View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

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

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

JULY 31, 1931

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

T

H E period between the middle of June and the
middle of August is usually one of the dullest of
the year in trade and industry, and so far this year
no exception. Business in the Fifth Federal reserve
district between the first of June and the middle of
July was mostly seasonal in nature, with no outstand­
ing developments. Rediscounts for member banks held
by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond declined
slightly last month, and on July IS were less than re­
discounts held a year earlier. The Bank’s holdings
of Government securities doubled during the year, how­
ever, and therefore total earning assets of the Rich­
mond bank were larger at the middle of July than on
the corresponding date in 1930. Fifty-two regularly
reporting member banks in the Fifth district reduced
their outstanding loans and further increased their
investments in bonds and other securities between the
middle of June and the middle of July, and on July
15 their loans were 13 per cent less than a year ago,
while their investments in bonds and securities were
28 per cent higher. Both demand and time deposits
rose slightly in the reporting banks last month, and
aggregate deposits were higher than a year ago, due to
a large increase in savings and time deposits. On July
IS, 1931, the reporting banks were borrowing less
from the reserve bank than a month or a year earlier.
Debits to individual accounts figures for the five weeks
ended July 15, 1931, showed a seasonal increase over
debits for the preceding five weeks, ended June 10,
1931, but the increase was somewhat smaller than oc­
curs in most years. In comparison with debits for the
five weeks ended July 16, 1930, those for the corres­
ponding five weeks this year showed a decline of 12.5
per cent, only three of twenty-four cities showing
higher 1931 figures. Total debits in twenty-four cities
for the first half of 1931 were 12 per cent less than
debits in the first half of 1930, every city reporting
lower figures this year. Employment conditions show­
ed no improvement last month, but instead there seems
to have been some additional workers laid off either
temporarily or permanently, scattered industrial plants
and business houses made wage reductions, and labor
trouble developed in West Virginia coal mining regions.
Coal production, while slightly above that of May,




continued below the rate of production of June last
year. Textile mills continue to find business hard to
obtain, especially advance orders, but, on the whole,
is
it appears that Fifth district mills are doing rather
better than the average for the United States. Cotton
prices were slightly higher last month than in the pre­
ceding one, but considerably below the corresponding
1930 prices. Official acreage figures for this year’s
cotton crop show a reduction of 10 per cent for the
country as a whole, Fifth district cotton states making
larger reductions than the National average. Con­
struction work provided for in permits issued and con­
tracts awarded in June was much lower than the work
provided for in June last year. Retail trade as re­
flected in department store sales showed an increase
of 3.4 per cent over June trade last year, but whole­
sale trade in four of five lines showed lower 1931 sales,
shoe jobbers reporting the only increase last month.
Agricultural developments in June and the first half
of July were favorable on the whole, and while the
outlook for money crops is not good from a price
standpoint, production prospects in the Fifth district
are better than in average years, and are far above
those of 1930 in the sections of the district which were
damaged by the drought last summer and fall. In
practically all sections of the district farmers have
larger acreages in crops used primarily for home con­
sumption, and this will enable them to get along next
winter on less cash than they needed last winter, when
they had very little food for themselves or feed for
their stock, chiefly as a result of the disastrous drought.

Reserve Bank Statement
The figures in the accompanying table show the prin­
cipal items on the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s
statement of condition as of July 15, 1931, in compari­
son with corresponding figures a month and a year
earlier. The volume of rediscounts for member banks
held by this Bank on July 15, 1931, was less by $1,038,000 than rediscounts held on June 15 this year
and also showed a decline of $933,000 from the July
15, 1930, figure. There was a decrease in open market
paper in the Bank’s portfolio last month, the decline
amounting to $1,154,000, and the amount held was

MONTHLY REVIEW

2
ITEMS
Rediscounts held ----------------Open market paper--------------Government securities _______
Other earning assets------------Total earning assets_______
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes....
Members’ reserve deposits____
Cash reserves ______________
Reserve ratio ...........................

000 omitted
July 15 June 15 July 15
1931
1931
1930
$17,235 $18,273 $18,168
4.314
7,521
3,160
29,983
15,594
31,558
425
0
220
52,995
41,283
52,173
73,083
64,379
68,970
59,022
63,435
62,211
97,267
86,753
£0,222
74.37
65.43
66.49

less by $4,361,000 than a year earlier. On the other
hand, holdings of Government securities advanced $1,575,000 between June 15 and July 15 this year, and
on the later date totaled $15,964,000 more than Gov­
ernment security holdings on July 15, 1930. These
securities were acquired through allotment of System
purchases on the open market. The changes in the
several items resulted in a net decrease of $822,000 in
the Bank’s total earning assets during the past month,
but there was an increase of $10,890,000 in earning
assets during the year. However, the discount rate is
3 per cent at present in comparison with 4 per cent on
July 15, 1930, and yields from other assets are also
lower than yields last year. As a result, the Bank’s
income this year has been considerably less than that
of the first half of 1930. Federal reserve notes in
actual circulation decreased by $4,113,000 last month,
a seasonal development, but on July 15 totaled $4,591,000 more than the volume of notes in circulation July
15, 1930. This increase over the 1930 circulation fig­
ure is interesting, in view of lower price levels and a
generally reduced volume of business this year, but
indications are that the rise is due to hoarding of
money in pockets, homes, and safety deposit boxes, in
consequence of uneasiness arising from bank failures
earlier in the year. Notwithstanding this hoarding, the
aggregate of bank deposits has increased. Member
bank reserve deposits increased $3,189,000 between the
middle of June and the middle of July, but on July
15 reserve deposits showed a decline of $1,224,000 in
comparison with July 15, 1930. This decline was due
chiefly to a reduction in the number of member banks
in the Fifth district during the year. Changes in the
statement during the past month raised the cash re­
serves of the Richmond bank by $3,469,000, and the
ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined rose 1.06 points, but during the year cash
reserves declined $7,045,000 and the reserve ratio
dropped 7.88 points, this decline being due to invest­
ments in Government securities.

Member Bank Statement
Fifty-two member banks in thirteen leading cities
of the Fifth Federal reserve district make weekly re­
ports of condition to the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond, and the accompanying table shows the totals
of the principal items for the latest available date, July
15, 1931, in comparison with corresponding figures a
month and a year earlier. It should be understood
that the figures reflect the composite condition of the
reporting banks on the report dates only, and are not




ITEMS

000 omitted
July 15 June 17 July 16
1931
1931
1930

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ...........
All other loans______________
Total loans and discounts___
Investments in stocks and bonds
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
Cash in vaults______________
Demand deposits ___________
Time deposits ______________
Borrowed from F. R. Bank._
_

$156,157 $161,092 $186,475
251,029 258,775 281,036
407,186 419,867 467,511
225,623 220,818 176,420
\40,794
38,252
42,149
13,346
15,384
10,463
335,436 334,405 351,731
267,209 262,495 245,441
£565
3,423
4,234

necessarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred
during the period under review.
The reporting member banks decreased their loans
on stocks and bonds by $4,935,000 between June 17
and July 15, this year, and their agricultural, com­
mercial and industrial loans declined by $7,746,000,
a total drop in loans and discounts of $12,681,000.
Contrary to the usual course, deposits did not decline
correspondingly to the decrease in loans, but actually
increased during the month, demand deposits rising
$1,031,000 and time deposits increasing $4,714,000.
The fifty-two banks increased their investments in se­
curities by $4,805,000 between June 17 and July 15,
and also built up their reserve deposits at the reserve
bank by $2,542,000. Cash in vaults declined $2,038,000
during the past month, and the banks reduced their
rediscounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
by $1,669,000.
Comparison of the July 15, 1931, figures with those
for July 15, 1930, shows a continuation of a marked
shift from loans to investments for the funds of the
reporting institutions. Total loans and discounts in
the fifty-two banks dropped $60,325,000, or nearly 13
per cent, during the year, and at the same time invest­
ments in stocks and bonds rose by $49,203,000, ap­
proximately 28 per cent. Demand deposits also de­
clined during the year, but the decrease was only $16,295,000, or 4.6 per cent, and was more than compen­
sated for by an increase of $21,768,000, or 8.9 per cent,
in time deposits. The other items shown in the table
changed relatively little during the year, aggregate re­
serve balance with the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond declining $1,355,000, rediscounts of the report­
ing banks at the reserve bank decreasing $858,000,
and cash in vaults rising $2,883,000.

Savings and Time Deposits

Aggregate deposits in twelve mutual savings banks
in Baltimore totaled $209,924,547 on June 30, 1931,
compared with $207,926,317 on May 31, 1931, and
$195,819,626 on June 30, 1930. On July 15, 1931,
fifty-two regularly reporting member banks had time
deposits aggregating $267,209,000, c o m p a r e d with
$262,495,000 on June 17 this year and $245,441,000
on July 16, 1930. The savings and time deposit fig­
ures have been increased to some extent during the
past year by investment funds which were unable to
find more profitable outlets, and in some banks the
accumulation of these funds at current interest rates
on savings accounts is becoming more or less a burden.

3

MONTHLY REVIEW

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
CITIES
Asheville, N. C.-------Baltimore, Md---- ----Charleston, S. G----Charleston, W. Va.__
Charlotte, N. C.-------Columbia, S. G....----Cumberland, M d.___
Danville, Va----- ----- ~
Durham, N. C______
Greensboro, N. C____
Greenville, S. C.-----Hagerstown, Md.......Huntington, W. Va._
Lynchburg, Va. -----Newport News, Va—
Norfolk, Va........ ........
Portsmouth* Va. ___
Raleigh, N. C.______
Richmond, Va...... ......
Roanoke, Va............ .
Spartanburg, S. C.__
Washington, D. C.__
Wilmington, N. C___
Winston-Salem, N. G.
District Totals ___

$

13,042,000
442,210,000
25.267.000
46.898.000
50.324.000
25.035.000
11.051.000
8.709.000
31.528.000
20.303.000
18.196.000
10.508.000
18.725.000
22.704.000
12.522.000
58.661.000
5.594.000
27.974.000
144.594.000
30.116.000
10.897.000
289.778.000
13.050.000
38.842.000

$1,376,528,000

6.531.000
25.241.000
20.824.000
17.105.000
9.203.000
20.147.000
18.299.000
11.905.000
56.142.000
5.534.000
20.603.000
137.629.000
29.037.000
10.380.000
273.473.000
13.595.000
35.939.000

31,186,000
526,436,000
29.696.000
53.101.000
56.222.000
22.167.000
13.028.000
8.956.000
30.331.000
24.516.000
18.705.000
12.570.000
24.305.000
22.971.000
13.903.000
65.215.000
5.233.000
34.799.000
164.853.000
36.582.000
12.074.000
305.683.000
14.878.000
45.102.000

$ 70,626,000
2.272.463.000
109.638.000
237.655.000
259.904.000
141.863.000
47.210.000
38.329.000
143.300.000
112.317.000
96.632.000
51.213.000
101.330.000
102.415.000
64.619.000
292.707.000
27.311.000
120.007.000
743.073.000
158.384.000
58.280.000
1.443.395.000
73.096.000
206.505.000

$ 158,551,000
2.585.257.000
151.922.000
263.917.000
312.116.000
158.766.000
55.158.000
48.257.000
159.083.000
136.030.000
120.592.000
59.944.000
131.255.000
119.612.000
67.537.000
352.500.000
29.724.000
142.987.000
794.694.000
189.772.000
77.658.000
1.478.681.000
89.624.000
235.138.000

$1,296,224,000

$1,572,512,000

$6,972,272,000

$7,918,775,000

$

12,969,000
424,197,000
18.805.000
41.791.000
50.469.000
27.348.000

9. 58.000
0

The accompanying table of debits to individual ac­
counts shows aggregate figures for all checks drawn
against depositors’ accounts in the banks of twentyfour cities of the Fifth reserve district during three
equal periods of five weeks, ended July 15, 1931, June
10, 1931, and July 16, 1930. In addition, the table also
shows figures for the half-year ended June 30, 1931,
with comparative figures for the first half of 1930.
During the five weeks ended July 15, 1931, aggregate
debits to individual accounts in the twenty-four report­
ing cities totaled $1,376,528,000, an increase of $80,304,000, or 6.2 per cent, over debits totaling $1,296,224,000 during the preceding five weeks, ended June
10, 1931. This increase was seasonal, and was caused
by quarterly and semi-annual payments on and around
July 1, but the rise was somewhat less than usually
occurs at mid-year. The increase in debits during the
latest five weeks was generally distributed throughout
the district, nineteen of the twenty-four cities report­
ing higher figures.
When the figures for the five weeks ended July 15,
1931, are compared with the figures for the corres­
ponding five weeks last year, ended July 16, 1930, a
general decline averaging 12.5 per cent is found, only
three of the twenty-four cities showing higher figures
for the 1931 period. Columbia, S. C., reported an in­
crease of 12.9 per cent, Durham a gain of 3.9 per cent,
and Portsmouth an increase of 6.9 per cent. The in­
crease in Columbia was chiefly due to State financing.
Total debits in the first half of 1931 amounted to
$6,972,272,000 in the twenty-four reporting cities, but
ladced $946,503,000, or approximately 12 per cent, of
reaching the total of $7,918,775,000 for the first half
of 1930. In comparison with semi-annual totals for
other recent years, debits for the first half of 1931




SEMI-ANNUAL TOTALS
1931
1930

Total Debits During the Five Weeks Ended
July 16, 1930
June 10,1931
July 15, 1931
$

were 12 per cent less than 1930, 16 per cent less than
1929, 14 per cent less than 1928, 13 per cent less than
1927, 15 per cent less than 1926, 9 per cent less than
1925, but 2 per cent more than debits for the first
half of 1924. Every one of the twenty-four report­
ing cities show lower debits figures for the past six
months than for the corresponding six months of 1930.

Commercial Failures
Business failures in the Fifth district in June totaled
only 112, in comparison with 135 failures reported in
June 1930, but aggregate liabilities involved in last
month’s insolvencies totaled $2,393,591, a slightly
higher figure than $2,286,226 reported for June last
year. Insolvencies in the first half of 1931 totaled
948 in the Fifth district, compared with 844 failures
in the first half of 1930, but 1931 liabilities totaling
$19,986,263 compared favorably with $22,165,014 for
the first six months of last year.

Employment

The past month or six weeks showed no improve­
ment in employment conditions, but on the contrary
there appear to have been unfavorable developments.
Unemployment and labor trouble has spread further
in West Virginia coal fields, railroads in the Fifth dis­
trict have consolidated and readjusted some train sched­
ules, enabling them to discontinue a few trains, and
railroad clerical workers have also been reduced in
number slightly. Wage reductions, although not gen­
eral in the district, continue here and there, chiefly in
the smaller industrial plants which tried to maintain
wages at former levels when the present depression
began, but which have been unable to stand the strain
over so long a period. The outlook in the Fifth dis­

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

trict is materially worse for industrial workers, rail­
road employees, and persons in building trades than
it was a year ago, since many people who were unable
to find steady work last year had some surplus on
which they could fall back. This year, however, some
portion and in many cases all of these surplus funds
have been used, and as a result the number of calls
for assistance received by charitable and welfare agen­
cies is increasing steadily.

Coal Production
The total production of bituminous coal in the United
States in June 1931 amounted to 29,185,000 net tons,
compared with 28,314,000 tons mined in May 1931 and
33.714.000 tons in June last year. Daily average pro­
duction in June this year of 1,123,000 tons compared
with an average of 1,115,000 tons in May 1931 and
1.349.000 tons in June 1930. Total production of
soft coal during the present calendar year to July 11
(approximately 162 working days) amounted to 199,886.000 net tons, the lowest figure for the correspond­
ing period of recent years. Tidewater shipments of
coal in June through Fifth district ports totaled 1,750,795 tons, and total shipments since January 1
totaled 11,246,564 tons, or 66.8 per cent of total tide­
water shipments through all ports.
The July 11 report of the Bureau of Mines, Depart­
ment of Commerce, gave coal production figures by
states for the month of May 1931. West Virginia
with 7,640,000 tons was in second place, Pennsylvania
leading with 7,783,000 tons. Chiefly because of labor
troubles in Pennsylvania, West Virginia came nearer
to taking first place in production in May than in any
recent month. The states of West Virginia, Virginia
and Maryland mined a total of 8,613,000 tons of bi­
tuminous coal in May, 30.4 per cent of total National
production.

Textiles
Cotton consumption in Fifth district mills in June
1931 totaled 204,769 bales, a slightly lower figure than
208,822 bales used in May this year but 21.3 per cent
more than 168,806 bales consumed in June 1930. Last
month North Carolina mills used 107,465 bales, South
Carolina mills used 87,904 bales, and Virginia mills
used 9,400 bales, all higher figures than those reported
for June 1930. June 1931 consumption in Virginia and
the Carolinas was 45 per cent of National consumption,
a higher figure than either 44.8 per cent of National
consumption in May 1931 or 41.7 per cent in June
1930. On June 22, the Department of Commerce is­
sued a report on spindles in place, spindles active in
May, total spindle hours for May, and average hours
of operation per spindle in place in May. On May
31, 1931, there were 32,993,820 spindles in place in the
United States, Massachusetts leading with 7,003,878,
or 21.23 per cent of the total, North Carolina ranking
second with 6,212,832 spindles, or 18.83 per cent, and
South Carolina third with 5,686,380 spindles, or 17.23
per cent. In actual spindle hours, however, South
Carolina led all states for May with 1,675,824,729, or




24.87 per cent of the National total of 6,738,740,226
hours, and North Carolina ranked second with 1,409,749,502 hours, or 20.92 per cent, while Massachusetts
had only 981,836,850 hours, or 14.57 per cent. In
average hours which each spindle operated during
May, South Carolina led all states with 295, but North
Carolina’s average of 227 was exceeded by the aver­
age for Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia mills in the
order named. Virginia mills reported 214 hours per
spindle for May, ranking next to North Carolina.

Cotton Statistics

Spot cotton prices ruled higher during the past month
than in the preceding one. In our June 30 Review we
quoted the average price paid for middling 7/8 inch
upland cotton on ten Southern markets as 8.07 cents
per pound on June 12. From that figure the average
price advanced to 8.21 cents on June 19 and 9.78 cents
on June 26, but after that date the price declined to
9.71 cents on July 3, and continued downward to 8.78
cents on July 10 and 8.65 cents on July 17, the latest
date for which official quotations are available.
Consumption of cotton in the United States in June
1931 totaled 455,388 bales, compared with 465,770
bales used in May this year and 405,236 bales in June
1930. Total consumption for the eleven months of the
present cotton year—August 1 to June 30—amounted
to 4,820,430 bales, compared with 5,726,818 bales con­
sumed in the corresponding period of the 1929-1930
season. Manufacturing establishments held 1,310,514
bales on June 30, compared with 1,258,222 bales held
on May 31 and 1,356,664 bales on June 30, 1930. Pub­
lic warehouses and compresses held 4,970,626 bales in
storage at the end of June this year, compared with
5,494,025 bales so held a month earlier and 5,726,818
bales on June 30 last year. June exports totaled 255,459 bales, compared with 335,796 bales sent abroad in
May 1931 and 185,053 bales exported in June 1930.
Exports during the eleven months of this cotton year
totaled 6,500,924 bales compared with 6,514,274 bales
shipped over seas during the corresponding eleven
months ended June 30, 1930. Spindles active at some
time during June numbered 25,798,910, compared with
26,397,906 in May this year and 27,659,308 in June
1930.
Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states
totaled 357,872 bales in June, compared with 362,136
bales used in May and 320,190 bales in June 1930.
Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states
amounted to 78.59 per cent of National consumption,
a higher percentage than 77.75 per cent in May this
year but less than 79.01 per cent in June 1930. Of the
357,872 bales of cotton consumed in the cotton grow­
ing states in June, the Fifth district mills used 204,769
bales, or 57.22 per cent, a higher percentage than 52.72
per cent of Southern consumption attained by Fifth
district mills in June last year.
On July 8, the Department of Agriculture issued its
first cotton acreage report of the season, and estimated
the area in cultivation as 10 per cent less than the acre­
age in 1930. Every one of the cotton growing states
except Florida decreased acreage this year. North

MONTHLY REVIEW
Carolina with a reduction of 18 per cent showed the
greatest change among important cotton growing states,
aiid South Carolina showed a reduction of 12 per cent.
Virginia, an unimportant factor in cotton production,
planted 25 per cent less than last year. Heavy pro­
ducing states outside the Fifth district reported the
following reductions: Oklahoma, 17%; Georgia, 12%;
Alabama, Louisiana and Tennessee, 10% each; Arkan­
sas and Texas, 8% each; and Mississippi, 6%. No
official condition figures are yet available, but on the
whole the weather has been moderately good for cot­
ton development. Less fertilizer was used under most
of this year’s crop, which may affect final production
materially.

Agricultural Notes
This year’s crops have advanced far enough to give
some indication of probable yields, and on the whole
prospects in Fifth district states are much better than
last year, and are probably somewhat above those of
average years. From the standpoint of the farmer,
the unfavorable price outlook for this year is a cloud
on the horizon.
Maryland prospects are for good yields of nearly all
crops. Production of corn is now forecast at 20,400,000 bushels, nearly three times as large as the short
crop of 1930 but slightly below the five-year average
of 21,593,000 bushels. Corn planting was somewhat
later than usual because of wet weather, and consider­
able acreage was replanted following cutworm damage,
but stands now are generally good and the crop is grow­
ing well. The wheat acreage is the smallest on record
for Maryland, and conditions at planting time were un­
favorable. Last December the condition of wheat was
the lowest on record, but early this Spring it began to
improve and on July 1 probable production was esti­
mated at 8,159,000 bushels, compared with 11,086,000
bushels last year and the ten-year average of 9,934,000.
Production per acre this year is about two bushels
higher than average, and is the third highest since
1914. The acreage of white potatoes in Maryland is
about the same as last year, and this year’s crop is
forecast at 3,575,000 bushels, compared with 2,427,000 bushels last year and the ten-year average of 4,051.000 bushels. Sweet potato acreage was increased
this year, and the July 1 forecast of 1,560,000 bushels
compares with the short crop of 660,000 bushels last
year and the five-year average of 1,462,000 bushels.
Hay crops were seriously damaged by the drought last
summer, but this year’s crop of hay is expected to total
490.000 tons, compared with 344,000 tons last year,
and 642,000 tons for the five-year average. Tobacco
growers in Maryland increased their acreage this year,
and the condition of the crop is above the average.
Production of 31,000,000 pounds is forecast, com­
pared with only 18,190,000 pounds last year and a
five-year average of 24,423,000 pounds. Conditions
have been very favorable for all tree fruits and the
production forecasts for apples, peaches, pears and
grapes are all higher than last year’s productions and
are also higher than the five-year averages of produc­




5

tion. Apple production this year is estimated at 3,460.000 bushels, of which about 697,000 barrels will
be shipped commercially.
Virginia crop prospects on July 1 continued favor­
able and the yield of all crops is expected to be about
13 per cent above the ten-year average. The com
crop has made an excellent start, fields have been well
cultivated, growth is above the average, and the plants
have an excellent color. The July 1 condition indi­
cates a production of approximately 45,000,000 bush­
els, compared with the short crop of last year of 17,227.000 bushels, and the five-year average of 44,000,000 bushels. Wheat prospects improved during June,
and growers estimate the yield to be heavier than had
been expected. The probable yield of 15.5 bushels
per acre indicates a production of 9,068,000 bushels,
compared with 9,160,000 bushels harvested last season.
An unusually large acreage of oats was seeded this
Spring, and as weather conditions have been favorable
for growth, the indicated production of 4,275,000 bush­
els is approximately 50 per cent greater than last sea­
son. Hay prospects improved during June, but owing
to the damage from last year’s drought the yield is not
expected to be as large as usual, but will be consider­
ably above last year’s production. Pastures are ex­
cellent throughout the State, and are affording ample
grazing for livestock, the number of which was re­
duced because of feed shortage last winter. Early
potato acreage was reduced but the yield was heavier,
so production is expected to be 12,330,000 bushels this
year, compared with 11,893,000 bushels harvested in
1930. Owing to the extremely low prices, the crop
has been harvested slowly and shipments to July 4
were only 7,755 cars, compared with 11,830 cars on
July 5, 1930. The total number of cars shipped last
year was 21,682, which gave Virginia third place
among all states in car lot shipments of potatoes. The
non-commercial potato crop has been increased con­
siderably in all parts of the State in accordance with
the intention of farmers to produce sufficient food sup­
plies for their own use, and prospects indicate a total
production of about 4,000,000 bushels, compared with
2.000.000 bushels last year. The acreage planted to
sweet potatoes is 3 per cent greater than last year, the
increase being in the farm crop for local consumption.
The indicated production is 4,750,000 bushels, com­
pared with 2,960,000 bushels last year. The Virginia
tobacco acreage is about 8 per cent less than last year,
flue-cured acreage having been cut about 15 per cent
while the acreage in other types was slightly increased.
The season was favorable for transplanting, so an ex­
cellent stand was secured. Growth was retarded by
cool weather the first part of June, but progress was
rapid the last of the month. The crop has been well
worked and the yield is expected to be approximately
113.000.000 pounds, compared with 94,302,000 pounds
harvested last year and a five-year average of 121,753,000 pounds. The commercial apple crop is estimated
to be 4,200,000 barrels, compared with only 1,300,000
barrels harvested in 1930 and a five-year average of
2.718.000 barrels. Apple prospects are uniformly good

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

throughout the State, and all orchards have a good set
of fruit. Prospects for peaches are also good.
West Virginia crop conditions are good in all sec­
tions of the State except in the lower Ohio Valley
where the dry hot weather has caused considerable
damage. The 1931 corn acreage is the same as that
of 1930. Conditions now point to a much larger per­
centage of this acreage being harvested for grain than
was harvested in 1930. This year’s probable produc­
tion is estimated at 14,756,000 bushels, compared with
5.772.000 bushels harvested in 1930. Winter wheat
made good yields in all sections of the State and the
indicated production of 1,717,000 bushels compares
with 1,838,000 bushels harvested on a slightly larger
acreage last year. The past two wheat crops in West
Virginia have been the best crops in yield per acre
since the Crop Reporting Service was begun in 1867.
This year's production of rye is forecast at 154,000
bushels, compared with 147,000 bushels harvested in
1930. The acreage planted to oats was increased 6
per cent this year, and 1931 production of 3,927,000
bushels compares with 2,972,000 bushels harvested in
1930. The Irish potato crop of the State is much more
promising at this time than on July 1, 1930, and the
estimated production of 3,705,000 bushels is much
higher than 2,800,000 bushels harvested in 1930. Po­
tatoes are in good condition in all sections of the State
excepting the lower Ohio Valley. Sweet potato con­
dition figures on July 1 indicate a crop of 210,000 bush­
els this year, compared with 150,000 bushels in 1930
and a five-year average of 254,000 bushels. Tobacco
acreage in West Virginia was increased 10 per cent this
year, but the bulk of the tobacco acreage is located in
the lower Ohio Valley where growing conditions are
least favorable. Conditions at transplanting time were
unfavorable and much of the crop had to be reset.
Present conditions of the crop indicate production of
5.332.000 pounds, compared with 4,896,000 pounds
harvested in 1930. All hay crops in West Virginia
are in fine condition and this year’s yield of 860,000
tons is nearly double last year’s crop of 446,000 tons.
Pastures on July 1 had a fairly high average condition,
but were in need of general rains. Old sods which
were thought killed by the 1930 drought were revived
by spring rains but a dry period of short duration
would cut the condition of pastures materially. West
Virginia’s apple crop gives promise of an exceptionally
large yield. The July 1 condition indicates a yield of
12.240.000 bushels, compared with only 3,944,000 bush­
els harvested in 1930 and a five-year average of 6,882,000 bushels. This year’s crop is expected to be the
second largest on record, ranking next to 12,400,000
bushels harvested in 1914. Of the total apple crop,
1.980.000 barrels are forecast for the commercial crop,
compared with 680,000 barrels in 1930 and a five-year
average of 1,334,000 barrels.
North Carolina crops suffered more or less seriously
from dry weather during June, but since July 1 most
of the excessive dryness has been relieved by rain in
sufficient amount to bring crops out markedly. Even
if dry, crop prospects for the entire State were above




an average on July 1. Cultivation is unusually good
and fields are free from grass. Corn acreage is 4 per
cent above 1930, and is the largest since 1917. Plants
had an opportunity to establish good roots during the
dry spell and recent rains brought them out quickly.
North Carolina had almost ideal weather for small
grains during the winter and spring. All grain acre­
ages were increased this year, wheat rising 20 per cent,
oats 6 per cent, barley 21 per cent, and rye 25 per
cent. Prospective yields of 6,180,000 bushels of wheat
and 8,181,000 bushels of oats are 45 and 25 per cent,
respectively, over 1930 yields. Tobacco probably suf­
fered more from June dryness than any other North
Carolina crop, and both plants and leaves are rather
small. However, the recent rains made the fertilizer
under the plants available, and prospects may be great­
ly altered for the better during the next few weeks.
Tobacco is in some danger of second growth in the
southern counties. Commercial early Irish potatoes in
North Carolina showed 10 per cent increase in acreage
and 15 per cent larger yields per acre than last year.
The late crop condition on July 1 was unfavorable, due
to dry weather. Sweet potato acreage was increased
17 per cent this year, but crop prospects on July 1 were
decidedly lower than usual, and the State’s indicated
production is only 13 per cent above last year’s yield.
Early hay crops yielded good cuttings, but cuttings
through July will be somewhat light. However, with
a 13 per cent increase in acreage and especially low
yields last year, this year’s hay crop is forecast 19 per
cent above that of 1930. Apples are showing a good
setting over the State, although blight and other trou­
bles seem to be more prevalent than for many years.
This year’s crop is expected to be almost double that
of last year, and the estimated commercial crop of
245,000 barrels is more than twice the 1930 yield.
South Carolina acreages planted to cash crops were
reduced this year, cotton acreage declining 11 per cent,
tobacco acreage 8 per cent, sugar cane 17 per cent,
and Irish potatoes the same as last year. All other
crops were increased, com acreage rising 5 per cent,
wheat 30 per cent, oats 10 per cent, sweet potatoes 6
per cent, tame hay 9 per cent, peanuts 31 per cent,
rye 15 per cent, and sorghum for syrup, 15 per cent.
Deficient moisture and abnormal heat during the latter
part of June checked development and caused some
deterioration in growing crops, so that the reported
condition of most crops on July 1 was below last year
and the ten-year average. However, rains since July 1
have materially improved the situation generally, al­
though moisture is still deficient in some places. The
corn crop condition forecasts a yield of 22,988,000
bushels this year, compared with 25,806,000 bushels
last year and a five-year average of 21,484,000 bushels.
The average yield of oats equalled the previous record,
and estimated production of 10,935,000 bushels ex­
ceeds 9,016,000 bushels in 1930 and the five-year av­
erage of 9,352,000 bushels. The per acre yield of
wheat this year was second on record, and estimated
production of 720,000 bushels is far above last year’s
yield of 474,000 bushels, but is below the five-year
average production of 751,000 bushels, the five-year

fcertTTrssssassssjiTT^'^TT'^rTTrr"!.............. —

...

MONTHLY REVIEW

■—■

average being made on a larger acreage. The July 1
condition of 63 per cent for tobacco compares unfav­
orably with 78 per cent a year ago, and this year’s pro­
duction of about 62,675,000 pounds compares with
94,140,000 pounds harvested in 1930 and a five-year
average of 73,843,000 pounds. Hay prospects indicate
a yield of 167,000 tons this year, compared with 171,000 tons cured last year.

Building Permits Issued, Fifth District Cities,
June 1931 and 1930
CITIES

Permits Iss’d

Total Valuation

1931

1931

1930

1930

Baltimore, Md............. 1,611 1,774 $2,423,880 $2,916,840
31,582
13
Cumberland, Md...... .
$560
16
Frederick, Md.............
10
21,506
11
10,005
Hagerstown, Md........
21
168^979
22
36,350
Salisbury, Md..............
19
22
219,950
72,300
20
Danville, Va.............. .
40,445
17
11,835
Lynchburg, Va.......—
44
162,370
45
128,435
Norfolk, Va________ 145
91
98,970
199,431
Petersburg, Va. ____
9
3,406
4
9,025
29
Portsmouth, Va. ___
33
46,300
12,795
Richmond, Va. _____ 146 126
304,097
252,603
28
Roanoke, Va___ ____
41
55,208
60,187
11
10
Bluefield, W. Va____
5,900
28,955
39
Charleston, W. Va.
23
146,828
120,025
42
Clarksburg, W. Va.....
34
13,245
65,297
14
Huntington, W. Va.__
29
73,300
69,300
21
Asheville, N. C._____
38
24,430
6,755
55
Charlotte, ,N. C._____
69
214,151
J51,065
18
Durham, N. C.______
17
86,680
25,650
43
Greensboro, N. C____
40
146,307
32,054
17
High Point, N. C___
15
250,350
32,765
17
Raleigh, N. C.______
19
67,925
23,575
..................
....
Rocky Mount, N. C.__
*8,715
*10
4
Salisbury, N. C_____
5
11,610
17,800
26
Wilmington, N. C._
_
18
313,400
62,300
87
Winston-Salem, N. C..
43,075
91
126,665
32
Charleston, S. C...
47
63,660
26,795
....
Columbia, S. C._____
*35
*396,090
31
Greenville, S. C____
32
72,730
’ 36,2i5’
16
Rock Hill, S. C.____
16
16,150
7,500
25
Spartanburg, S. C._
_
33
14,975
28,610
Washington, D. C._
_ 649 483
1{,613,055
2,495,100
Totals __________ 3,242 3,221
$6,581,832 $7,247,424
♦Not included in totals, 1931 figures for comparison being
unavailable.

This month we have changed the style of the build­
ing permit table, and now show combined figures for
all classes of permits, making no distinction between
permits issued for new construction, alterations or re­
pairs. Some years ago, when there was a shortage of
housing and business premises, and when industries
were expanding, the distinction between different class­
es of permits was important, but at present the em­
ployment of labor is the significant feature in construc­
tion, and alteration or repair work gives employment
to as many people as new work.
Building permits issued in June in thirty leading
cities of the Fifth reserve district numbered 3,242,
compared with 3,221 permits issued in June 1930, but
estimated valuation figures for last month totaled only
$6,581,832, a decrease of 9.2 per cent under valuation




7

........ ... j b s s

of $7,247,424 in June 1930. Only nine of the thirty
reporting cities showed higher valuation figures for
June 1931 than for June 1930, and the district com­
parison between the two months would have been much
more unfavorable if Washington had not reported an
increase this year of approximately 55 per cent.
Contracts actually awarded in June for construction
work in the Fifth reserve district totaled $23,635,727,
compared with $37,665,960 reported for June 1930,
according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation. Of the June 1931 awards, $6,730,982
represented residential types of construction, compared
with $10,120,240 for this class of work in June last
year.

Retail Trade, 35 Department Stores
Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cit District
June 1931 sales, compared with sales in June 1930:
.6
2.3 '
8.7
— 8.8
3.4
Total sales first half of 1931, compared with first half of 1930:
— 52
— 4.5
2.1 , —11.8
— 2.9
June 30, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on June 30, 1930:
—21.3
—11.7
— 9.7
—15.1
—12.6
June 30, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on May 31, 1931:
— 6.5
— 5.3
— 6.5
— 3.3
— 5.6
Number of times stock was turned in June 1931:
.348
.347
.367
32
.337
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1931:
1.94
1.928
2.01
1.358
1.882
Percentage of June 1, 1931, receivables collected in June:
31.0 ,
25.1
33.5
27.6
28.7

W holesale Trade, 66 Firms
24

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

15

Hardware

12

Drugs

1931 sales, compared with sales in June 1930:
—17.2
— 2.6
16.4
—16.6
— 5.4
June 1931 sales, compared with sales in May 1931:
— .1
—12.8
—19.6
—10.6
— 3.9
Jan.-June 1931 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-June 1930:
—18.1
—24.5
— 6.2
—26.6
— 6.2
June 30, 1931 stocks, compared with June 30, 1930 stocks:
—10.7(8*) -31.7(4*) —29.0(6*) — 9.5 (8*>
-----June 30, 1931 stocks, compared with May 31, 1931 stocks:
— 8.4(8*) — 8.3(4*) — .6(6*) — 4.8(8*)
-----Percentage of June 1, 1931, receivables collected in June:
60.7(14*) 34.5(6*) 38.2(6*) 32.1(12*) 56.4(8*)
June

—Denotes decreased percentage. *Number of reporting firms.

(Compiled July 21, 1931)

8

MONTHLY REVIEW

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES
(Compiled hr

fbt

Federal Reserve Board)

Industrial production showed more than the usual
seasonal decline in June, and factory employment and
pay rolls decreased. Wholesale prices, which had con­
tinued to decline until the end of May, advanced in
June, but for most commodities declined again in the
first half of July.

Production

A decrease in industrial output from May to June
was reflected in a decline in the Board’s index of in­
dustrial production, which is adjusted for seasonal
variations, to 86 per cent of the 1923-1925 output, as
compared with 89 per cent in May. Taking the sec­
ond quarter of the year as a whole, production has
averaged about 4 per cent above its low level in the
last three months of 1930.
The reduction of activity in June was most marked
in the iron and steel industry, with steel plants oper­
ating at 38 per cent of capacity. Automobile output
declined further, and there was some recession in pro­
duction of lumber, meat products, and flour. Petrol­
eum output, however, was not reduced. Activity of
textile mills and shoe factories continued in relatively
large volume; in the woolen industry, activity was sus­
tained at the unusually high level of May, and the de­
cline in the consumption of cotton was not in excess
of the usual seasonal amount.
During the first half of July, there were further re­
ductions, partly seasonal in nature, in output of steel,
automobiles, and lumber.
Factory employment was further reduced by nearly
3 per cent, and pay rolls declined by 6 per cent between
the middle of May and the middle of June. The lar­
gest decreases were in the steel, machinery, and wo­
men’s clothing industries, while reductions at auto­
mobile plants and cotton mills were partly seasonal in
character, and employment at woolen and hosiery mills
increased.
Building contracts awarded in June were somewhat
larger than in May, but declined again in the first half
of July. Since the early spring, awards have not in­
creased as much as is usual for the season. In resi­
dential building there has been relatively little change
for about a year and a half, except for seasonal fluc­
tuations, and the decline in construction has been chiefly
in other types of building, principally public works and
utilities.




Distribution
At department stores, daily average sales were sea­
sonally smaller in June than in May. Freight-car
loadings were also reduced, reflecting principally a fur­
ther reduction in loadings of miscellaneous commodi­
ties.

Prices
During June wholesale prices of many commodities
advanced considerably, after having reached low levels
late in May and early in June. Prices of livestock
and meats increased; and after June 21 there were
rapid advances in prices of raw materials important in
world markets, especially cotton, hides, sugar, silk, cop­
per, silver, and rubber. Subsequently, however, most
of these prices receded somewhat, although in midJuly they were, in general, above their lowest levels.
The price of wheat declined during June and the first
half of July, as the domestic price became adjusted to
world levels.

Bank Credit
At reporting member banks in leading cities, loans on
securities continued to decline between the middle of
June and the middle of July, while all other loans in­
creased by $140,000,000. This increase was concen­
trated at New York City banks, and was largely in the
form of acceptances purchased in the open market.
Member banks’ investments continued at about the same
level as in May and early June.
Notwithstanding a further addition of $77,000,000
to the country’s stock of monetary gold between the
weeks ending June 20 and July 18, there was no de­
crease in Federal reserve bank credit outstanding. Dur­
ing the period the reserve banks’ portfolio of United
States securities was increased by $75,000,000, while
their combined holdings of acceptances and of dis­
counts for member banks decreased by approximately
the same amount. The gold inflow provided member
banks with funds to meet an added demand for cur­
rency, as well as to increase their balances with the
reserve banks. There was also a considerable growth
in foreign bank deposits with the reserve banks.
Money rates continued at low levels.


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102