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MONTHLY

REVIEW

B U SIN ESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

BY CALDWELL HARDY, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
Midsummer is usually dull in business circles in
comparison with the preceding spring months, and
this year June witnessed the normal slackening in
trade, but on the whole the developments of the
month were not unfavorable. June trade was not
more below that of May than is normal at this sea­
son. In comparison with June of last year, the
current month this year shows up well in practically
every industry for which information is available.
Reviewing briefly the important factors entering
into an analysis of current conditions, reports made
weekly by member banks to the Reserve Bank show
comparatively few changes during the past month.
Some increase is noticed in outstanding loans to cus­
tomers, and borrowings at the Reserve Bank are
slightly higher than they were last month, but on
the other hand the member banks’ investments have
risen, and demand deposits have increased. In com­
parison with June 1922, the condition of the report­
ing banks is much improved this year. Savings bank
deposits increased more in June than in any other
June in recent years. A moderate increase in loans
to members was made by the Federal Reserve Bank
during June and early July. Debits to individual ac­
count were considerably greater during the four
weeks ending July n th than during the preceding
four weeks, the increase being largely seasonal, but
the increase this year was 13.2% over debits in the
same cities during the corresponding four weeks of
1922. Business failures in the Fifth District were
33.6% fewer in number in June than in June last
year, but liabilities were greater this year. Employ­
ers have been able to secure labor to meet their press­
ing needs, except in some rural sections where la­
borers for farm work are insufficient, and there is no




JULY 31, 1923
need for any able-bodied person being unemployed.
Textile mills continue to find difficulty in securing
forward orders, but there have been very few can­
cellations of orders previously placed, and the Fifth
District mills have been, and still continue, running
full time on orders received in the spring. Mean­
while the textile authorities believe that the present
recession is temporary, and are not worried over
prospects. The growing cotton crop made consider­
able improvement during the last few days of June
and early July, due to more favorable weather for
development, and the prospects in Virginia and
North Carolina are far better than the national aver­
age. The outlook for this year’s tobacco crop is
disappointing, due to lack of moisture, but the fields
are clean and well cultivated, and it is quite possible
that a fair crop may be made if good seasons occur
during the balance of the year. The South Carolina
crop is being harvested, and promises a fair yield.
Other crops are spotted, being excellent in localities
where sufficient rain has fallen but poor in other
sections. On the whole, the average of all crops is
perhaps a little below normal. Building operations
have slowed down considerably from the record vol­
ume reported during the first four months of the
year, but most of the curtailment has been in the
erection of business buildings, residence construction
continuing in large volume. Retail trade as reflected
in department store sales was 14.7 % greater in June
this year than last, and was 6.5% greater than the
June average in 1920, 1921 and 1922. Wholesale
trade was reported as good as the season justified,
and exceeded the volume of business reported in
June 1922 in every line reported upon. Combined
figures for the first half of 1923 show greatly in­
creased sales in all wholesale lines over sales during
the first have of 1922, the increases ranging from
13.7 % for groceries to 76.7% for furniture. Col­
lections showed a tendency during June to slow up
somewhat, but the slowness was not particularly
noticeable, and is seasonal.

The National Summary will be found on pages 10 and 11.

CONDITION OF SEVENTY-SEVEN REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES.
July 11, 1923

ITEMS
1. Total Loans and Discounts (including
all rediscounts) ............................... $
2. Total Investments in Bonds and Securi­
ties ....................................................
3. Total Loans and Investments..................
4. Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve
Bank..................................................
5. Cash in Vaults..........................................
6. Demand Deposits....................................
7. Time Deposits..........................................
8. Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank....

456,347,000

June 13, 1923
$

455,621,000

133.262.000
589.609.000
33.873.000
14.697.000
330.290.000
152.994.000
37.744.000

July 12, 1922
$

415,873,000*

131.103.000
586.724.000

(

118.624.000
534.497.000

33.779.000
13,910,000
324.356.000
154.878.000
35.993.000

35.057.000
13.850.000
327.463.000
144.005.000
10.103.000

♦Does not include Rediscounts.

Weekly condition reports of seventy-seven member banks in thirteen of the Fifth District’s leading
cities show few changes of importance during the month between June 13 and July 1 1 , 1923. The financing
of agricultural operations for this season having been arranged earlier in the spring, there has of late been
only the customary mercantile demands for money, and consequently the volume of outstanding Loans and
Discounts fluctuated little, the figures given in the table above showing an increase of only $726,000 during
the month under review. Item 2, Total Investments in Bonds and Securities, increased $2,159,000 between
June 13th and Ju ly n th ; Item 4, Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank, gained $94,000; Item 5, Cash
in Vaults, gained $787,000; and Item 6, Demand Deposits, increased $5,934,000. Item 7, Time Deposits,
shows a decline of $1,884,000 during the month, and the reporting banks increased their rediscounts with the
Reserve Bank by $1,751,000. The changes enumerated are chiefly daily fluctuations, the only changes of
importance being the gains in investments and demand deposits, and the decrease in time deposits.
Comparing the July n , 1923 figures with those reported a year ago, some substantial changes in certain
items are noted. The figures given under Item 1, Total Loans and Discounts, are not comparable because
the amount reported last year under that head was exclusive of rediscounts, but Item 2, Total Investments
in Bonds and Securities, shows a gain during the year of $14,638,000. Item 5, Cash in Vaults, increased
$847,000, and Item 6, Demand Deposits, gained $2,827,000, both relatively slight changes, but Item 7, Time
Deposits, shows a material gain of $8,989,000, and Item 8, Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank, increased
$27,641,000, the amount borrowed on July n th showing an increase of 273.6% over the amount borrowed
from the Reserve Bank a year ago, on July 12, 1922. A decrease of $1,184,000 is shown in Item 4, Reserve
Balance with Federal Reserve Bank, but this decrease is little more than a daily fluctuation.

SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS
The regular monthly reports from fifteen mutual savings banks in Baltimore show that the steady in­
crease in deposits which has been going on since the summer of 1920 continued during June, total deposits in
the fifteen institutions at the end of that month being $494,749 more than deposits at the end of May 1923
and $10,182,577 more than deposits on June 30, 1922. The increase during June in comparison with May of
this year was greater than the June increase during 1920, 1921 or 1922, perhaps indicating that a larger num­
ber of people are now able to finance vacation expenses and semi-annual bills out of current income without
the necessity of drawing on savings. Total deposits in the fifteen reporting banks at the end of June 1923
amounted to $137,357,514, compared with aggregate deposits of $127,174,937 on June 30, 1922, $123,707,759
on June 30, 1921, and $120,349,929 on June 30, 1920. Only one of the reporting institutions, and that a
small one, shows lower deposits this year than last. The total deposits in the fifteen banks on June 30th this
year represent an increase of 14.1 % over deposits on June 30, 1920, and a gain of 8.0% within the past year.

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS
A comparison of the statements of condition of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as of June 13
and July 18, 1923, show a gradual expansion in credit extended to member banks during the month. Between
the two dates, Cash Reserves declined from $77,870,111.30 to $74,340,747.29; Member Bank Reserve Deposits
declined from $58,430,229.67 to $58,123,638.03; and the volume of Federal Reserve Notes in Actual Circu­
lation declined from $78,222,615 to $78,124,250. Total Bills on Hand, however, rose from $66,439,206.04 to
$68,949,410.48. The ratio of Total Reserves to Deposit and Federal Reserve Note Liabilities combined
declined from 56.70% on June 13th to 54.03% on July 18th.
A t the close of business Ju ly 19, 1922, the Cash Reserves held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond amounted to $10 5 ,9 2 1,3 4 1.13 ; Total Bills on Hand amounted to $38,439,101.32; Federal Reserve Notes
in Actual Circulation totaled $82,569,057; and Member Bank Reserve Deposits amounted to $57,708,326.10.
The reserve ratio on July 19, 1922 was 7 6 .13% . During June and Ju ly last year credits contracted some­
what, whereas expansion occurred during the corresponding period this year, as mentioned in the preced­
ing paragraph.




2

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT IN LEADING TRADE CENTERS
TOTAL DEBITS FOR THE FOUR WEEKS ENDING
CITIES

July 11, 1923

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

$

Totals for 23 cities................................

$

June 13, 1923

19,822,000
376.461.000
29.338.000
35.736.000
40.945.000
21.003.000
8.912.000
8.680.000
16.456.000
20.062.000
19.164.000
11.127.000
24.493.000
21.707.000
7,044,000
62.638.000
28.753.000
119.064.000
22.762.000
10.567.000
194.019.000
17.907.000
30.857.000

$

1,147,517,000

$

July 12, 1922

18,347,000
344.200.000
25.269.000
36.158.000
35.331.000
19.802.000
8.057.000
7.167.000
16.227.000
17.837.000
18.922.000
9.909.000
25.197.000
17.731.000
6.811.000
62.257.000
27.750.000
107.666.000
22.585.000
8,889,000
193.896.000
16.794.000
25.542.000

$

1,072,344,000

$

16,043,000
360.268.000
22.908.000
29.752.000
28.973.000
19.252.000
8.177.000
6.907.000
17.052.000
13.790.000
13,916,00a

8.185.000
19.653.000
18.187.000
7.703.000
62.509.000
15,000,000
99.186.000
21.099.000
8.425.000
175.246.000
17.345.000
24.492.000
1,014,068,000

In the accompanying table, shown above, we give in tabular form figures showing the total of all debits
to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the banks of twenty-three of the chief trade centers of the
Fifth District, totals for the four weeks ending July n , 1923 and June 13, 1923 being included. In addition
to the 1923 statistics, we present figures for the four weeks ending July 12, 1922 for comparison with this
year’s totals. Durham, N. C., is included this month in the 1922 figures for the first time.
Debits in the twenty-three reporting cities aggregated $1,147,517,000 during the four weeks ending
Ju ly 1 1 , 1923, compared with a total of $1,072,344,000 during the four weeks ending June 13, 1923, an in­
crease during the more recent period of $75,173,000, or 7.0% . All of the reporting centers show increases
except two cities in West Virginia. The increase during the period ending July n th in comparison with the
preceding four weeks is seasonal, and is caused by the large volume of end-of-quarter and semi-annual pay­
ments that fall due on Ju ly 1st.
The total reported by the twenty-three cities for the four weeks ending July n , 1923 is considerably
larger than the total reported for the corresponding period a year ago, ending July 12, 1922, only two of the
cities failing to show larger figures this year. Durham, N. C. and Newport News, Va. report small decreases
under the 1922 totals reported from those cities. The total of all debits during the period ending July n th
this year was $1,147,517,000, as previously mentioned, compared with $1,014,068,000 reported by the same
cities for the corresponding four weeks last year, an increase this year of $133,449,000, or 13 .2 % . This sub­
stantial increase clearly reflects the greater volume of business being done this year in comparison with the
corresponding season in 1922.

BUSINESS FAILURES IN THE TWELVE FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICTS
JUNE, 1923 AND 1922.
The usual figures on business failures in the twelve Federal Reserve Districts are included in the table
herewith, the figures being furnished each month by Dun’s Review. These statistics show both the number
of insolvencies and the total of liabilities involved for June 1923 in comparison with June 1922, each Reserve
District being shown individually.
For the country as a whole, the table shows that June 1923 witnessed 1,358 bankruptcies, with total
liabilities aggregating $28,678,276, in comparison with 1,740 bankruptcies reported in June 1922, with liabili­
ties of $38,242,450, a decrease of 22.0% in the number of failures and a decline of 25.0% in the aggregate
of liabilities involved. The New York and Philadelphia Districts were the only ones reporting a larger
number of failures in June 1923 than in June 1922, but increased liabilities were reported for the current
month by the New York, Richmond, St. Louis and Minneapolis Districts. Both the number of failures and
the total of liabilities involved were slower in June than in May of this year.




3

In the Fifth District, June 1923 shows a total of 91 failures in comparison with 137 failures reported in
June 1922, a decline this year of 33.6 % , but in the aggregate of liabilities involved June 1923 figures totaled
$3,488,755 compared with $2,183,739 reported for June 1922, an increase during the current month of
59.8% . In the number of insolvencies, the decrease reported for the Fifth District is greater than the decrease
reported for the nation, but in the total of liabilities the showing of this District is next to the poorest
among the twelve Districts. In both number of failures and total of liabilities involved, howrever, the record
of the Fifth District in June is better than the May record.
Per Cent of
Increase or
Decrease

1923

1922

Per Cent
Increase or
Decrease

Boston, First....................................
New York, Second............................
Philadelphia Third..........................
Cleveland, Fourth.............................
Richmond, Fifth................................
Atlanta, Sixth...................................
Chicago, Seventh..............................
St. Louis, Eighth...............................
Minneapolis, Ninth...........................
Kansas City, Tenth..........................
Dallas, Eleventh...............................
San Francisco, Twelfth....................

104
288
?60
105
91
91
159
68
76
63
97
156

150
273
57
136
137
147
230
125
79
86
114
206

—30.7
5.5
5.3
—22.8
—33.6
—38.1
—30.9
—45.6
— 3.8
—26.7
—14.9
—24.3

$ 1,261,171
8,276,970
1,074,915
2,466,216
3,488,755
1,294,943
2,854,809
2,450,239
1,390,396
1,274,881
1,293,018
1,551,963

$ 4,888,902
7,642,247
1,573,360
3,521,377
2,183,739
2,041,013
6,369,831
1,525,233
1,307,894
2,149,987
2,481,679
2,557,188

— 74.2
8.3
— 31.7
— 30.0
59.8
— 36.6
— 55.2
60.6
6.3
— 40.7
— 47.9
— 39.3

Totals........................................

1,358

1,740

—22.0%

$ 28,673,276

$ 38,242,450

— 25.0%

Number
City and District

Liabilities
1923

1922

The average liability per failure in June 1923 was $38,338 in the Fifth District and $ 2 1,118 in the nation
as a whole, compared with average liabilities in June 1922 of $15,940 in the Fifth District and $21,978 in
the nation.

LABOR-—The Public Employment Bureau of the city of Richmond reports that June was the most
active month in the history of the Bureau, a larger number of persons having been placed in positions than
during any previous month. The monthly Employment Bulletin issued by the Bureau referred to says that
during June there were 1,028 positions open for men and 1,147 men registered for employment. A surplus
of workers appears to exist in clerical and semi-skilled lines, and orders for male hospital and domestic work­
ers can be filled, but there is a shortage in the ranks of skilled workers and common labor. The report
states, however, that the calls received for common laborers during the last ten days of the month indicate
that the peak of the labor shortage has been reached and is now on the downward trend. There is a shortage
of women workers for all kinds of domestic service and for factory operators.
Labor agents continue recruiting labor for steel plants and other industries in the North, and compe­
tition among them is said to be very keen. The migration of colored laborers from Southern states still con­
tinues, and lumber plants, road and street work, and farming have all suffered from the loss of needed work­
ers. In numerous cases farmers have been forced to restrict the acreage planted, especially in the tobacco
sections of Virginia, because of the scarcity of labor, and if the movement continues much longer some of
the acreage actually planted will doubtless be abandoned before the crops are gathered. The early movement
of laborers from the farms to Northern industrial centers was made up largely of colored men, but railroad
agents report that many of the men who went North several months ago are beginning to send for their
wives and children, and this will hurt the cotton farmers later in the year, since women and half grown children
are usually about as efficient cotton pickers as men.
COAL— In its report under date of July 7, 1923, the United States Department of the Interior, through
the Geological Survey, released the following on the production of bituminous coal during the month of June:
“ Preliminary estimates based on railroad shipments, place the output of soft coal in June at 45,644,000
net tons, a decrease of 432,000 tons when compared with the output in May. One factor in the decline was
the lesser number of working days in June.
The test of the adequacy of production to meet requirements is the condition of consumers’ stocks. A
recent canvass of commercial consumers of coal showed that stocks on June 1, 1923 totaled approximately
41,000,000 net tons against 36,000,000 tons on March 1. This increase of 5,000,000 tons during the three
months’ period, March 1 to June 1, was possibly largely because of a considerable decrease in the rate of
consumption. If there was no considerable increase in consumption during June, it seems probable that
stocks on July 1 were larger than on June 1.
Production of bituminous coal during the first 154 working days of 1923 was 273,423,000 net tons. Dur­
ing the corresponding periods of the six years preceding it was as follows:
Years of Activity
Years of Depression
1 9 1 7 ........................... 274,986,000 net tons
19 19 ........................... 219,050,000 net tons




4

19 *8 ........................... 283,057,000 net tons
1920........................... 263,599,000 net tons

1 9 2 1 ........................... 200,896,000 net tons
19 22........................... 187,850,000 net tons

Thus it is seen from the viewpoint of soft coal production in 1923 stands slightly ahead of the average
for the three years of industrial activity and 35 per cent ahead of that for the three years of depression.”
In its Ju ly 14th report, the Geological Survey carried the following on the production of anthracite
during June:
“ Estimates based on revised reports of shipments place the total anthracite output in June at 8,665,000
net tons. Comparison with the output in the corresponding month of the nine years preceding shows that in
June 19 17 and 1918 only was this figure exceeded. During those years the production of coal was stimu­
lated by the demands of war-time activities. The cumulative production for the first six months of the
present calendar year stands at 51,169,000 net tons, a new high record for such period, and 14 per cent greater
than the average for the corresponding periods of the eight years 1914 to 19 2 1.”
The retail coal situation remains unchanged from recent months. Coal is available in practically any
desired quantity, but. prices to ultimate consumers remain unchanged from those announced about the first
of April. At that time retail prices were reduced about $1.50 a ton under the high prices of the winter,
and some attempts have been made by advertising to persuade householders to stock up their bins and base­
ments during the summer months, but the price reductions were so nominal that it is doubtful if very much
stocking for next fall has been done.

TEXTILES— Conditions in the textile industry of the Fifth District have changed very little since our
last month’s Review was written. The trade continues reluctant in placing forward orders, but the mills
are operating full time on orders received during the first three months of the year, and most of them have
sufficient orders in hand to keep them running until the new cotton crop is far enough advanced to enable ex­
perts to judge the year’s production with fair accuracy. The Southern mills have thus far curtailed operations
very little, and no material reduction in operations appears to be contemplated. Labor for textile work is
available as desired in the cotton manufacturing states of the Fifth District, and no labor disturbances have
arisen during recent months, though several mills have made voluntary wage advances as profits justified the
increase. There has been much talk recently of efforts of Northern capitalists to buy one of the largest
textile mill groups in the Fifth District, but as yet no final action has been taken in the matter.
During June cotton consumption totaled 109,668 bales in North Carolina, 86,206 bales in South Carolina,
and 9,611 bales in Virginia, a total for the three textile manufacturing states of the Fifth District of 205,485
bales. This number represents a decrease of 25,529 bales under the consumption in the same states during
May of this year, but May contained about a day and a half more working time than June. In comparison
with total consumption in the cotton growing states and in the nation, the 205,485 bales consumed in the
Fifth District represent 58.5% of the former and 37.9% of the latter. Total consumption in the cotton
growing states, amounting to 350,967 bales, represented 64.7 % of the national consumption of 542,166 bales.

COTTON— In our June 30th Review, we traced the course of spot cotton prices in the Carolinas down
through the week ending June 16th, at which time the market stood at 27.76 cents per pound for middling
short staple. Since that date the market has been exceedingly nervous, and has fluctuated widely nearly
every day. The world's visible supply of cotton is small, and all eyes are focused on the growing crop.
Every rumor of rain or dry weather affects the daily quotations, but reports during the past month have
seemed rather favorable for a larger crop than was gathered last year, and the trend of prices has been
downward. During the week ending June 23rd the average paid in the Carolinas was 27.06 cents per pound,
and the average for the week ending June 30th showed no change, the price again being 27.06 cents. The
first week in July, however, witnessed a fall in the average prcie to 26.23 cents per pound, partly perhaps
as a result of the acreage report issued during the week by the Department of Agriculture. During the
week ending July 14th the market reacted slightly from the fall of the previous week, and the average price
paid reached 26.43 cents.
On July 2nd the Department of Agriculture issued its monthly report on the condition of the grow­
ing cotton crop, placing the condition on June 25th at 69.9% of normal, in comparison with a ten year aver
age of 76.0% of normal on the corresponding date, but to counterbalance this condition report the Depart­
ment stated that the acreage for this year amounted to 38,287,000 acres, the largest acreage on record. The
acreage and condition of the new crop in Virginia was estimated at 83,000 acres and 90% of normal; the
estimates given for North Carolina were 1,704,000 acres and 80% ; and the figures for South Carolina were
2,049,000 acres and 64% . The percentage condition of the crop in Virginia and North Carolina gained dur­
ing June, but the condition in South Carolina remained unchanged from the previous month. In view of the
difficulty many farmers have had in securing labor for planting during the spring, and for other reasons,
many people in close touch with the cotton growing industry express the opinion that the estimate of acreage
planted this year is too high. It is worth while to call attention again to the danger of attaching too much
importance to acreage figures, no matter how accurate they may be. With the boll weevil present in all the




5

cotton growing states except Virginia and with many farmers strangely slow in adopting scientific measures
of weevil control, it is easily possible that a large acreage might actually tend to reduce the yield by pre­
venting intensive and careful cultivation of the new crop.
The cotton consumption report covering June 1923, issued on Ju ly 14th by the Census Bureau, showed a
decline under the May figures but an increase over the June 1922 consumption. Total consumption during
June 1923 was 542,166 bales, compared with 620,965 bales consumed in May 1923 and 509,218 bales used
in June 1922. Cotton on hand in consuming establishments on June 30th aggregated 1,345,066 bales com­
pared with 1,330,903 bales on hand June 30, 1922, but cotton in public storage and at compresses June 30th
totaled only 1,232,888 bales compared with 1,953,478 bales stored on June 30th last year. Imports of cotton
during June totaled 13,367 bales, while 214,851 bales were exported.
A s the condition reports quoted above show, the cotton crop in Virginia and North Carolina is consider­
ably above the national average, but South Carolina’s crop is below. The Virginia crop is excellent, with
good stands, and the crop is making satisfactory progress. In North Carolina the month of June was very
favorable for cotton development, sufficient rains having fallen to furnish the necessary moisture, and the
weevil has as yet done very little damage. The weevil is present in the southern cotton counties in con­
siderable numbers, but the farmers are attempting to control the pest. In South Carolina the crop held its
own during June, the estimate of condition at the end of that month being the same as at the end of May.
The weevil is present in large numbers over the entire state, and is very active in the unpoisoned fields. In
all of the cotton growing areas of the Fifth District the fields are clean and well cultivated, and favorable
weather would enable the crop to make rapid progress.

TOBACCO— In Maryland the tobacco acreage is smaller than last year, and the condition of the crop
on July 1st was 15 % below the July 1, 1922 condition. June weather was hot and dry, and the plants made
little progress. The outlook for the crop in Virginia is very discouraging. Plants were scarce, the season
at transplanting time was so dry that many farmers had to transplant with water, and the drought since the
fields were set has prevented growth, and in many cases killed the plants before they took root. The acreage
is about 20% less than last year, and the expected yield is estimated 38% below the 1922 crop. Conditions
are best in the Burley district and poorest in the Bright district. The North Carolina crop has been in­
jured by dry weather and the stands are irregular. The growth is stocky and the leaves close together. The
fields have a good color in the southern half of the state, but are yellowish, small and sickly in the main,
or old belt, area, where the acreage has been slightly reduced. The crop in South Carolina is in fair condition,
and harvesting has begun. On Ju ly 17th the Tobacco Growers Co-operative Association opened their ware­
houses in South Carolina for the receipt of the new crop, but the auction houses will not open until around
the first of August.
Tobacco manufacturers report a continuation of satisfactory business from both domestic and export
sources. Supplies needed in the manufacture of tobacco products are quoted at prices somewhat lower than
prices prevailing a few months ago, and wholesale prices of cigars and cigarettes have recently declined in
keeping. Labor has been available in sufficient quantity to meet demands of manufacturers and factories are
quite generally operating with full forces.

AGRICULTURAL NOTES— In Maryland the weather during June was for the most part hot and
dry. The harvesting of wheat and rye continued in full swing, and threshing was in progress. Good yields
are reported. Oats are ripening, but the crop will be short as a result of drought. The hay crop is very
short, clover hay being especially poor. The fruit crop has suffered keenly from dry, hot weather, but some
orchardists report good prospects. The corn crop is in good to excellent condition, but the acreage is smaller
than in 1922.
Dry weather retarded most crops in Virginia during June. The wheat yield will be greater than had
been expected as the heads are well filled, and an average production is now estimated. The wheat con­
dition on Ju ly 1st was 86% of normal, and indicated a crop of 10,450,000 bushels, compared with 10,375,000
bushels last year. The corn acreage in Virginia is estimated at 1,847,000 acres, which is 3 % less than in
1922. The scarcity of farm labor and the unfavorable season are the principal causes for this decrease. The
condition of the crop is good in the southwest and in a few eastern counties, but generally growth is backward.
Fields are unusually clean, however, and the crop will make rapid improvement if favorable seasons come. The
July 1st condition of 8 1% indicates a production of 46,378,000 bushels compared with 53,312,000 bushels last
year. The average farm price on Ju ly 1st was $1.03 per bushel as compared with $.8 5 last year. The white
potato acreage is 152,000 acres, or 2% less than last year. Both the commercial and farm acreages have
been reduced. Unfavorable weather caused the low July 1st condition of 68% , indicating a production of
13.230.000 bushels as compared with 16,585,000 bushels last year, but prices are better this year. The fore­
cast for apples is slightly less than last month owing to the heavy drop during the first part of June. The
quality of fruit promises to be unusually good. The Ju ly 1st condition of 41 % indicates a total crop of
9.020.000 bushels compared with 8,360,000 bushels in 1922. The commercial crop is now estimated to be
1.654.000 barrels. Prospects for peaches and pears are rather poor, these fruits having been more seri­




6

ously damaged by frosts last spring. Virginia’s peanut acreage is 129,000, or 1 % less than last year. The
crop is somewhat late, but the stand is good, and fields are well cultivated and free from grass. Present con­
ditions indicate a probable yield of approximately 121,905,000 pounds, compared with 78,000,000 last year
and 125,460,000 pounds in 1920.
North Carolina crops have experienced very dry conditions which are showing most effect along the
northern border. Crops are remarkably clean as a result of excessive drought and frequent cultivation.
Corn is late, small, and in some sections badly stunted. Many sections show curled blades. In the southern
half of the state the crop is looking fine. The North Carolina wheat crop is the best for several years. The
harvesting season was favorable for saving the grain, and it is remarkably well cured and dry. Apples are
short and seriously damaged by insects, but peaches in the Sand Hill area will probably yield better than was
expected unless the dry weather continues. Truck is in poor condition, especially in the Northern Coastal
Belt where rain is greatly needed. Melons over the whole area are suffering severely from dry weather.
South Carolina grain crops are good. Early corn is poor, and intermediate plantings only fair. In
this state a large percent of the acreage is late. Hay crops and pastures are excellent. Truck crops have
been good this year, and melons are now being shipped at profitable prices.

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF JUNE, 1923 AND 1922.
Permits Issued
New Construction
CITIES
0
z

New

Repairs

1923 1922

MR L N
AYA D
1 Baltimore............
2 Cumberland........
3 Frederick.............
V G IA
IR IN
4 Lynchburg...........
5 Norfolk................
6 Richmond............
7 Roanoke..............
WS V G IA
E T IR IN
8 Bluefield..............
9 Charleston...........
10 Clarksburg...........
11 Huntington..........
12 Parkersburg........
N R HC R L A
O T A O IN
13 Asheville..............
14 Charlotte..............
15 Durham...............
16 Greensboro..........
17 High Point..........
18 Wilmington..........
19 Winston-Salem....
S UHC R L A
O T A O IN
20 Charleston...........
21 Columbia.............
22 Greenville............
23 Spartanburg........
D T O C L MIA
IS . F O U B
24 Washington.........

Alterations

1923

1922

1922

1923

1923

1922

Cent
Increase or Perof
Decrease Increase
Total
or
Valuation Decrease
0
Z

390
43
8

564 1,193 1,481 $ 2,019,240 $ 1,621,000
33
12
16
291,753
131,341
6
8
9
35,400
143,150

18
117
139
80

20
127
166
121

30
83
91
49

43
32
97
52

18,759
786,356
905,976
124,080

166,400
544,337
1,592,066
470,275

27,116
145,065
118,485
39,065

25,797
58,071
211,565
34,005

— 146,322 — 76.1
329,013
54.6
— 779,170 — 43.2
— 341,135 — 67.6

4
5
6
7

13
101
47
117
*20

42
83
22
103

3
36
39
41
* 5

15
25
24
26

30,975
273,895
111,765
215,790
175,000

240,593
388,058
33,675
252,594
100,000

1,880
45,517
15,028
20,725
75,000

9,885
21,860
17,390
10,475
25,000

— 217,623 — 86.9
— 90,506 — 22.1
75,728 148.3
— 26,554 — 10.1
125,000 100.1

8
9
10
11
12

39
68
27
63
47
13
74

34
28
32
43
32
17
60

59
12
6
22
14
2
70

25
15
5
19
6
0
85

614,422
311,100
120,225
255,649
89,465
67,000
285,100

249,830
482,675
100,550
2,332,980
304,250
77,500
245,737

114,243
27,300
7,850
6,270
15,900
5,000
31,607

8,732
73,275
4,875
7,015
2,050
0
29,015

470,103
— 217,550
22,650
—2,078,076
— 200,935
—
5,500
41,955

181.8
— 39.1
21.5
— 88.8
— 65.6
— 7.1
15.3

13
14
15
16
17
18
19

8
45
26
27

26
41
24
27

16
80
21
24

29
69
18
34

9,250
117,770
85,415
37,440

215,911
100,375
58,175
71,415

40,274
13,146
29,275
6,772

11,165
18,285
113,050
9,640

— 177,552 — 78.2
12,256
10.3
— 56,535 — 33.0
— 36,843 — 45.5

20
21
22
23

358

350

311

705

3,544,841

4,987,337

409,829

923,448

—1,956,115 — 33.1

24

Totals........ 1,868 2,004 2,220 2,829 $10,526,666 $14,910,224

$1,899,782

♦Not included in totals.

$ 693,900
6,785
3,750

497,740
$ 594,400 $
22.5% 1
149,882 100.8
2
17,315
14,100 — 118,100 — 75.1
3

$2,240,413 $-4,724,189 — 27.5%

— Denotes decrease this year.

Building permit statistics from twenty-four of the leading cities in the Fifth District show 1,868 permits
issued for new construction during June 1923, with estimated valuation of $10,526,666, compared with 2,004
permits for new work issued in June 1922, with estimated valuation of $14,910,224. Alteration and repair
permits totaled 2,220 in June of this year, with valuation figures of $1,899,782, compared with 2,829 per­
mits for similar work in June last year, with a valuation of $2,240,413. Combined valuation of both new
work and alterations or repairs amounted to $12,426,448 in June 1923 compared with a total of $17,150,627
in June 1922, a decrease this year of 27.5% . In permits issued for new construction, there was a decline of
29.4% in estimated valuation during June of this year in comparison with the valuation in June 1922, but
the decline in the number of permits issued was only 6.8% , which appears to indicate that the decrease in




7

building activity which has developed during the past three months applies more to large projects than to resi­
dence building. The detailed reports from building inspectors bear out this supposition.
During the six months from January ist through June 30th, construction work this year far exceeded
the volume of work undertaken during the first half of 1922. The number of permits for new work issued
in the twenty-four reporting cities during the first half of 1922 totaled 12,504, with estimated valuation of
$81,712,798, compared with 10,156 permits for new work issued in the same cities during the first half of
1922, with estimated valuation of $62,822,160. The first four months of the year 1923 witnessed a greater
percentage gain over 1922 than is shown in the above figures, since the figures for May and June of this
year fell under those for the corresponding months last year. The crest of the building activity was reached
in April this year, when 3,012 permits were issued, with estimated valuation of $23,549,759. In 1922 the
high point of the year’s construction record was not reached until May, when 2,475 permits were issued for
new work, estimated to cost $12,548,712.

WHOLESALE TRADE
Percentage Increase (or Decrease) in Net Sales During June, 1923, as Compared With May.9 1923
and June, 1922.
Groceries

Dry Goods

Number of reporting firms in each line...........

46

15

Net sales (selling price) during June, 1923,
compared with May, 1923...........................

— 2.7

8.8

—25.8

—11.7

1.5

— 3.4

Net sales (selling price) during June, 1923,
compared with June, 1922............................

10.9

14.7

15.9

18.9

76.4

12.1

Shoes
18

Hardware

Furniture

Drugs

17

7

14

—Denotes decrease.

The regular monthly reports from 11 7 wholesale firms show that June 1923 business, measured in dol­
lars, was considerably ahead of the June 1922 business in every line reported upon, the increases shown in
the accompanying table ranging from a gain of 10.9% in grocery sales to 76.4% in furniture lines. In
comparison with May 1923 business, however, four of the six reporting lines registered declines in June, but
most of the decreases were seasonal. June is naturally a between-seasons month, the retailers not entering
the markets to any considerable extent until later in the summer.
We have totaled sales by the reporting wholesale firms during the first six months of 1923 and 1922, and
calculated the increases shown this year, all reporting lines showing gains. Grocery sales during the first six
months of 1923 were 13.7 % larger than during the first half of 1922, measured by dollars. Dry goods
jobbers gained 3 2 .1% this year, shoe jobbers increased their business 25.5 % , hardware jobbers sold 32.3 %
more than in 1922, furniture manufacturers increased their business 76.7% , and drug wholesalers gained
14 .5% .
The usual midsummer dullness affected collections during June, a distinct but not serious slowness being
reported. One hundred and sixteen firms classified their collections in June as Good, Fair, Slow or Poor,
and of these 86.3% reported collections either Good or Fair compared with 9 1.5% so reporting in May. We
give herewith the classifications made by the 116 firms for June, together with the classifications made during
the earlier months this year and for June of last year:
Lines Sold
G roceries.......................................................................
Dry Goods ...................................................................
S h o e s..............................................................................
Hardware ...................................................................
Fu rn itu re......................................................................




Good
7
• 3
1
3
2
• 5
, 21
, 28
. 28
25
■ 25
. 29
. 14

Collections Reported A s
Fair
Poor
Slow
0
4
33
1
2
9
0
14
4
12
2
0
1
0
4
0
1
8
1
80
14
0
10
79
82
1
8
12
0
83
2
81
9
0
81
9
I
79
15

Total
44
15
19
17
7
14
116
11 7
119
120
11 7
119
109

FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE
As Indicated by Reports from Twenty-seven Department Stores in the Fifth Reserve District
for the first Six Months of 1923
Percentage of increase (or decrease) in net sales during the month named, 1923, over same month last year:

January
Baltimore.................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington... ..........................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average.............................

14.8
29.1
4.8
15.7

12.2

February
7.1
15.7

— 1.2
11.9
4.8

March

April

May

June

28.9
32.9
14.5
37.7
24.5

—4.6
12.5
—4.2
2.9

7.0
16.4
11.4
16.5

12.4
24.2

—2.1

10.6

12.1
24.7
14.7

Percentage o f increase (or decrease) in net sales from January 1st, through month named, 1923, over net sales
during same period last year:

January
Baltimore.................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington..............................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average............................

14.8
29.1
4.8
15.7

12.2

February
11.1
22.4
1.7
13.8
8.5

March

April

17.9
26.7

10.9

6.6
23.2
14.7

22.6

May
10.0
21.1

3.5
16.9
9.7

June

5.3
16.8
9.9

10.4
21.7
6.5
18.3

10.8

Percentage of increase (or decrease) in net sales during the month named, 1923, over average sales during the
corresponding months of 1920, 1921 and 1922:

January

Baltimore ................................................
Richmond................................................
Washington...............................................
Other Cities.............................................
District Average.............................

February

— 2.7
7.3
— 2.9

— 2.9
9.9
— 6.5
— 1.5
— 2.5

— 0.8
— 1.4

March

April

May

June

7.0
23.0

— 5.2
12.3

0.9
18.3

5.3
19.6

— 8.0

10.6

2.8

— 4.3
— 4.1

6.4
6.3

8.5
6.5

1.8
12.2
7.8

Percentage of increase (or decrease) in stocks at close of month named, 1923, over stocks at same date
last year:

Baltimore.................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington...............................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average.............................

January
2.6

February

7.0

9.2
9.6

8.1

6.1

1.4
4.8

7.1
7.8

March

April

May

9.8
13.2
6.9
6.3
8.5

11.4
17.0

11.9
18.3
9.5
10.9
11.4

10.1
11.4

10.1

June
10.1
24.8
7.3
9.4

10.1

Percentage o f increase (o r decrease) in stocks at close of the month named, 1923, over stocks at close o f preceding month this year:

January
Baltimore .................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington...............................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average.............................

March

April

May

— 3.4
— 7.0

February
13.0
18.7

10.4

—0.4

—3.9

8.2

10.0

— 0.5
— 3.1

13.3
12.4

8.3
7.4
9.0

1.1
2.1

—2.8

— 2.8

5.5
1.5

—4.4
—2.5
—3.8

June
— 6.2
—
—
—
—

0.9
5.7
5.2
5.4

Percentage of average stocks at close of each month since January 1st, to average monthly net sales during
the same period:

January
Baltimore.................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington ..............................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average.............................

381.9
356.0
451.5
518.8
419.8

February
437.9
413.0
471.0
583.6
464.1

March

April

May

June

404.8
372.1
434.2
514.5
425.1

404.6
373.3
438.3
517.9
427.0

398.0
368.0
420.1
500.9
415.4

388.0
358.1
404.7
485.9
402.8

Percentage of outstanding orders at the end of each month named, 1923, to total purchases of merchandise
during 1922:

Baltimore.................................................
Richmond.................................................
Washington ..............................................
Other Cities..............................................
District Average.............................

January
8.2
12.5
8.7

10.0
9.2

February
10.1

March
8.0
8.8

April
6.6
8.1

7.8
10.4
9.0

7.0
9.2
7.7

5.3
9.7
6.4

9.9

May

June

7.4
5.6
5.7

9.5
7.6
7.2
11.7
8.4

11.0
6.7

—Denotes decrease-

11 has been our custom during the past three years to publish retail trade averages in our July and
January Reviews for the first and second half year periods, in addition to the regular monthly figures pub­
lished in other issues. We do this in order that our readers may have percentages for six months before
them in convenient form for study. In accordance with that custom, we present herewith complete figures
from twenty-seven identical stores for the first six months of this year. The most striking figures in the
six months’ record are those showing sales in the Miscellaneous Cities. The slump that accompanied the
general depression during 1921 and part of 1922 hit the stores located in the smaller cities much harder than
it hit the large city establishments, because of the importance of rural trade to the country stores, but the




9

splendid gains reported during the first half of this year in comparison with last year indicate that there has
been a great improvement of conditions in the rural districts.
Reviewing the averages for June, the only month not previously reported upon, a substantial increase
in sales over sales in June 1922 is noticed, the gain amounting to 14.7% for the District, the group of Mis­
cellaneous Cities leading with an increase of 24.7% . Cumulative sales from January 1st through June 30th
this year show an increase of 10 .8% , and sales during June 1923 were 6.5 % greater than average sales during
June of the three years 1920, 1921 and 1922. The reporting stores were carrying stocks 10 .1% more valu­
able, at selling price, at the end of June this year than a year ago, but their stocks were 5 4 % less than
stocks on hand at the end of the previous month, May 1923. The percentage of average stocks on hand
at the end of each month since January 1st to average monthly sales during the same period was 402.8% ,
indicating a rate of turnover of approximately three times a year. Outstanding orders for merchandise at
the end of June 1923 amounted to 8.4% of total purchases of merchandise during the calendar year 1922.
(Compiled July 20, 1923)

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

Production of basis commodities declined in June, but employment was maintained at last month’s high
level, freight shipments were exceptionally large, and the volume of wholesale and retail trade continued heavy.
Wholesale prices showed a further decrease.
PR O D U C T IO N . The Federal Reserve Board’s index of production in basic industries, which makes allow­
ance for seasonal variations, was four per cent lower in June than in May, and stood at about the level of the
late winter. Mill consumption of cotton, steel ingot output, and sugar meltings showed particularly large re­
ductions. The value of permits for new buildings and of contracts awarded declined in June more than is
usual at that season. The Department of Agriculture forecasts, on the basis of July 1st conditions, a large
increase in the cotton crop, a slight reduction in the corn crop, a winter wheat crop of about the same size
as last year, and a spring wheat crop which will possibly be about forty million bushels below 1922. The
number of factory employees at work in June in the country as a whole was about as large as in May, though
a reduction is reported by New England establishments. The proportion of factories reporting full time opera­
tions decreased and consequently average earnings per employee were smaller. Wage advances continued to be
reported in June, but they were not nearly so numerous as in April or May.
T R A D E . Distribution of commodities, as measured by railroad freight shipments, was active throughout
June. The number of cars loaded exceeded one million in each of four successive weeks, and in the week
ended June 30 was the largest on record. The volume of wholesale and retail trade in June was about the
same as in May and continued to be substantially larger than in 1922. Sales of groceries and dry goods were
much larger in June and this increase was reflected in an advance of 4 per cent in the Federal Reserve Board’s
index of wholesale trade. This index, which makes no allowance for seasonal changes, was 9 per cent above
the June, 1922, level. Department store and mail order sales were smaller, as is usual at this season, while
sales of reporting chain stores were at about the same high level as in May. Stocks of merchandise in depart­
ment stores were reduced about 6 per cent.
W H O L E S A L E P R IC E S . The decline in commodity prices, which began late in April, continued during June
and the first two weeks of July, and the index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics for June was 2 per cent less
than in May. The largest decline, amounting to 4 per cent, occurred in the prices of building materials, and
decreases were shown also for all other commodity groups except house furnishings, which remained unchanged.
During the first half of July price declines were shown for wheat, sugar, petroleum and lead, while the price of
corn and hides advanced.
B A N K C R E D IT . Banking developments between the middle of June and the middle of July largely re­
flected the payment of income taxes on June 15, dividend and interest payments at the turn of the half year,
the demand for additional currency for the July 4 holiday, and the return flow of currency after that date.
At the end of the period the volume of member bank and Federal Reserve Bank credit in use was approximately
at the same level as a month earlier. At the Federal Reserve Bank the amount of discounts for member banks
on July 18 was about $100,000,000 larger than on June 13, but this increase was practically balanced by a
decline in holdings of acceptances and Government securities. During the month of June gold and gold cer­
tificates in circulation increased by over $40,000,000, and this increase is reflected in an equivalent decline of
gold held by the Federal Reserve Banks. Money rates were slightly firmer, as is usual at this season of the year.




10




11




T
tfty
F e d e r a l T ^ e ^ erV e
^ is tr ic ?
S haded area in Wesl \fa. is in 'fhe FourHi DisfrieK

j?ft

"Reserve 23cmk in ~R lchrr\ondJ
H r a n c h B a n k in BqM'imore.

12