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 irm a n

an d F e d e ra l R e serv e A gent

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

JUNE 30, 1932

pound early in June, and cotton con­
ENERAL business conditions in
sumption in May was much lower
FIFTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT
the Fifth Federal reserve dis-^
than consumption in May 1931. On
<*
trict were somewhat more unsatis­
the other hand, exports of cotton in
factory during the period covered
May were larger than exports in the
by this report. The usual spring in­
corresponding month last year. The
crease in business was very small in
output of manufactured tobacco
the district this year, and trade in
products, which held up longer than
May and early June was poor. There
any other line of industry during the
were some important developments
present depression, has declined ma­
in banking between the middle of
terially during the past two or three
May and the middle of June, among
months. Prospects for agriculture
them being a material increase in
this year are fair as to quantity, but
reserve bank purchases of Govern­
there is little sign of improvement
ment securities with the aim of
counteracting liquidation, a seasonal
in prices. The weather in May was
decline in Federal reserve notes in
unfavorable for best development of
circulation, and an unusual increase
crops, but warmer weather and gen­
in member bank reserve balances at the reserve eral rains in June improved the outlook. There
bank. Among regularly reporting member banks have been acreage reductions in most money crops,
in leading cities, loans and discounts declined dur­ but not enough to offset large surplus stocks of
ing the past month, but both demand and time de­ farm products carried over from last year. Except
posits increased. These banks increased their re­ for Government work in the District of Columbia,
serve deposits at the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­ there is very little construction work going on in
mond, and also increased their investments in the Fifth district, and consequently all industries
bonds. Debits to individual accounts figures connected with building are feeling the full force
in clearing house banks in the Fifth district of current conditions. Retail trade as reflected in
totaled nearly 7 per cent less in the five weeks department store sales were 17 per cent less in May
ended June 15 than in the preceding five weeks this 1932 than in May last year, and wholesale trade in
year and 26 per cent less than debits in the cor­ leading lines was also much behind the volume of
responding five weeks last year. The business fail­ trade in 1931.
ure record in May in the Fifth district was dis­
tinctly better than the National record in both Reserve Bank Statement
number of insolvencies and in the aggregate of
000 omitted
liabilities involved. No improvement occurred in
ITEMS
June 15 May 15 June 15
employment circles in May and early June, but
1932
1932
1931
on the contrary the ranks of unemployed apparent­
ly increased further and additional concerns were
$18,273
forced to reduce wage scales. Coal production de­ Rediscounts held....................... $24,537 $23,793
3,787
2,054
4,314
Open market paper....................
clined by more than the seasonal amount in May, Government securities----------27,975
47,133
29,983
partly due to a strike in part of the bituminous
53,822
75,457
52,570
Total earning assets----------field. The textile industry in the Fifth district re­ Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.. 88,324 92,579
73,083
48,434
61,209
59,022
stricted operations further, and in some cases closed Members' reserve deposits-----98,534
84,656
86,753
mills entirely, thereby adding to the unemployment Cash reserves............................
67.15
*55.55
65.43
Reserve ratio............................
problem. Cotton prices declined below 5 cents per




2

MONTHLY REVIEW

There were several important changes in the
statement of condition of the Federal Reserve Bank
of Richmond between May 15 and June 15, 1932,
chiefly in the nature of an expansion of reserve
bank credit. Rediscounts for member banks rose
only $744,000 during the month, but the portfolio of
open market paper increased by $1,733,000, and
holdings of Government securities rose by $19,158,000, the last named increase being due to co-opera­
tion with a System policy designed to put additional
funds into circulation. These changes in earning
assets brought with them a net increase of $21,635,000 in total earning assets during the past month.
Between May 15 and June 15 there was an unusual
rise of $12,775,000 in member bank reserve deposits
at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, but
nearly all of this increase was accounted for by a
few large banks in Baltimore, Richmond and W ash­
ington. About the usual seasonal decline occurred
in the circulation of Federal Reservee notes last
month, a decrease of $4,255,000 being reported. The
several changes mentioned in the statement, espe­
cially the material increase in holdings of Govern­
ment securities, reduced the cash reserves of the
Richmond bank by $13,878,000 between May 15 and
June 15, and also lowered the ratio of cash reserves
to note and deposit liabilities combined by 11.60
points.
In comparison with condition figures reported for
June 15, 1931, those for June 15, 1932, show a ma­
terially larger use of reserve bank credit this year.
Rediscounts for member banks at the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond rose $6,264,000 during the
year. There was a decline of $527,000 in holdings
of open m arket paper, but Government securities
held rose $17,150,000 between June 15 last year and
June 15 this year. These changes resulted in a
net increase of $22,887,000 in total earning assets
during the year. The circulation of Federal Re­
serve notes continues much higher than at this time
last year, the amount outstanding on June 15, 1932,
being $15,241,000 larger than the amount outstand­
ing a year earlier. Member bank reserve deposits
rose by $2,187,000 between the middle of June last
year and this. Cash reserves of the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond declined $2,097,000 in the
year between the dates given, a relatively small
change, but because of the increased circulation of
Federal Reserve notes this year the ratio of cash
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined de­
creased 9.88 points, a comparativly large decline.

Member Bank Statement
The accompanying table shows the principal
items of condition reported by all member banks in
twelve leading cities of the Fifth reserve district as
of three dates, June 15 and May 11, 1932, and June
17, 1931, thus affording opportunity for comparison
of the latest available figures with those of the
preceding month this year and the corresponding
month last year. Forty-nine banks are included in
the tabulation.




ITEMS

ooo omitted
June 15 May 11 June 17
1932
1932
1931

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments)_____ $123,955 $132,686
211,632 212,659
All other loans_____________
Total loans and discounts___ 335,587 345,345
Investments in stocks and bonds 247,689 239,117
33,433
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
44,282
Cash in vaults_____________
12,625
11,915
Demand deposits....................... 288,403 280,931
Time deposits............................. 226,282 225,999
5,164
Borrowed from F. R. Bank.
6,315

$161,092
258,775
419,867
220,818
38,252
15,384
333,405
262,495
4,234

Between May 11 and June 15, this year, total
loans and discounts at the forty-nine reporting
banks declined by $9,758,000, loans on stocks and
bonds decreasing $8,731,000 and all other loans de­
creasing $1,027,000. The decline in loans during the
month was larger than normally occurs at this sea­
son; in fact, prior to the past two years loans
tended to change relatively little at this time of
year. The reporting banks increased their invest­
ments in bonds by $8,572,000 during the past
month, and also increased their reserve deposits
at the Federal reserve bank by $10,849,000, the
latter an unusually large increase which is prob­
ably temporary. Cash in vaults decreased mod­
erately between May 11 and June 15, dropping
$710,000, but for the first time since July 1931 both
demand and time deposits increased. Demand de­
posits rose $7,472,000 during the month, in spite
of the decline in loans previously mentioned, and
time deposits rose $283,000. The reporting banks
increased their borrowing at the Federal reserve
bank by $1,151,000 between May 11 and June 15
this year.
A comparison of the condition figures for June
15,1932, with those for June 17, 1931, shows marked
changes in loans, investments and deposits. During
the past year, loans on securties declined by $37,137,000 and all other loans, which are chiefly agri­
cultural or commercial, decreased by $47,143,000, a
total decline in loans and discounts amounting to
$84,280,000. During the same period, the reporting
banks increased their investments in stocks and
bonds by $26,871,000, and on June 15, 1932, their in­
vestments in securities amounted to approximately
74 per cent of their loans, an unusually high per­
centage. Aggregate reserve balances of the fortynine reporting banks at the reserve bank rose by
$6,030,000 during the year, but on June 15, 1932,
their cash in vault was lower by $3,469,000 than on
June 17, 1931. Total deposits in the reporting in­
stitutions declined $82,215,000 between the middle
of June last year and the corresponding date this
year, demand deposits decreasing $46,002,000 and
time deposits falling $36,213,000. On June 15 this
year the forty-nine banks were borrowing $2,081,000 more from the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond than they were borrowing on June 17 last
year. Sixteen of the forty-nine reporting banks
were borrowing from the reserve bank on the 1932

MONTHLY REVIEW
date, while only eight of the same banks were bor­
rowing a year ago.

Time and Savings Deposits

Time deposits in forty-nine regularly reporting
member banks and aggregate deposits in twelve
mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $439,403,447 at the end of May 1932, a decrease under time
and savings deposits totaling $439,768,151 at the
end of April this year, and materially less than
$470,421,317 in deposits at the end of May last
year.

Debits to Individual Accounts
CITIES

ooo omitted
Total debits, five weeks ended
May 11,
June 15,
June 17,
1932
1932
1931

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_______
Portsmouth, Va_____
Raleigh, N. C.-------Richmond, Va______
Roanoke, Va---------Spartanburg, S. C.__
Washington, D. \C.__
Wilmington, '.N. C_
_
Winston-Salem, N. C

$ 9,145
309,942
12,577
34,468
38,017
14,254
6,217
4,871
17,199
11,798
9,672
6,633
12,125
14,341
8,650
41,762
4,002
14,852
114,223
20,911
6,472
224,403
8,574
26,531

$ 10,223
336,674
13,548
33,799
40,038
17,653
6,603
5,301
16,870
11,368
11,560
7,168
13,506
14,961
8,482
42,059
4,153
15,767
121,354
23,032
7,462
246,119
9,253
25,366

$ 13,261
430,325
20,891
44,176
51,355
26,818
9,213
6,711
25,423
21,352
17,038
9,297
19,962
18,984
12,347
58,396
5,616
21,128
138,817
29,394
10,898
280,316
13,273
35,840

Fifth District Totals

$971,639

$1,042,319

$1,320,831

Aggregate payments by checks drawn on clear­
ing house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth
Federal reserve district are shown in the accom­
panying table for three equal periods of five weeks,
ended June 15, 1932, May 11, 1932, and June 17,
1931, thus affording opportunity for comparison of
the latest available figures with those for the pre­
ceding like period this year and the corresponding
period a year ago. In comparing 1932 with 1931
figures, it should be remembered that lower price
levels in many lines this year affect the comparison.
For the five weeks ended June 15 this year, five
cities reported higher figures than for the preceding
five weeks, ended May 11, but no city reported
higher figures than for the corresponding five
weeks of 1931. The cities which showed higher
figures than for the preceding month were Winston-Salem, with an increase of 4.6 per cent,
Greensboro with an increase of 3.8 per cent, and
Charleston, W. Va., Durham and Newport News, all
with increases of 2.0 per cent. The district debits
for the five weeks ended June 15, 1932, averaged




3

6.8 per cent less than debits for the five weeks
ended May 11, 1932, and 26.4 per cent less than
debits for the like period ended June 17, 1931. The
daily average of debits during the five weeks ended
June 15, 1932, was approximately the same as the
daily average for the five preceding weeks this year,
the later period containing fewer business days on
account of holidays throughout the entire district
or in one or more of the several states.

Commercial Failures
The record of business failures in the Fifth Fed­
eral reserve district in May was better than the
record for the United States as a whole. Bank­
ruptcies in the Fifth district numbered 165 in May,
compared with 149 in May 1931, an increase of 10.7
per cent, but last month’s aggregate liabilities in­
volved were only $2,032,935 compared, with $2,296,923 in May last year, a decrease of il.5 per cent.
The number of failures in May 1932 was next to
the lowest reported for any month this year, but
exceeded the number of failures in May of any
other year since 1922. May 1932 liabilities were
the lowest for any month since last October, and
were exceeded by May figures in ten of the past
thirteen years, 1919, 1920 and 1926 being the only
years in which lower liabilities were reported in
May than were reported for May 1932. The United
States reported 2,788 failures in May, compared
with 2,248 in May last year, an increase of 24.0 per
cent, and liabilities last month totaling $83,763,521
showed an increase of 56.9 per cent in comparison
with $53,371,212 in liabilities for May 1931. Ten of
the twelve reserve districts reported more failures
for the 1932 month, and seven districts reported in­
creased liabilities.

Employment
The employment situation in the Fifth District is
giving officials and welfare agencies more and more
concern as month after month passes without any
reduction in the number of persons who are unable
to obtain steady employment. I t was hoped that
there would be some revival of work in the spring,
but the seasonal increase has been very slight this
year. Construction work in the cities is almost
non-existent, and practically no industrial building is
being done. About the only construction work be­
ing carried on in any volume is Government work
in Washington and public work on streets, sewers,
roads, etc., but even this type of work is in smaller
amount than it was two years ago. In an effort to
meet the general demand for lower—or at least for
no higher—taxes, cities, counties and states are
holding back work that probably would be done in
more prosperous times. Reduced purchasing power
has lowered the public’s demands for consumers’
goods, and therefore practically all industrial
plants are operating on restricted schedules, and in
many cases are temporarily closed to prevent ac­
cumulation of manufactured goods in their ware­
houses.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Cotal Production
The total production of bituminous coal in the
United States in May 1932 amounted to 18,384,000
net tons, compared with 20,300,000 tons mined dur­
ing April and 28,314,000 tons in May last year. Total
production of soft coal during the present calendar
year to June 11 (approximately 138 working days)
amounted to 133,284,000 tons, the lowest figure for
the corresponding period of recent years. In addi­
tion to the effects of the depression, bituminous
coal production has been reduced in the past two
months by a strike extending from the W est Vir­
ginia Panhandle to Illinois.
A report of the Bureau of Mines, Department of
Commerce, issued early in June, gave coal produc­
tion figures by states for the month of April. West
Virginia held first place with 6,212,000 net tons.
The states of W est Virginia, Virginia and Mary­
land mined a total of 6,901,000 tons in April, or 34
per cent of the National production. The relatively
high percentage of total output shown by the Fifth
district states was due partly to the strike in some
other producing sections. Tidewater shipments of
coal through Hampton Roads in April 1932 totaled
1,429,000 tons, compared with 1,496,000 tons shipped
in March this year and 1,629,000 tons shipped in
April last year. Hampton Roads, Baltimore and
Charleston loaded 67 per cent of total tidewater
shipments during April 1932.

Textiles
The textile industry in the Fifth reserve district,
which held its own better than many other indus­
tries during the early part of the depression, has
recently restricted operations further, and in some
cases mills have been closed entirely for the pres­
ent. Cotton consumption in the Fifth district in
May 1932 totaled 158,464 bales, of which North
Carolina mills used 78,550 bales, South Carolina
mills 71,421 bales, and Virgina mills 8,493 bales.
Consumption of cotton in the district totaled 178,266 bales in April 1932 and 208,822 bales in May
1931. May 1932 consumption in Virginia and the
Carolinas was 47.67 per cent of National consump­
tion, a lower figure than 48.54 per cent of National
consumption in April this year but higher than
44.87 per cent in May last year.

Cotton Statistics

recovered somewhat and moved upward to 4.99
cents on June 17, the latest date for which figures
are available. The June 17 price compared with
8.21 cents per pound on June 19, 1931, a difference
of $16 per bale in favor of the earlier year. The
following values of a 500-pound bale of middling
grade upland cotton on the Friday nearest the mid­
dle of June of each of the past eleven years shows
how seriously the cotton planter has been hit by
the current depression: 1932, $24.95; 1931, $41.05;
1930, $66.40; 1929, $92.50; 1928, $101.05; 1927,
$79.05; 1926, $84.85; 1925, $115.70; 1924, $140.00;
1923, $138,80; 1922, $105,75; 1921, $51.40; 1920,
$206.00.
Consumption of cotton in the United States in
May 1932 totaled 332,439 bales, compared with 367,280 bales used in April this year and 465,363 bales
in May 1931. Total consumption for the ten months
of the present cotton season—August 1 to May 31—
amounted to 4,269,664 bales, compared with 4,358,189 bales consumed in the corresponding period of
the 1930-1931 season. Manufacturing establish­
ments held 1,463,389 bales on May 31, compared
with 1,532,967 bales held on April 30 and 1,257,616
bales on May 31, 1931. Public warehouses and com­
presses held 7,608,604 bales in storage at the end
of May this year, compared with 8,163,937 bales so
held a month earlier and 5,490,017 bales on May
31 last year. May exports totaled 500,871 bales,
compared with 335,796 bales sent abroad in May
1931. Exports during the ten months of this cotton
year totaled 7,897,867 bales, compared with 6,245,465 bales shipped over seas during the correspond­
ing ten months ended May 31, 1931. Spindles
active at some time during May numbered 21,639,352, compared with 23,409,246 in April this year and
26,379,082 in May 1931.
Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states
totaled 287,655 bales in May, compared with 311,773
bales used in April and 361,680 bales in May 1931.
Last month's consumption in the cotton growing
states amounted to 86.53 per cent of National con­
sumption, a higher figure than 84.89 per cent in
April this year and 77.72 per cent in May 1931.
Of the 287,655 bales of cotton consumed in the cot­
ton growing states in May, the Fifth district mills
used 158,464 bales, or 55.09 per cent, compared with
57.74 per cent of Southern consumption attained in
the district in May last year.

Tobacco Manufacturing

Between the middle of May and the middle of
June, spot cotton prices on ten leading Southern j On June 15, the Commissioner of Internal Revemarkets declined further and reached the lowest I nue issued a report on taxes collected in May and
figure on record during the first half of June. In the eleven months ended May 31 on manufactured
our Review last month we quoted the average price for tobacco products. May production of cigarettes in
middling upland cotton, % inch staple, as 5.34 the United States numbered 8,685,337,417, compared
cents per pound on May 13. On May 20 the aver­ with 10,447,680,180 cigarettes manufactured in May
age price was up to 5.54 cents, but on May 27 it 1931. Smoking and chewing tobacco declined from
was 5.28 cents. On June 3 the average price had 27,381,881 pounds in May last year to 24,996,958
dropped below the 5 cents line to 4.87 cents, and pounds in May this year. Cigars manufactured
continued downward to 4.86 cents on June 10, but dropped from 467,299,661 in May 1931 to 368,553,366




MONTHLY REVIEW
in May 1932. Snuff production fell from 3,397,806
pounds to 2,812,993 pounds. Since about 88 per
cent of American made cigarettes are manufactured
in the Fifth reserve district, the district manu­
factured approximately 7,643,000,000 cigarettes last
month. During the eleven months ended May 31,
1932, taxes on cigarettes totaled $285,880,564, com­
pared with $324,430,473 collected in the correspond­
ing period of the preceding year. Taxes on smok­
ing and chewing tobacco decreased during the same
period from $53,380,700 to $53,058,427.

Agricultural Notes
Maryland. A wheat crop of about 7,277,000 bushels
is forecast for 1932. W heat prospects improved
during the month of May, but it is not likely that
this year’s crop will be as large as that of last year
when production totaled 9,696,000 bushels. A peach
crop just half the size of last year’s is in prospect,
the forecast being 400,000 bushels compared with
800.000 bushels in 1931. Peach trees bloomed well
this spring, considering the very heavy crop they
bore last year, but suffered considerable loss of
blossoms and fruit from cool, wet weather in May.
Condition of apples is reported at 54 per cent, seven
points below average for this date and 29 per cent
lower than on June 1 last year. Rye prospects have
improved since May 1, and a crop of 280,000 bushels
is expected, compared with last year’s yield of
378.000 bushels. Hay crops and pastures improved
slightly during May and the condition of these
crops was about up to average on June 1. Farmers
in Maryland report heavy infestations of insects in
nearly all parts of the State, wheat is suffering from
leaf rust, and blight has developed in many pear
and apple orchards.
Virginia crops did not make satisfactory progress
during May as weather conditions were unfavor­
able, and therefore prospects on June 1 were much
less promising than a year ago. Farmers reported
that they were having considerable difficulty in
securing a stand of corn, cotton and peanuts be­
cause of poor germination of seed and injury to
the young plants from cut worms. Tobacco grow­
ers report considerable injury to plants from blue
mold and insects. Dry weather has greatly re­
tarded transplanting tobacco and on June 1 a much
smaller percentage of the crop than usual had been
set out. Prospects for fruit, with the exception of
berries, are much below last year’s large crop and
even below the ten-year average. There is general
complaint throughout the State that damage from
insects has been more severe this season than usual.
The wheat crop in Virginia is expected to yield
8.190.000 bushels this year, compared with the large
crop of 13,266,000 bushels in 1931. The oat crop
made favorable progress during the first part of
May but the recent dry weather retarded growth.
Hay crops made considerable growth during the
first part of May but prospects declined the latter
part due to the lack of rainfall. The first cutting
of alfalfa was very good, but prospects for the sec­




5

ond cutting were poor on June 1. General rains
in the first half of June probably improved most
crops materially, but official estimates as to the im­
provement are not yet available. The production
of early potatoes, based on the June 1 condition,
was forcast as 7,806,000 bushels, compared with
10.639.000 bushels harvested last year, most of the
decline in probable production being due to reduced
acreage. W eather conditions in the second half of
May were very unfavorable for the growth of pota­
toes, but good rains in June probably improved
prospects considerably.
West Virginia crops suffered in May from cool
nights, light frosts in some sections, and a lack of
moisture. On June 1, the wheat crop showed a con­
dition of 78 per cent in comparison with 85 per cent
at this time last year, indicating production of only
1.539.000 bushels in 1932 against 2,373,000 bushels in
1931. Rye prospects are similar to those of wheat,
and the forecast of probable production is only
105.000 bushels this year compared with 259,000
bushels harvested last year. May was too cold and
dry for the oat crop and on June 1 the condition of
oats was 70 per cent as against 88 per cent a year
earlier. All hay crops are short. Pastures show
the effect of the lack of moisture, and are short in
most sections of the State. Prospects for apples
are poorer than last year. Conditions are w orst in
the Ohio Valley where freezing weather caught the
trees in bloom. Prospects for the peach crop are
the poorest of all fruit crops. After extremely large
production in 1931 a light bloom was reported from
many sections and frost damage during April
caused further injury.
The Carolinas have less favorable crop prospects this
year than they had a year ago, on the whole. The
weather has been cool, and South Carolina especial­
ly suffered from lack of moisture during May.
Prospective yields of grain crops are generally
lower than the excellent yields of 1931. Cor­
respondents report to the State agricultural statis­
ticians that approximately a third less fertilizer was
used under 1932 crops than under the crops last
year.

Construction
jBuilding permits issued in thirty-two leading Fifth
district cities in May 1932 numbered 2,835, com­
pared with 3,432 permits issued in May 1931, a de­
crease of 17.4 per cent. Estimated valuation figures
for all classes of permits issued last month totaled
only $3,984,336, compared with $10,192,488 valua­
tion for permits issued in May 1931, a decrease this
year of 60.9 per cent. A much larger part of this
year’s permits was for small jobs, chiefly of repair
work, than was the case last year. Among the
larger cities Richmond and Charleston, W. Va., re­
ported increased valuation figures for May this
year, but Baltimore, Norfolk, Charlotte, WinstonSalem and Washington reported lower figures. Only
six of the thirty-tw o cities showed higher figures

MONTHLY REVIEW

6

BuildingPermits Issued in May 1932 and 1931
CITIES

Permits Issued
1932
1931

Baltimore, Md--------- 1,289
Cumberland, Md.-----13
Frederick, Md--------16
Hagerstown, Md.---8
Salisbury, Md--------18
Danville, Va---------14
Lynchburg, Va-------31
Norfolk, Va.----------- 119
Petersburg, Va------5
Portsmouth, Va.-----26
Richmond, Va.-------- 112
Roanoke, Va.--------20
Bluefield, W. Va.......
12
Charleston, W. Va.—
79
Clarksburg, W. Va.....
21
Huntington, * Va—
W.
14
Asheville, N. C------34
Charlotte, N. C.------36
Durham, N. C.____
19
Greensboro, N. C.......
44
High Point, N. C,
8
Raleigh, N. C._____
11
Rocky Mount, N. C_
3
Salisbury, N. C....... .
5
Wilmington, N. C.
12
Winston-Salem, N. C.
49
Charleston, S. C____
37
Columbia, S. C_____
67
Greenville, S. C_____
24
Rock Hill, S. C.
14
Spartanburg, S. C,
16
Washington, D. G.... 659
Totals __________

2,835

Total Valuation
1931
1932

1,407 $2,087,520
3,556
13
9,438
17
2,410
20
7,950
34
9,235
13
27,761
38
100,235
155
2,230
10
24,258
.39
174,277
124
9,745
38
12,045
9
58,510
31
16,037
20
13,725
24
5,755
20
117,195
49
109,625
22
16,759
61
14,740
16
22,610
19
1,670
6
8,025
9
8,050
17
66,730
209
12,055
32
53,405
39
34,125
21
6,080
11
2,445
26
946,135
883

$3,287,160
6,830
31,150
55,315
35,100
3,800
47,659
160,050
19,930
25,005
168,080
282,448
8,180
33,965
30,490
23,590
38,012
189,676
66,845
100,017
20,305
14,907
13,500
180,500
17,100
228,000
28,615
58,685
61,585
14,180
8,230
4,933,579

3,432 S3,984,336

$10,192,488

for May 1932 than for May 1931, these being, in
addition to Richmond and Charleston, W. Va.,
previously mentioned, Bluefield, Danville, Durham
and Raleigh.
Contracts actually awarded for construction work in
the Fifth district in May 1932 totaled $30,540,265,
according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation. This figure is the largest total re­
ported for any of the eleven reserve districts for
which Dodge figures are collected, the Twelfth, or
San Francisco, district figures not being available.
The large total for the Richmond district is due
entirely to extensive Government projects in the
District of Columbia. Last month’s contracts in
the Fifth district were 45 per cent greater in
amount than $20,971,802 in awards in May last
year. Contracts for residential types of construc­
tion last month totaled $3,174,805, or only 10.4 per
cent of the whole, compared with about 32 per cent
in May 1931, when residential contracts totaled
$6,681,837.

Retail Trade, 33 Department Stores
Department store sales in the Fifth reserve dis­
trict in May were 17.2 per cent less in dollar
amount than sales in May 1931, but at least a part
of the decline was doubtless due to price recessions
during the year. Aggregate sales in the first five
months of 1932 were 17.5 per cent less than total
sales in the corresponding period last year.




Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District
May 1932 sales, compared with sales in May 1931:
—23.6
—18.2
—12.6
—232
—17.2
Total sales since January 1, 1932, compared with sales in
January-May 1931:
—19.2
—18.8
—14.0
—24.3
—17.5
May 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on May 31, 1931:
—12.5
—15.2
—10.7
—19.0
—13.7
May 31, 1932, stocks, compared with stocks on April 30, 1932:
— 1.7
— 3.1
— 2.9
— 3.8
— 3.0
Number of times stock was turned in May 1932:
.303
.309
.334
.228
.309
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1932:
1.459
1.471
1,524
1.050
1.441
Percentage of May 1, 1932, receivables collected in May:
292
22.5
29.2
25.3
25.7

Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores on
May 31, 1932, totaled 13.7 per cent less, at retail
selling values, than stocks on May 31, 1931, and
also showed a decline of 3.0 per cent since April
30 this year. Stocks were turned an average of
.309 times during the month of May, and since
January 1 stocks have been turned an average of
1.441 times, a lower figure than 1.537 times stocks
were turned during the first five months of 1931.
Collections in 32 of the 33 reporting stores aver­
aged 25.7 per cent of receivables outstanding on
May 1, a lower percentage of receivables collected
during the month than 28.2 per cent collected in
May, 1931.

Wholesale Trade, 62 Firms
22

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

13

Hardware

12

Drugs

May 1932 sales, compared with sales in May 1931:
—20.5
—31.6 :
—19.5
—25.6
-20.5
May 1932 sales, compared with sales in April 1932:
- 4.6
— 6.0
—12.5
—11.8
—13.4
Jan.-May 1932 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-May 1931:
—15.9
—26.6
—12.2
—18.3
—16.9
May 31, 1932, stocks, compared with May 31, 1931, stocks:
—14.4(8*) —13.0(4*) —21.6(5*) — 8.7(7*)
May 31, 1932, stocks, compared with April 30, 1932, stocks:
— 2.0(8*) — 6.6(4*) —11.1(5*) — 2.7(7*)
Percentage of May 1, 1932, receivables collected in May:
56.3(13*) 32.0(6*)
35.7(6*)
29.3(11*) 48.0(8*)
* Number of reporting firms.
t

The accompanying table shows in percentage
form how sales in five wholesale lines in May 1932
and in the first five months of this year compared
with sales in May 1931 and in the first five months
of last year. It also shows changes in stocks on
hand, and finally gives the percentages of col­
lections during May to total accounts receivable as
of May 1,1932.
(Compiled June 21, 1932)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

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

Volume of production in basic industries and em­
ployment at factories decreased further in May,
and wholesale prices declined. Foreign withdrawals
of gold, which had been in large volume in May
and the first half of June, practically stopped after
the middle of the month.

Production and Employment

Production at mines and factories declined fur­
ther in May, and the Board’s seasonally adjusted
index of industrial production showed a reduction
from 64 per cent of the 1923-1925 average in April
to 61 per cent in May. Output of coal was sub­
stantially reduced, particularly in the anthracite
fields; shipments of iron ore showed less than the
usual seasonal increase, production of iron and
steel declined, and activity at textile mills and shoe
factories was further curtailed. In the automobile
industry output increased considerably.
In the first part of June activity in the steel and
cotton industries was reported to have declined fur­
ther, while output of automobiles continued at
about the same rate as in the latter part of May.
Further reductions in employment and earnings
of factory workers accompanied the smaller vol­
ume of manufacturing output in May, particularly
in the steel and machinery industries, and in the
textile and clothing trades. Employment at auto­
mobile plants and in the seasonally active food in­
dustries showed an increase.
Value of building contracts awarded, according
to reports to the F. W. Dodge Corporation, after
increasing somewhat in April and May, declined
slightly in the first half of June, reflecting chiefly
smaller awards for public works and other nonresidential building.

Distribution

Railroad freight traffic decreased further in May,
the largest reduction being in shipments of coal
and miscellaneous freight. Sales of department stores
in leading cities, which had increased substantially dur­
ing April, were smaller in May.




Wholesale Prices
Prices of commodities at wholesale were 1.7 per
cent lower in May than in April, according to the
Bureau of Labor Statistics. There were large de­
creases in prices of many domestic agricultural
products and of hides and textiles. Prices of pe­
troleum products advanced.
During the first three weeks of June, market
quotations for a number of non-agricultural com­
modities were relatively steady, and prices of sugar,
meats, and livestock increased. Prices of wheat,
after considerable fluctuations, were at unusually
low levels at the beginning of the third week in
June.

Bank Credit

Withdrawals of gold from the United States con­
tinued through May and the first half of June, and
the country’s stock of monetary gold declined by
$435,000,000 between May 4 and June 15. A fter
that date there was no further decline in the total
stock of monetary gold, continued gold exports
representing gold previously earmarked by foreign
central banks. During the first part of May con­
tinued purchases of United States Government se­
curities by the reserve banks enabled member banks
further to reduce their discounts; in later weeks,
however, funds released through these purchases
were absorbed by the demand for gold for export,
and there was also a decrease in member bank re­
serve balances.
Loans and investments of reporting member
banks in leading cities, which had declined sharply
earlier in the year, showed wide fluctuations after
the middle of May. In the middle of June total
loans and investments were larger than a month
earlier, the increase in holdings of United States
securities being more than sufficient to offset de­
clines in other investments and in loans.
Money rates in the open m arket remained at low
levels. Rates on prime commercial paper were re­
duced to a range of 2^£-2^ per cent in the second
week of June.

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