber 1926. The decrease in December sales under those of November was seasonal, but the decline
in comparison with December 1926 sales shows an actual decrease in business. Total sales for the
year 1927 were also smaller in every line reported upon except shoes and hardware, which gained
1.6 per cent and 1.5 per cent, respectively.
Grocery, dry goods and shoe stocks declined in December, while stocks of hardware increased.
At the end of the year stocks in three of the four lines for which information was available were less
than stocks on hand December 31, 1926.
Collections in December were better than in November in groceries, dry goods, shoes and drugs,
but were slower in furniture and hardware. In comparison with collections in December 1926, those
of December 1927 were better in groceries and shoes, but dry goods, hardware, furniture and drug
collections compared unfavorably with those of the corresponding month of the preceding year.




(Compiled January 20, 1928)
7

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

Industrial activity continued in December at a relatively low
level and railroad distribution o f commodities declined further, while
the general level o f prices remained unchanged. Holiday trade at
retail stores was in somewhat larger volume than in the previous
100 year.

PRODUCTION. Production o f manufactures remained in prac­
tically the same volume in December as in November, while output
o f minerals, when allowance is made fo r usual seasonal changes,
showed a slight increase. Activity in the textile, shoe and tobacco
industries was reduced in December, while the output o f steel, nonferrous metals, and petroleum increased. Production o f automo­
biles continued in small volume during December, but increased
considerably in January, and within recent weeks there has been
also a further increase in the activity o f steel mills. Building con­
tract awards were slightly larger in December than in November,
but smaller than in December o f the two preceding years. Total
awards fo r the year 1927 in 37 Eastern states, as reported by the
P. W. Dodge Corporation, were valued at about $6,300,000,000,
which is slightly less than the 1926 total o f $6,380,000,000. De­
cember awards fo r residential and commercial buildings were larger
than in December 1926, while those fo r industrial buildings and
public works were smaller. During the first three weeks o f January
contract awards were in approximately the same volume as during
the corresponding weeks o f last year.

1924Index number of production of manufactures and minerals combined,
adjusted for seasonal variations (1923-25 average - 100).
Latest figure, December 99.

1928
Index of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (1926 - 100, base
adopted by Bureau). Latest figure, December 96.8.
BILLIONS OF DOLLARS

BILLIONS OF DOLLARS

2

2

TRADE. Retail sales o f department stores and mail order
houses increased slightly more than is usual in December and were
somewhat larger, than a year ago. Inventories o f merchandise car­
ried by department stores were reduced in December and at the
end o f the year were slightly smaller than at the end o f 1926.
Wholesale) trade in nine leading lines; continued smaller than in the
corresponding months o f last year. Stocks o f groceries, shoes, hard­
ware and furniture carried by wholesale firms were smaller at the
end o f December than a year earlier and stocks o f dry goods and
drugs were slightly larger. Freight car loadings declined further in
December and were in smaller volume during that month and in
the early part o f January than at any time in fou r years. The
decrease in loadings occurred in practically all groups o f com­
modities.

PRICES. The Bureau o f Labor Statistics index o f wholesale
commodity prices remained practically unchanged in December and
was at the end o f the year about 1 per cent lower than a- year ago.
Prices o f grains, hides and leather products, non-ferrous metals,
1 and rubber increased in December, while prices o f livestock, cotton
and lumber declined. In the first three weeks o f January there
were increases in prices o f iron and steel, grains, and wool, while
prices o f cattle, hogs and cotton declined.

1924

1925

Monthly averages of daily figures for 12 Federal Reserve banks.
Latest figures are averages of first 23 days in January.
MILLIONS OF DOLLARS

BANK CREDIT. A t the Reserve banks the seasonal demand
fo r currency, after reaching its peak on December 24th, was fo l­
lowed/ by a return flow o f money from circulation, which amounted
o to about $440,000,000 between December 24th and January 18th.
This decline in the demand fo r currency, which was approximately
the same as a year ago, was reflected in a decrease fo r the same
period o f about $360,000,000 in bills and securities o f the Reserve
5 oo banks. Loans and investments o f member banks in leading cities
5
declined during the first half o f January but were still at a higher
level than at any time last year. The decline o f about $200,000,000
between January 4th and January 18th reflected a decrease o f
about $280,000,000 in the volume o f loans on securities, offset in
part by a considerable increase in the banks’ investment holdings.
Call loan rates showed the usual seasonal decline at the turn o f
the year but other money rates were slightly firmer. The rate on
bankers’ acceptances increased during the second week o f January
from 3% to 3% per cent and there was also a slight advance in
rates on time money in the open market.

Mtney in circulation data are averages of first-of-iaonth figures
and Reserve bank credit data are monthly averages of daily figures.
Latest figures, January.




8