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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUS I NE S S AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

C H AIR M AN AND F E D E R A L R E S E R V E A G E N T

JA N U A R Y 31, 1930

RICHMOND, V IRG IN IA
STATISTICAL SUMMARY

1929

Debits to Individual Accounts (24 Cities)____________ _______
Number of Commercial Failures, 5th District________
Liabilities Involved in Failures, 5th District__________ --------Cotton Consumption, 5th District Mills (Bales)______
Cotton Grown in Fifth District (Bales)_____________
_
Tobacco Grown in Fifth District (Pounds)___________ ___ _
Building Permits for New Work (32 Cities)________
Value of Permits for New Work (32 Cities)________ --------Vaue of Contracts Awarded, 5th District____________ --------Total Sales, 30 Department Stores, 5th District_______ --------Total Sales, 69 Wholesalers in 5 L ines______________ --------Bituminous Coal Production, U. S. (T ons)___________

$16,8 51,269,000

Business in the Fifth Federal reserve district
in December showed some seasonal increase in
comparison with business in November, but on
the whole the increase was less than in most
years. Department store sales last month in the
upper half of the district exceeded sales in De­
cember of the preceding year, but sales in the
Carolinas showed distinct recession last month in
comparison wT
ith the earlier month. Debits to
individual accounts in twenty-four leading cities
for the four weeks ended January 8, 1930, showed
a small increase over debits for the four weeks
ended December 1 1 , 1929, but the gain was much
less than usually occurs at that season, and a
comparison of the latest figures with those of the
corresponding four weeks ended January 9, 1929,
shows a drop for the current period of $73,153,000, or 5.3 per cent. Loans and discounts of
fifty-eight regularly reporting member banks in
the larger cities of the Fifth district decreased
between December 1 1 , 1929, and January 15 , 1930,
and these banks also reduced their rediscounts at
the reserve bank. Country banks reduced their
rediscounts to some extent during the period un­
der rview as agricultural liquidation continued,
but the reduction was less than in the city insti­
tutions. On January 15 , 1930, rediscounts held
by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond to­
taled 27 per cent less than on December 15 , 1929,
and 26 per cent less than on January 15 , 1929.
The circulation of Federal reserve notes followed
a seasonal trend last month, continuing to rise to
a high point two or three days before Christmas,
and then rapidly declining after the holidays. De­
posits in member banks were lower at the middle




$

$
$
$
$

1,420
24,705,654
3,039,884
1,624,000
741,560,000
16,354
104,480,968

384,926,005
104,985,200
68,503,112

52 5.358,ooo

1928
,324,326,000
$16
1,518
34.345,527
$
2,838,836
1,604,000
713,590,000
17,996
$
$
$
$

143,208,256

451,030,185
101,723,680
70,695,201
500,745,000

of January this year than a year earlier, but time
deposits showed an increase during the past
month. Commercial failures in the Fifth district
showed a moderate increase in December over
those reported for November, a seasonal develop­
ment, but also compared unfavorably with insol­
vencies in December, 1928. However, the in­
crease in comparison with failures in the preced­
ing December was less in percentage in the Fifth
district than in the Nation. The value of building permits issued for new construction in De­
cember 1929 was only a little over half the
amount included in December 1928 permits, and
contracts actually awarded were less than half
the awards in the earlier month. The number of
unemployed persons in the Fifth district rose
during the past month more than seasonal aver­
age. Coal production in December exceeded pro­
duction in either November 1929 or December
1928. On the other hand, textile mills operated
less extensively and consumed 10.8 per cent fewer
bales of cotton in December 1929 than in Decem­
ber 1928. Spot cotton prices showed some ten­
dency to stiffen during the first half of January,
and advanced approximately a quarter of a cent
a pound over the price at the end of December.
Tobacco marketing continued during December,
and on the whole prices were somewhat better
than earlier in the season. Wholesale trade in
five lines was relatively poor in December, sales
in four of the five lines being materially less than
sales in December 1928, and collections were on
the whole slower last month than a year ago.
An examination of the annual statistics at the
top of this page shows some interesting con­

trasts. Total debits to individual, firm and cor­
poration accounts in the banks of twenty-four
cities were m o r e than half a billion dollars
higher in 1929 than in 1928, but it is probable
that a considerable part of this increase was due
to increased trading in securities last year. The
number of commercial failures and the liabilities
involved were both less in 1929 than in 1928, and
in fact both figures last year were lower than
for several years. Cotton consumption in the
Fifth district mills in 1929 exceeded the 1928 con­
sumption, and the cotton crop of the district
was larger last year than in the preceding year.
Tobacco production in the Fifth district in 1929
exceeded the production in 1928. Department
store sales were larger last year than in the pre­
ceding year, and bituminous coal production ex­
ceeded that of 1928. On the other hand, building

permits issued for new construction last year
were less numerous than those of the previous
year, and valuation estimates of permits issued
and of contracts actually awarded were mate­
rially lower than the corresponding figures in
1928. Wholesale trade showed declines in 1929
sales in every line for which data were available.
Although the district grew a slightly larger cot­
ton crop last year, the prices in 1929 were much
lower and the crop brought much less money to
the growers than the 1928 crops. Other farm
prices were not materially different from those
in 1928 except the prices received for apples and
Irish potatoes, in both of which the yields were
lower than in the earlier year and prices ad­
vanced accordingly. The Irish potato growers
received approximately three times as much per
bushel for their 1929 crop.

RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS— Member banks reduced their rediscounts at the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond during the past month by 27 per cent, from $4 1,122,000 on December 15 , 1929,
to $29,918,000 on January 15 , 1930. The reduction was partly due to continued liquidation of agricul­
tural indebtedness, but to a greater degree was caused by a reduction of Government security holdings
by large city banks and consequent repayment of loans at the reserve bank. This reduction in security
holdings was advantageously made in the improved bond market following the decline in stocks in
October and November. The decline in the volume of rediscounts held, and a reduction in holdings of
acceptances purchased in the open market, lowered the total earning assets of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond from $65,103,000 at the middle of December to $5 1,555,000 at the middle of January.
The circulation of Federal reserve notes of the Richmond bank followed a seasonal trend during the
month under review. There was an increase from $96,986,000 on December 15 th to $103,096,000 on
December 23rd, and then a steady decline to $86,373,000 on January 15 th. Member bank reserve de­
posits at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond showed only a daily fluctuation between $63,998,000
on December 15 th and $64,114,000 on January 15 th. The cash reserves of the Richmond bank increased
during the past month from $102,422,000 to $105,916,000, and the ratio of cash reserves to note and de­
posit liabilities combined rose from 63.39 per cent on December 15 th to 69.06 per cent on January 15 th.
For the first time since December 1927, the rediscounts for member banks held by the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond were lower on January 15, 1930, than on the corresponding date of the pre­
ceding year, using mid-month statements of condition as a basis of comparison. Each month in 1928
and 1929 witnessed an increase in paper rediscount&d for member banks over rediscounts held a year
earlier, but on January 15 , 1930, rediscounts held by the Richmond bank totaled only $29,918,000 in
comparison with $40,530,000 held on January 15 , 1928, a decrease in the current figure of 26 per cent.
The decline was slightly more extensive in city bank rediscounts, but the paper held for country
banks also declined materially. Total earning assets dropped during the year from $65,898,000 to
$5 1 ,555,000. Federal reserve notes of the Richmond institution in actual circulation totaled $86,373,000
on January 15 th this year, compared with $80,801,000 on January 15 , 1929. Member bank reserve de­
posits at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond amounted to $64,114,000 at the middle of January this
year, a decline of slightly more than $4,000,000 under the total of $68,294,000 at the middle of January
a year ago. The cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose from $86,934,000 on
January 15 , 1929, to $105,916,000 on January 15 , 1930, and the ratio of cash reserves to note and de­
posit liabilities combined increased accordingly, from 57.20 per cent last year to 69.06 per cent this year.
CONDITION OF FIFTY-EIGHT REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
ITEM S

Jan. 15, 1930

Dec. 11, 1929

Jan. 16, 1929

Loans on Stocks & Bonds (including Gov­
ernments) .......................................................
All Other Loans & Discounts.........................
Total Loans & Discounts.....................
Total Investments in Bonds & Securities. . .
Reserve Balance at Federal Reserve B a n k ..
Cash in Vaults...................................................
Net Demand Deposits.......................................
Time D e p o s its ....................................................
Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank........

$188,682,000
309,650,000
498.332.000
153.199.000
39.709.000
11.481.000
352.924.000
235.410.000
14.258.000

$191,049,000
314,677,000
505.726.000
156.978.000
38.934.000
13.376.000
354.130.000
233.107.000
20.543.000

$188,672,000
330,242,000
518.914.000
159.304.000
41.853.000
11.840.000
368.896.000
240.774.000
20.173.000




2

The accompanying table shows the principal items of condition reported by fifty-eight member
banks in selected cities as of three dates, January 15 , 1930, December 1 1 , 1929, and January 16, 1929,
thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest figures with those a month and a year earlier.
It should be understood that the figures shown are not necessarily the highest or lowest that oc­
curred during the periods reviewed, but represent the condition on the report dates only.
The past month witnessed a somewhat more extensive liquidation of indebtedness than usually oc­
curs at that season of the year. Total loans and discounts at the reporting banks declined $7,394,000
between December n th and January 15 th, loans on stocks and bonds decreasing $2,367,000 and all
other loans dropping $5,027,000. The banks also reduced their investments in bonds and securities by
$3>779>
000 during the month, and lowered their cash in vaults by $ 1 ,895,000. These changes enabled
the reporting institutions to increase their reserve balances at the reserve bank by $775,000, and to
reduce their rediscounts at the reserve bank by $6 ,285,000. In percentage the several changes were
relatively small except for the reduction in rediscounts at the reserve bank, which amounted to slightly
more than 30 per cent. Aggregate deposits increased $1 ,097,000 during the month under review, in
spite of the reduction in loans, an increase of $2,310,000 in time deposits exceeding a decline of $ 1 ,303,000 in demand deposits.
A comparison of the figures reported for January 15 th this year with those for January 16, 1929,
shows a decline of $20,582,000 in loans, all of which was in the “All Other Loans” classification, loans
on stocks and bonds increasing $10,000 between the 1929 and 1930 dates. Investments in securities de­
clined $6,105,000 during the year, and the reporting banks reduced their rediscounts at the reserve
bank by $5,9 15 ,000. Cash in vaults declined $359,000. Aggregate deposits declined $2 1 ,336,000 be­
tween the middle of January last year and this, and the reporting banks consequently decreased their
reserve deposits at the reserve bank by $2,144,000. Of the aggregate decline in deposits, $15 ,972,000
was in demand and $5,364,000 in time deposits.
SAVINGS DEPOSITS—Twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore had total deposits of $189,048,745 at the close of business December 3 1 , 1929, a higher figure than either $187,526,332 on deposit
in the same banks on November 30, 1929, or $187,161,472 on December 3 1 , 1928. Fifty-eight regularly
reporting member banks had time deposits totaling $235,410,000 on January 15 , 1930, compared with
$233,107,000 on December n , 1929, and $240,774,000 on January 16, 1929. The moderate increase in
deposits reported during the past month by both the mutual savings banks and the member banks is
seasonal, and is chiefly due to the crediting of interest at the end of the year.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
CITIES

TOTAL DEBITS DURING THE FOUR W
EEKS EN
DED
Jan. 8, 1930

Asheville, N. C................
Baltimore, Md..................
Charleston, S. C..............
Charleston, W. V a..........
Charlotte, N. C................
Columbia, S. C................
Cumberland, Md..............
Danville, V a.....................
Durham, N. C..................
Greensboro, N. C.............
Greenville, S. C................
Hagerstown, M................
Huntington, W. V a.........
Lynchburg, V a ..................
Newport News, V a.........
Norfolk, V a......................
Portsmouth, V a ...............
Raleigh, N. C....................
Richmond, V a....................
Roanoke, V a......................
Spartanburg, S. C..........
Washington, D. C............
Wilmington, N. C............
Winston-Salem, N. C . . ..

$

26,475,000
409,910,000
25,550,000
48,708,000
52,428,000
27,866,000
8,678,000
11,295,000
26,740,000
22,836,000
22,052,000
10,264,000
24,010,000
21,572,000
11,525,000
59,826,000
4,636,000
26,339,000
142,488,000
34.241,000
15,918,000
230,384,000
18.270,000
37,939,000

District T otal...................

$1,319,950,000

Dec. 11, 1929
$

AN N U AL .T O T A L S

Jan. 9, 1929

24,918,000
397,600,000
24,400,000
44,173,000
52.092,000
23,376,000
9,347,000
14,155,000
29,579,000
24.506,000
21,070,000
10,582,000
24,490,000
19.011,000
11.258,000
68,670.000
5.225.000
20.951,000
148 219,000
32.946,000
15.807.000
239.299.000
15.804,000
42,064,000

$

$1,319,545,000

31,554,000
410,430,000
27,360,000
45,123,000
57,931,000
27.247,000
8,960,000
11,692,000
31,122,000
26,419,000
22,681,000
10.293,000
22.799,000
21,456,000
10,550,000
74,171,000
6,291,000
27,4/1-6.000
149,255,000
30.871.000
15.941.000
258,416,000
18,655,000
46,440,000

$1,393,103,000

1929
$

359,603,000
5,213,517,000
311,091,000
520,814,000
712,645,000
298,498,000
122,986,000
117,541,000
365,631,000
298,587,000
271,800,000
135,037,000
282,341,000
245,153,000
131,734,000
777,358,000
64,673,000
300.057,000
1,771,945,000
390.311,000
177,427,000
3,252,732,000
215.279,000
514,509,000

$16,851,269,000

1928
$

376,123,000
4,945,085,000
315,921,000
477,480,000
690,297,000
292,398,000
116,643,000
126,441,000
373,997,000
301,850,000
282,995,000
128,120,000
272,981,000
243,080,000
121,517,000
789,082,000
70,444,000
297,228,000
1,721,458,000
352,017,000
174,634,000
3,122.636,000
216.895,000
515,004,000

$16,324,326,000

The accompanying table shows debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the clearing
house banks of twenty-four trade centers in the Fifth Federal reserve district, three equal periods of
four weeks being given to allow for comparison of the latest available figures with those of the pre­
ceding like period and the corresponding period a y ear ago. In addition, total debits are shown by
cities and the district for the calendar years 1929 and 1928.



3

During the four weeks ended January 8, 1930, total debits showed a very small increase over
the total for the preceding four weeks, ended December 1 1 , 1929, but the increase was less than usu­
ally occurs at this season, when end-of-the-year payments on or around the first of the year are ex­
pected to carry the total for the period to a high level. Thirteen cities reported larger figures for the
four weeks ended January 8th, but eleven cities reported lower totals, an unusually large number of
cities which failed to report seasonal gains.
In comparison with total debits reported for four weeks ended January 9, 1929, the aggregate for
the corresponding four weeks ended January 8th this year shows a decline of $73,153,000, or 5.3 per
cent, only six cities reporting higher figures for the more recent period.
These six cities were
Charleston and Huntington, W. Va., Columbia, S. C., and Lynchburg, Newport News and Roanoke, Va.
Debits figures turned downward in November, after running ahead of 1928 figures most of the
year, and continued lower than the year before through the rest of 1929, but the gains earlier in the
year were more than sufficient to balance the declines and therefore the total of debits for 1929 was
$526,943,000, or 3.2 per cent, above the total for 1928. Fourteen cities reported higher figures for
1929, while ten cities declined from their 1928 totals. Several of the declines were due in part to
lower returns for the 1929 cotton and tobacco crops. The three largest cities in the district reported
higher figures last year, but probably increased trading in securities accounted for these gains.
COMMERCIAL FAILURES— Business failures usually increase in December, as a result of the
pressure of year-end settlements, and 1929 was no exception, but the increase was moderate, insol­
vencies last month in the Fifth district numbering 116 in comparison with 98 in November. Liabilities
involved in December failures totaling $2,032,894 compared with $1 ,907,499 in November. The Decem­
ber 1929 figures were also above those of December 1928, when 113 failures involving $1 ,860,640 in lia­
bilities were reported, but the district increases in the current figures were smaller in percentage
than the average for the United States. Total Fifth district figures for the year 1929 show 1,420 in­
solvencies, with aggregate liabilities amounting to $24,705,654, the best annual record since 1923 in
the number of bankruptcies and since 1920 in total liabilities involved.
EMPLOYMENT—During the past month or six weeks, there seems to have been a distinct decline
in employment at most points in the Fifth reserve district, and more skilled workers are out of work
than at any previous time for many months. To a considerable extent present conditions are due to
seasonal influences which retard outside work, but to this normal factor has been added a marked
decline in construction activities. On the whole the industries of the district are using their usual
quota of workers, but many workers in all branches of building trades and construction work cannot
find steady employment. No signs of immediate improvement in the demand for labor are visible at
present, but the consensus of opinion from leaders in many lines of business is that there will prob­
ably be a marked increase in employment in the late spring or summer. At present it appears that
future improvement in employment conditions is largely dependent upon an increase in construction
work.
COAL—Bituminous coal production in the United States in December 1929 totaled 46,200,000 net
tons, a larger output than 45,677,000 tons in November and 44,083,000 tons in December 1928. Total
production in the calendar year 1929 was approximately 525,358,000 net tons, an increase of 24,613,000
tons, or 4.9 per cent, over the production of 500,745,000 tons in 1928. West Virginia led all bituminous
coal producing states in 1929, leading the next state in output in all but one or two months of the
year.
TEXTILES—Textile mills in the Fifth reserve district consumed 202,317 bales of cotton in De­
cember 1929, of which the North Carolina mills used 105,357 bales, the South Carolina mills 89,442
bales, and the Virginia mills 7,518 bales. December consumption not only showed a seasonal decline
from 243,209 bales used in November 1929, but was 10.8 per cent less than 226,764 bales consumed in
December 1928. However, the decline in December consumption in comparison with that of Decem­
ber 1928 was less in percentage than the drop in National consumption, and the Fifth district used
44.57 per cent of the cotton consumed in the United States last month, compared with 42.52 per cent
used in the district in December 1928. The three textile manufacturing states in the Fifth district con­
sumed 3,039,884 bales of cotton in 1929, an increase of 201,048 bales, or 7.1 per cent, over 2,838,836
bales consumed in 1928. The mills in the district in 1929 consumed nearly twice as much cotton as the
district produced, consumption exceeding production by slightly more than 1 ,400,000 bales.
BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF DECEMBER 1929 AND 1928.
Building permits issued in thirty-two leading cities of the Fifth reserve district in December
1929 were less numerous and the estimated valuation was less than in December 1928. Permits issued
last month for new construction totaled only 772, with estimated valuation of $6,849,608, compared
with 942 permits and a valuation of $1 1 ,524,794 issued in December 1928. Alteration and repair permits
issued last month totaled 1 ,395, compared with 1,373 m the corresponding month a year ago, but last
'
month’s valuation figures for this class of work amounted to only $904,797 compared with $1 ,498,789 in



4

December 1928. Combined valuation figures for all classes of work totaled $7,754,405 in December
1929, a decline of $5,269,178, or 40.5 per cent, under the total of $13 ,023,583 for December 1928. Only
eleven of the thirty-two reporting cities showed higher figures for December 1929 than for the cor­
responding month of the preceding year. Among the larger centers, Baltimore and Richmond re­
ported larger figures last month than in the same month in 1928, but Washington, Norfolk, Win­
ston-Salem and Charlotte reported smaller figures, the decline in Washington being nearly $5,500,000,
Permits Issued

0

New

CITIES

z

Repairs

1929 1928
1
2
3
4
5
6

7
8
9

10
11
12

Baltimore, Md......
Cumberland, Md...
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.

13
14
15
16
17 Parkersburg, W. Va.
18 Asheville, N. C.
19 Charlotte, N. C....
20 Durham, N. C.
21 Greensboro, N. C.
22 High Point, N. C...
23 Raleigh, N. C.......
24 Rocky Mount, N.C.
25 Salisbury, N. C.....
26 Wilmington, N. C...
27 Winston-Salem, N. C._
28 Charleston, S. C.
29 Columbia, S. C.
30 Greenville, S. C.
31 Rock Hill, S. C.....
32 Spartanburg, S. C.
33 Washington, D. C.
Totals..............

322
6
4
11
15
3
13
36
1
8
48
22
3
38
6
16

"2

23
21
6
10
11
10
4
9
26
10
9
5
4
23
47
772

New Construction

238
15
9
10
14
7
11
49
2
12
57
29
8
48
19
18

1929
760
5
4
1
5
5
27
56
2
12
53
7
0
6
5
2

1928

1928

1929

582 $ 2,916,480 $ 1,304,960
3
10.637
15,315
4
645
304,400
5
80.750
28.380
3
30,460
6,975
7
6,062
4,295
12
163.390
10,240
45
70,075
131.845
2
1,250
18,250
6.050
16610
7
313.785
31
246,812
20
150.658
121,737
1,165
3
15,445
161.361
3
121.400
12
3,590
11,175
0
5,000
37,500

Alterations
1929

1928

$ 364,800 $
1,500
1,695
1,500
7,950
1,795
10,390
15,295
3,950
12,783
101,444
1,460
0
4,392
12,750
560

689,080
2,060
11,100
26,075
900
1,600
7,016
56,635
2,500
2,825
96,159
9,055
800
36,050
12,800
0

Increase or Per Cent
Decrease
of
of
Increase
Total
or
Valuation Decrease
$ 1,287,240
64.6#
—
5,238 — 30.1
— 313,160 — 99.3
27,795
51.0
30,535 387.7
1,962
33.3
156,524 907.1
— 103,110 — 54.7
— 15,550 — 74.9
—
* 602 — 3.1
72,258
21.1
21,326
16.3
— 15,080 — 92.8
8,303
5.3
—
7,635 — 31.8
— 31,940 — 85.2

0

X

1
2
3

4

5

6

7

8
9
10
11
12
13
14

15

16

17

29
10
26
91.810
50,940
79,825
40
28
23
394,805
20
1
3
262,350
150,755
20
19
19
4,965
71,420
30
1
21,600
35,775
1
12,000
330,250
19
5
10
11,980
6
2
3
4,945
4
2,725
12,600
0
1
5
20,700
9
7
17,750
32
40
49
20.965
213.390
21
6,015
28,880
13
22
28
26
46
118,025
123.150
107,500
13
24
15
31,080
10
3
6
1,375
8,395
6
19
10
69.385
3,450
140
220
386 2,173,450
7,575.450
942 1,395 1,368 $ 6,849,608 $11,524,794

9^480
14,167
1,600
11,022
8,000
57,925
3,150
0
5,400
22,539
4,500
15,650
26,605
675
3,940
177,880
$ 904.797

29,700
20,650
41.5
38,975 — 339,788 — 78.3
155,830 — , 42,635 — 13.9
70,838 — 81.6
15,405 —
6,550 — 18.1
375 —
13,000 — 273,325 — 79.6
9,585
600
172.9
1,500 — 11,375 — 80.7
750 — ; 2.8
9,100 —
20,603 — 190,489 — 81.4
26,765 — 45,130 — 84.1
7,070 — 5.0
17,595 —
6,325 — 56,140 — 49.3
7,680 — 78.9
1,335 —
65,979 898.2
3,896
212,180 —5,436,300 — 69.8
$1,498,789 $—5,269,178 — 40.5#

18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

26

27

28
29
30
31
32
33

— Denotes decrease.
NOTE— The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits o f the
several cities, but take no account of suburban developments.

Total building permit figures for the entire year 1929 show a decrease in the number of permits
issued for new work in comparison with 1928, and valuation figures also showed a marked decline
last year. The thirty-two cities issued 16,354 permits for new construction in 1929, compared with
17,996 permits issued for similar work in 1928, and the 1929 valuation of $ 104,480,968 compares even
more unfavorably with a total valuation of $143,208,256 in 1928.
The F. W. Dodge Corporation reports contracts actually awarded in the Fifth reserve district
totaling only $13 ,417,233 in December 1929, of which $5,474,923 was for residential construction. Con­
tracts awarded in December 1928 totaled $29,972,785, more than twice the figure for last month. Total
contract award figures in the district in 1929 reached $384,926,005, a decrease of 14.7 per cent under
the total of $4 5 1,030,185 awarded in 1928.
The decline in residential construction last year was
slightly larger than the decrease in other construction.
COTTON STATISTICS— Spot cotton prices on leading Southern markets did not change mate­
rially during the month between December 13 th and January 17th, but the trend was slightly upward.
On December 13 th the average price for middling upland short staple cotton on ten markets was 16.61
cents per pound, but after dropping slightly lower during the week ended December 20th the price de­
cline was checked and rose to an average of 16.80 cents on January 17 th, the latest date for which
figures are available. On January 18, 1929, the average price was 19.12 cents per pound, or approxi­
mately $11.50 a bale higher than on the corresponding date this year.
Cotton consumption in American mills in December totaled 453,892 bales, according to the report
of the Bureau of the Census made public on January 15 th. This figure shows a decrease from 544,510
bales consumed during the month of November last year, and is 14.9 per cent less than 533,301 bales



5

consumed in December 1928. Total consumption during the five months of the present cotton year
amounted to 2 ,742,602 bales, compared with 2,779,359 bales consumed during the five months ended
December 3 1 , 1928. Cotton on hand at manufactuuring establishments on December 3 1 , 1929, totaled
1 ,844,248 bales, compared with 1 ,671,829 bales held on November 30, 1929, and 1 ,733,930 bales held on
December 3 1 , 1928. Bales in public warehouses and compresses numbered 5,914,422 at the end of De­
cember, against 5,841,950 at the end of November, and 5,236,722 on December 3 1 , 1928. Exports of
cotton totaled 910,321 bales in December, compared with 1 ,048,760 bales sent abroad in November
1929 and 1 ,057,075 bales in December 1928. Imports last month totaled 36,190 bales, compared with
35,502 bales imported in November and 39,630 bales in December 1928. Consumption of cotton in the
cotton growing states totaled 353,971 bales in December, compared with 404,807 bales used in December
1928. Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to 77.99 per cent of National
consumption, compared with 75.91 per cent of National consumption used in the cotton growing states
in December a year ago. Of the 353,971 bales consumed in the cotton growing states last month,
Fifth reserve district states used 202,317 bales, or 57.2 per cent.
CROP ESTIMATES—The yields of most crops were larger in the Fifth reserve district in 1929
than in 1928, although the price situation for cotton, one of the leading crops, was less satisfactory.
Corn, cotton, tobacco, sweet potatoes, oats, wheat and peanuts turned out larger yields than in 1928,
while Irish potato, hay, apples and sorghum syrup yields were less. Prices for Irish potatoes were
practically three times as high in 1929 as in 1928, however, and last year’s crop was much more
profitable than the earlier one. We include a table showing yields for 1929 and 1928 of the principal
crops in the district, the figures being final official estimates as of December 1 st.
Years

Crops
Corn (bus.)

............ ,.1929
1928

Maryland

W est Virginia

Virginia

13,892,000
16,524,000

44,138,000
44,715,000

48,623,000
40,830,000

23,321,000
17,064,000

44,000
42,000

18,135,000
20,000,000

735,000
836,000

845,000
726,000

1929
1928

North Carolina South Carolina

Cotton (bales)

........

Tobacco (lbs.)

........ ..1929
1928

25,600,000
21,930,000

6.588,000
5,100,000

118.320,000
104,864,000

508,060,000
499,408,000

82,992,000
82,288,000

Irish Potatoes (b u s .). ..1929
1923

6,555,000
7,500,000

17,461,000
21,618,000

8,130,000
10,545,000

2,354,000
4,068,000

Sweet Potatoes (bus.) ..1929
1928

3,345,000
4,630,000
*
1,500,000

240,000
204,000

6,705,000
6,336,000

9,126,000
7,840,000

5,750,000
4,214,000

............... . 1929
1928

210,000
559,000

5,616,000
5,712,000

3,841,000
4,641,000

6,192,000
4,202,000

11,016,000
7,751,000

..1929
1928

9,290,000
8,586,000

1,782,000
1,586,000

8,960,000
9,758,000

5,347,000
5,150,000

768,000
800,000

1929
1923
1929
Peanuts (lbs.)
........
1928
Apples (bus.) .......... ,,1929
1928
Apples, .Commercial
..1929
(bbls.) ........... ..
1928
Sorghum Syrup (g a ls .). 1929
1928

391,000
508,000

1,163.000
1,199,000

920,000
860,000
224,400,000
215,250,000
2,628,000
5,040,000

316,000
380,000
10,290,000
9,660,000
308,000
480,000

150,000
250,000
1,880,000
1,720,000

Oats (bus.)
Wheat (bus.)
Hay (tons)

...............

*
1,700,000

5,600,000
8,750,000

1,400,000
1,479,000
146,080,000
141,056,000
13,000,000
16,100,000

455,000
442,000

1,400,000
1,470,000
630,000
616,000

3,100,000
3,700,000
810,000
1,032,000

..............

..............
1,292,000
1,296,000

* These figures not available.

TOBACCO MARKETING—North Carolina tobacco markets sold 44,320,840 pounds of producers'
tobacco in December 1929, compared with 50,503,248 pounds sold in December 1928. Total sales this
season to January 1 , 1930, amounted to 445,484,653 pounds, practically the same as sales totaling 445,722,991 pounds sold of the 1928 crop prior to January 1 , 1929. Prices received in North Carolina last
month averaged $18.60 per hundred pounds, a lower figure than $18.95 Per hundred received for to­
bacco sold in December a year ago. Winston-Salem led in sales in December with 8,714,925 pounds,
and Wilson ranked second with 6,153,688 pounds. In total sales this season, Wilson leads with 72,992,182 pounds, Greenville ranking second with 45,757,905 pounds and Winston-Salem a close third with
43,784,828 pounds. Fuquay Springs led in price in December with an average of $21.67 per hundred
pounds, Mebane being second with $2 1 .04. Virginia leaf tobacco markets sold 24,105,346 pounds for
growers in December, at an average price of $18.25 per hundred pounds. In December 1928, Virginia
markets sold 2 1 ,228,552 pounds of tobacco, at $ 16.59 per hundred pounds. Total sales this season to
January 1 st were 8 1,826,767 pounds, compared with 73,827,948 pounds of the 1928 crop sold during the
corresponding period a year ago. The tobacco sold in Virginia in December was of the following



6

types: flue-cured, 15 ,356,966 pounds, at $17.65 per hundred; fire-cured, 5,246,964 pounds, at $18.29 per
hundred; burley, 2,374,154 pounds, at $24.11 per hundred; and sun-cured, 1 ,127,262 pounds, at $14.04 per
hundred. The burley market at Abingdon opened December 1 st, and scales during December were the
largest on record for the month. Sales of fire-cured were the largest for any December since 1925,
and the price received for sun-cured tobacco last month was the highest December price in four years.
The quality of tobacco sold last month was better than in most years, the fire-cured crop being espe­
cially good. Among the individual markets, Danville led in sales last month with 7,756,022 pounds,
and South Boston was second with 3,557,977 pounds, both cities being flue-cured markets. Lynch­
burg led in fire-cured sales with 1 ,582,940 pounds, Farmville ranking second with 1 ,363,577 pounds. All
sun-cured tobacco was sold on the Richmond market, and Abingdon handled the Burley sales. South
Hill led the flue-cured markets in average price with $19.21 per hundred pounds, and Amelia led the
fire-cured markets with $20.35 Per hundred, but Amelia sold only 94,950 pounds.
________________________ WHOLESALE TRADE, DECEMBER 1929
Percentage increase in December 1929 sales, over sales in December 1928:
27 Groceries
10 D ry Goods
5 Shoes
15 Hardware
— 4.4
— 7.9
1.1
— 16.1
Percentage increase in December 1929 sales, over sales in November 1929:
— 8.5
— 28.9
— 50.6
— 14.2
Percentage increase in total sales during 1929, compared with sales in 1928:
— 3.0
— 5.9
— 1.5
— 4.6
Percentage increase in stock on Dec. 31, 1929, over stock on Dec. 31, 1928:
— 5.5(10*)
— 13.4(4*)
21.9(4*)
— 4.8(8*)
Percentage increase in stock on Dec. 31, 1929, over stock on Nov. 30, 1929:
— 11.3(10*)
— 4.4(4*)
20.3(4*)
— 4.9(8*)
Percentage of collections in December to accounts receivable on December 1, 1929:
62.6(17*)
39.9(7*0
40.7(4*)
35.2(12*)
— Denotes decreased percentage.

12 Drugs
— 12.4
—
—

7.0

.6

54. 7 ( 9 * )

* Number o f reporting firms.

Sixty-nine wholesale firms, representing five leading lines, sent reports to the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond on their December 1929 business. All lines showed lower sales during the month
than in November, most of the decreases being seasonal, but all of the five lines except shoes also
showed lower sales last month in comparison with sales in December a year ago, hardware and drugs
reporting declines of 16.1 per cent and 12.4 per cent, respectively. Total sales in the year 1929 were
lower in every line for which figures are available than sales in 1928, dry goods showing the greatest
decline with 5.9 per cent.
Stock figures are available for four of the five lines of trade reported upon, and three of them
show seasonal reductions in December in comparison with stocks on hand at the end of November.
At the end of 1929 stocks of groceries, dry goods and hardware were smaller than those on December
3 1 , 1928, but shoe stocks were materially larger on December 3 1 , 1929, than on either December 3 1 ,
1928, or November 30, 1929.
Collections were somewhat better in December 1929 than in November in all lines except hard­
ware, but were slower than in December 1928 in all lines except drugs, in which the percentage of
receivables collected during the month was exactly the same as in the previous December.
FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE

__ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _As Indicated By Reports from Thirty Representative Department Stores tor the Month of December 1929
Percentages increase in December 1929 sales, compared with sales in December 1928:
Baltimore
Washing ton
Other Cities
District
6.2
.4
— 4.6
1.8
Percentage increase in total sales during 1929, over total sales in 1928:
5.4
3.2
— 2.0
3.2
Percentages increase in December sales over December sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive:
20.6
16.9
2.2
15.7
Percentage increase in stock on hand December 31, 1929, over stock on December 31, 1928:
— 5.5
2.4
— 3.8
— 2.2
Percentage increase in stock on hand December 31, 1929, over stock on November 30, 1929:
— 18.2
— 20.4
— 20.8
— 19.6
Percentage o f sales in December 1929 to average stock carried during that month:
51.4
55.7
41.3
51.1
Percentage o f total sales during 1929 to average stock carried each month:
366.1
376.4
280.1
352.5
Percentage of collections in December to total accounts receivable on December 1st:
21.5
31.2
31.0
26.2
— Denotes decreased percentage.

Department store sales in the Fifth reserve district were 1.8 per cent larger in dollar amount in
December 1929 than in December 1928, and total sales during the year 1929 exceeded 1928 sales by an



7

average of 3.2 per cent, the percentages being based on reports furnished by thirty leading stores. The
district increase last month was chiefly due to a gain of 6.2 per cent in Baltimore stores, although
Washington stores also averaged a small increase of 4/ioths of 1 per cent. The stores in Other
Cities, many of which depend to a considerable degree upon rural trade, nearly all reported decreased
sales in December 1929, this group of stores averaging a decline of 4.6 per cent.
Average stocks decreased 19.6 per cent during December, and at the end of the year were 2.2 per
cent less than stocks on hand on December 3 1 , 1928. Stocks in the Washington stores were larger on
December 3 1 st than a year earlier, but Baltimore and the Other Cities stores reported smaller figures.
December 1929 sales average 51.1 per cent of stock carried during that month, and aggregate sales in
1929 amounted to 352.5 per cent of average monthly stocks carried during the year. This figure
shows a stock turnover of 3.525 times during the year 1929, a better record than the 3.347 rate in 1928.
Collections in Baltimore and Washington were slower in December 1929 than in the correspond­
ing month a year earlier, but collections in the Other Cities were better last month. The district aver­
age shows that 26.2 per cent of receivables outstanding on December 1 st were collected during the
month, compared with 28.9 per cent collected in December 1928.
(Compiled January 2 1, 1930)

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

Industrial activity declined further in December.
the money market continued easy.

There was little change in commodity prices and conditions in

PRODUCTION AND EMPLOYMENT.—Industrial production, as measured by the Federal Reserve Board’s in­
dex, which is adjusted for seasonal variati/ ns, declined by 6 per cent in December, following upon a decline of 9 per
cent for the preceding month. Nearly all industries reported larger than seasonal reductions in December, except the
food industries, which showed little change, and coal, in which output increased. The largest declines in December,
as in earlier months, were in automobiles and iron and steel. Production in the textile, shoe, lumber, and the nonferrous metals industries also decreased considerably. Stocks of cotton textiles, copper, zinc, and lumber increased in
December.
In the first three weeks in January, steel plants increased their operations somewhat from the low rate prevailing
at the holiday season, but were considerably less active than in January, 1928 or 1929. There were further decreases
in the output of copper and lumber, while production of crude petroleum increased.
Employment in factories in December declined more than the usual amount in the automobile, steel, textile, cloth­
ing, and lumber industries. Little change was reported for the food industries and car-repair shops, while at meat­
packing plants and in the paper and printing industries there was some increase in employment.
Building contract awards also declined further in December. Residential contracts continued to be in small volume
and there were large decreases in awards for commercial buildings and public works and utilities. During the first
half of January awards were larger on a daily average basis than in December.
DISTRIBUTION.—Freight-car loadings in December, as in the preceding month, showed more than the usual sea­
sonal decline. The decline occurred primarily in shipments of merchandise and of lumber products, while loadings of
coal and grain were larger than in November.
Sales at department stores in leading cities were about 3 per cent smaller than in December 1928, according to
reports to the Federal Reserve System. Decreases in sales were reported for ten Federal reserve districts, but there
was an increase of 2 per cent for the Richmond district and little change for the San Francisco district.
WHOLESALE PRICES.—During December wholesale prices of commodities fluctuated rather narrowly. Grain,
livestock, meat, and bituminous coal prices increased somewhat, while prices of hides and leather products, textiles,
petroleum, and pig iron declined. In the first half of January there was little further change in prices.
BANK CREDIT.—Member bank credit increased less than usual over the year-end and in January continued to re­
flect the liquidation which began early in November. On January 15, total loans and investments of member banks in
leading cities were $478,000,000 below the level of December 11, 1929. This decline occurred both at banks in New
York City and outside and was in “all other loans”, apparently reflecting a seasonal decrease in interbank loans together
with a decreased demand for credit by commercial borrowers. Investments and loans on securities increased slightly
during the period.
Reserve bank credit outstanding increased during the latter half of December in response to seasonal demands for
currency and gold exports, but declined in January as currency returned from circulation. Between the week ending
December 14 and the week ending January 18, there was a net decline of $277,000,000 in currency in circulation, and
also a decline of $37,000,000 in member bank reserve balances. Of the funds thus released $64,000,000 served to offset
a loss in the monetary gold stock of the country and $244,000,000 was used to retire reserve bank credit. Reserve bank
holdings of Government securities showed an increase of $90,000,000 for the period, acceptances showed little change,
while discounts for member banks declined by $347,000,000.
Money rates in the short-term open markets firmed somewhat over the year-end but eased early in January, and
throughout the first half of the month remained generally at the lowest levels since the spring of 1928. The discount
rate at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia was lowered on January 16 from 5 to 4>4 per cent, the rate pre­
vailing at six other Federal reserve banks.