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MONTHLY

REVIEW

C REDIT, B U S I N E S S AND A G R I C U L T U R A L C ONDIT IONS

W ILLIAM W. HOXTON, C h a i r m a n

and

F ederal R e se r v e A gent

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

RICHMOND, V IRG IN IA

F

M ARCH 31, 1930

EBRUARY is a between-seasons month, business difficulty in keeping their mills running as the Fifth
being normally dull between the Christmas and district. Retail trade in department stores was better
Easter shopping periods. In February this year in February this year than in the same month last year,
trade followed seasonal trends in most instances, but twenty-one of thirty-five reporting stores showing
results were uneven, some indicators of business ac­ larger sales in the 1930 month. Wholesale trade also
tivity appearing favorable a n d others unfavorable. compared more favorably with the trade of February
Member banks in the Fifth reserve district were bor­ last year than other recent months compared with the
rowing 57.5 per cent less from the reserve bank on corresponding months of the preceding year, three of
March 15th than on March 15th last year ,and in turn five reporting lines selling more goods last month than
were lending less to their customers. Demand de­ in February 1929. Building permits issued and con­
posits in member banks were down moderately this tracts awarded in February were below those of Feb­
year in comparison with those a year ago, but deposits ruary 1929 in aggregate value, but there are signs that
in mutual savings banks in Baltimore at the end of a considerable amount of construction work is being
February were the highest on record and time deposits planned for the near future. Tobacco markets closed
in reporting member banks were only slightly lower after a successful season, sales probably totaling some­
than last year. Contrary to seasonal trend, member what above the previous year’s sales and prices this
banks reduced their rediscounting at the Federal Re­ year being slightly higher on the whole. Early prepa­
serve Bank of Richmond between February 15th and rations for this season’s farm work are well advanced,
March 15th, early crop planting needs usually bring­ and winter crops are in good condition. On the whole
ing an expansion of reserve bank credit at this season. the farmers in the district seem to be in fair shape to
Payments by check through clearing house banks in undertake the new season’s activities except in the cot­
the leading cities of the Fifth district were less in the ton sections of the two Carolinas, where conditions are
four weeks ended March 12, 1930, than in either the probably worse than they have been for a number of
preceding four weeks this year or the corresponding years, due to low yields and poor prices for cotton.
period in 1929, but the decline was not large. Business
failures in the Fifth district in February this year Reserve Bank Statement.
000 omitted
were more numerous and liabilities involved were great­
ITEMS
er than in February last year, but the figures for the
Mar. 15 Feb. 15 Mar. 15
1930
1930
current month compare favorably with other recent
1929
Fcbruarys, and the district record for the month was
better in both number of insolvencies and liabilities Rediscounts ................................ $ 17,289 $ 21,149 $ 40,706
paper .....................
12,918
14,124
12,637
involved than the average for the United States. La­ Open market securities ..............
Government
17,322
9,902
2,704
bor conditions did not improve materially during Feb­
Total earning assets.................
47,529
45,175
56,047
ruary and early March, but the outlook for future em­ Circulation of Fed. Res. notes....
77,297
81,543
73,761
ployment brightened somewhat. Coal production in Members’ reserve deposits ....... .
65,932
65,775
66,911
93,970
February was less than in either January 1930 or Feb­ Cash reserves ............................. . 105,262 113,216
72.96
75.69
66.41
ruary 1929, chiefly due to warm weather which mater­ Reserve r a tio .............................. ..
ially reduced demand for fuel. The situation in tex­
Contrary to seasonal trend, rediscounts for member
tiles continues unsatisfactory, and cotton consumption
banks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond de­
in the Fifth district last month was much below that
clined between the middle of February and the mid­
of February last year, but nevertheless, the Fifth dis­ dle of March. About 30 per cent of the decrease was
trict’s percentage of total consumption was higher in in city bank borrowing, but there was a material drop
February 1930 than in February 1929, showing clearly in country bank borrowing at a time of the year when
that other sections are experiencing as much or .more banks in agricultural sections normally increase their



2

MONTHLY REVIEW

rediscounting to meet crop planting needs. The Rich­
mond bank reduced its portfolio of bankers’ accept­
ances purchased in the open market during the past
month, but considerably increased its holdings of Gov­
ernment securities, thereby causing a slight net increase
in total earning assets. The circulation of Federal
reserve notes decreased further between February 15th
and March 15th, book credit rather than currency be­
ing chiefly used at this season of the year. Member
bank reserve balances at the reserve bank increased last
month, but the rise was no more than an average fluc­
tuation. The cash reserves of the Federal Reserve
Bank of Richmond declined last month by about the
additional amount invested in Government securities.
The several changes enumerated reduced the ratio of
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined on
March 15th by 2.73 points, in comparison with the
ratio of February 15th.
At the middle of March this year rediscounts for
member banks held by the Federal Reserve Bank of
Richmond were less than half the amount held on
March 15th last year, but an examination of the ac­
companying table shows a large increase in Government
security holdings and a small increase in bankers' ac­
ceptances held. The increases in these two items were
insufficient to balance the decline in rediscounts, how­
ever, and total earning assets showed a decline during
the year of approximately $8,500,000. On March 15,
1930, the volume of Federal reserve notes in actual cir­
culation was about $4,500,000 higher than a year earl­
ier, but member bank reserve deposits were approxi­
mately $1,000,000 lower on the 1930 date. The de­
cline in reserve deposits was due chiefly to withdrawals
from the reserve system in the year, most of the with­
drawals resulting from bank suspensions or absorp­
tion of member banks by non-members. The changes
mentioned in the principal items of condition as of
March 15, 1930, in comparison with those of March
15, 1929, raised the cash reserves of the Richmond
bank to a higher level this year, and also raised the
ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined.
Member Bank Statement.
000 omitted
ITEMS

Mar. 12
1930

Feb. 12
1930

Mar. 13
1929

Loans on Stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments).............. $ 195,870 $ 192,139 $ 202,248
300.992
302,464
All other loans..............................
324,197
496,862 494,603
Total loans and investments....
526,445
Total inv. in bonds & stocks . , 151,534
155,109
154,410
Reserve balance at F. R. Bank....
37,979
41,713
39,870
Cash in vaults....... ......................
11,168
11,147
11,293
368,035
Net demand deposits..................
353,101
352,830
Time deposits..............................
240,171
240,177
244,786
Borowed from Fed. Res. Bank....
7,234
20,094
5,704

The figures in the above table are totals of the prin­
cipal items of condition as of the three dates for fiftyeight member banks in twelve of the leading cities of
the Fifth Federal reserve district. In order to allow
for changes in the list of reporting banks during the



past month or year, the figures have been adjusted to
make them as nearly comparable as may be.
Changes in the figures in the table were small during
the past month except in rediscounts at the Federal
reserve bank, which declined 21.2 per cent. Total
loans and discounts at the reporting banks increased
5/10ths of 1 per cent between February 12th and
March 12 th, loans on stocks and bonds rising 1.9 per
cent while all other loans decreased 5/ 10ths of 1 per
cent. Investments in bonds and securities declined 2.3
per cent during the month under review, but the fiftyeight banks increased their reserve balances at the
reserve bank by 5.0 per cent. Cash in vaults and net
demand deposits increased very slightly during the
month, but time deposits declined a very small frac­
tion of 1 per cent.
On March 12th this year every figure in the ac­
companying table was smaller than the corresponding
figure for March 13, 1929. The fifty-eight reporting
banks were lending 5.6 per cent less on the 1930 date
than a year earlier, loans on stocks and bonds having
declined 3.2 per cent and all other loans 7.2 per cent
during the year. Investments in bonds and securities
dropped 1.9 per cent between the 1929 and 1930 dates,
and reserve balances of the reporting banks at the
Federal reserve bank declined 4.4 per cent. Cash in
vaults dropped 1.1 per cent, and both demand and time
deposits declined moderately during the year. The
greatest change in the statement between March 12 ,
1930, and March 13, 1929, was in the amount of re­
discounts at the reserve bank, which declined by 71.6
per cent.
Debits to Individual Accounts.
000 omitted
CITIES

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

Total Debits, Four Weeks Ended
Mar. 12.
Feb. 12
Mar. 13
1930
1930
1929

22,102

384,451
20,715
37,345
46,876
20,709
8,735
7,630
25,622
20,364
20,381
8,929
20,172
21,420
10,256
56,077
4,869
16,383
118,328
30,558
12,452
217,768
13,196
32,253

$ 25,129
367,317
19,840
38,612
48,045
22,616
8,030
9,979
26,105
20,173
20,760
8,536
20,562
18,190
9,849
56,254
4,802
20,554
127,156
30,082
12,357
216,126
12, 921
38,855

$ 30,861
394,638
23,923
36.967
55,440
21,731
8,919
8,279
27,612
24,918
22,872
9,307
19,846
17,239
9,482
57,549
4,548
16,307
125,864
27,829

$1,176,591

$1,182,850

$1,253,220

12,325

244,329
16.968
35,467

The accompanying table shows aggregate payments
by check drawn on the clearing house banks in twenty-

MONTHLY REVIEW

four leading cities of the Fifth Federal reserve dis­
trict during three equal periods of four weeks each,
ended March 12th and February 12th this year and
March 13, 1929, thus affording opportunity for com­
parison of the latest available figures with those of the
preceding like period this year and the corresponding
period a year ago. These figures include all checks
drawn against depositors' accounts, whether individuals,
firms or corporations, and are considered to be one of
the leading barometers of general business activity.
An examination of the figures in the table shows a
decline in aggregate debits during the four weeks ended
March 12, 1930, in comparison with the preceding
period this year, ended February 12th, amounting to
$6,259,000, or one-half of 1 per cent. The individual
cities divided equally in gains or losses during the
latest period, twelve cities reporting higher and twelve
reporting lower totals. In comparison with figures
for the corresponding period in 1929, the figures for
the four weeks in 1930 show up more unfavorably,
only eight of the twenty-four cities reporting higher
figures this year and the total for all cities being $76,629,000, or 6.1 per cent, less than the total reported
a year ago. Five cities reported higher figures for the
four weeks ended March 12, 1930, than for either of
the earlier periods under review, these cities being
Lynchburg, Newport News, Portsmouth, Roanoke and
Spartanburg. Nine cities reported lower figures for
the latest period than for either the preceding like
period in 1930 or the corresponding period in 1929.
Baltimore and Washington gained last month in com­
parison with the preceding four weeks this year, but
both showed declines in comparison with the four
1929 weeks. Richmond was. among the cities which
reported lower figures for the four weeks ended March
12 th than for either of the earlier periods. Charleston,
W. Va., Huntington and Raleigh showed lower figures
for the latest period in comparison with those of the
preceding period this year, but reported higher figures
than for the corresponding period last year. The de­
cline in debits this year in comparison with the figures
of 1929 is probably due in large part to lessened ac­
tivity in stock market operations, and some price de­
clines during the year also played their part in bringing
about the reduction in total payments by check.
Savings and Time Deposits.
Twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore had ag­
gregate deposits totaling $191,063,540 at the end of
February this year, the highest figure on record, com­
pared with $190,250,263 on January 31st this year
and $187,823,332 on February 28, 1929. Time de­
posits in fifty-eight reporting member banks on March
12 , 1930, totaled $240,171,000, practically the same
figure reported on February 12th this year but some­
what less than $244,786,000 of time deposits in the
same banks on March 13th last year.
Business Insolvencies.
Bankruptcies of business firms in February 1930
in the Fifth reserve district numbered 145, compared
with 128 in February 1929, but this year’s insolvencies
were fewer than those of February 1928 or February



3

1927. Liabilities last month totaled $2,417,925, a high­
er figure than $1,942,076 reported in February last
year, but less than aggregate liabilities reported in any
other February except in 1926 back to 1920. The
record of the Fifth district last month in comparison
with February 1929 was better than the National rec­
ord, the district increase in number of failures being
13.3 per cent while the increase in the number of
failures in the United States was 15.1 per cent. Lia­
bilities of insolvencies in the Fifth district increased
24.5 per cent over those for February a year ago, but
the National increase was 50.8 per cent, more than
twice the district rise.
Employment Conditions.
The number of unemployed persons in the Fifth
district seems to have remained about the same during
the past six weeks. Some additional work developed
in certain industrial plants, but some others reduced
working forces. The prospects for work in the near
future probably improved, however, especially f o r
workers in building trades and unskilled laborers who
seek employment in roadj work. South Carolina’s
road bonds were sustained by the highest courts, and
it now appears likely that work on an extensive scale
will begin in that state in a short time. Congress
passed a bill authorizing the enlargement of the Rich­
mond post office building and the construction of a
separate structure for parcel post mail, the two pro­
jects totaling $1,500,000. Several other localities are
planning extensive construction programs, and in Wash­
ington a very large amount of Government work is
already under way or is planned for the near future.
Coal.
The total production of bituminous coal for the
country as a whole during the month of February
amounted to 39,555,000 net tons as against 49,778,000
tons mined during the longer month of January 1930
and 47,900,000 tons in February 1929. Comparatively
warm weather in February lowered output materially.
Total production of soft coal during the present coal
year to March 8th (approximately 288 working days)
amounts to 491,037,000 net tons, a higher tonnage
than in the corresponding periods of the two preceding
coal years but less than in 1926-27 or 1925-26. Coal
shipped by water through Hampton Roads, Balti­
more and Charleston, S. C., in February totaled 2,423,502 net tons.
The March 8th report of the Bureau of Mines, De­
partment of Commerce, shows production figures by
states for January. West Virginia led in bituminous
coal output with 12,193,000 net tons, Pennsylvania
ranking second with 11,643,000 tons and Illinois third
with 6,800,000 tons. The Fifth district coal areas,
West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, dug 27 per cent
of all soft coal mined in the United States in January,
a higher percentage than that attained by the district
in January 1929.
Textiles.
The situation in the textile field continues unsatis­
factory, with hand-to-mouth buying at low prices the

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

rule, according to reports from textile executives. The
lack of demand for cotton goods has made it hard to
keep workers employed without accumulating manu­
factured products in the warehouses of the mills.
The textilq manufacturing establishments of the
Fifth reserve district consumed only 216,798 bales of
cotton in February this year, North Carolina mills
using 115,357 bales, South Carolina mills 91,211 bales,
and Virginia mills 10,230 bales. Consumption of cot­
ton in the district totaled 256,777 bales in February
last year. The cotton used in the two Carolinas and
Virginia in February 1930 was 43.8 per cent of con­
sumption in the United States for that month, and com­
pared favorably with 43.2 per cent of National con­
sumption used in the same states in February 1929.
Cotton Statistics.
During the month between February 14th and March
14th, spot cotton prices continued to decline, and ac­
tually dropped for a few days below the 14 cents line
to the lowest point reached since April 16, 1927. In
our February 28th Review we quoted the average price
of upland short staple cotton, middling grade, on ten
leading Southern markets as 15.33 cents per pound
on February 14th, the latest date for which figures were
available. Since that time the average price has swung
back and forth between 14 and 15 cents, with a drop
on March 7th to 13.87 cents. The average price on
March 14th was 14.45 cents. In 1929 spot cotton
prices rose in February and March, the average price
on March 15, 1929, being 20.07 cents, or approximately
$28 per bale above the March 14, 1930, price.
Consumption of cotton in the United States in Feb­
ruary 1930 totaled only 495,204 bales, compared with
577,235 bales used in January this year and 594,720
bales in February 1929. Total consumption for the
seven months of the present season—August 1 st to
February 28th—amounted to 3,815,041 bales, compared
with 4,042,365 bales consumed in the corresponding
period ended February 28, 1929. Manufacturing es­
tablishments held 1,811,639 bales on February 28th,
compared with 1,830,096 bales held on January 31st
and 1,744,229 bales on February 28, 1929. Public
warehouses and compresses held 4,858,609 bales in
storage at the end of February this year, compared
with 5,406,771 bales so held a month earlier and 3,862,223 bales on February 28th last year. February
exports totaled 402,074 bales, compared with 613,394
bales sent abroad in February 1929. Exports during
the seven months of this cotton year totaled 5,293,086
bales, compared with 6,190,118 bales shipped over seas
during the corresponding seven months ended Feb­
ruary 28, 1929. Spindles active in February num­
bered 28,926,580, compared with 29,198,134 in Janu­
ary this year and 31,008,794 in February 1929.
Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states
totaled 382,099 bales in February, compared with 451,519 bales used in January and 451,562 bales in Feb­
ruary 1929. Last month’s consumption in the cotton
growing states amounted to 77.16 per cent of National
consumption, compared with 75.93 per cent of National
consumption used in the cotton growing states in Feb­



ruary last year. Of the 382,099 bales of cotton concumed in the cotton growing states in February, the
Fifth district mills used 216,798 bales, or 56.74 per
cent.
The final ginning report on the 1929 cotton crop
was issued by the Census Bureau on March 20th, and
showed the year’s production to be 14,544,584 running
bales, the equivalent of 14,821,499 bales of 500 pounds
gross weight. The final ginning figure was 64/100ths
of 1 per cent below the final crop estimate of the Depa: tment of Agriculture made in December, and prob­
ably the decrease in the ginnings in comparison with
the December estimate was largely due to cotton left
in the fields unpicked because of the low price to which
the market fell at the end of the picking season. The
final ginning report credited North Carolina with 746,962 equivalent 500 pound bales, compared with a fore­
cast of only 735,000 bales for the year, but South Caro­
lina ginnings totaled only 829,455 bales, compared
with a forecast of 845,000 bales. Virginia ginnings
totaled 47,480 bales against a forecast of 44,000 bales.
South Carolina and Virginia grew larger crops in 1929
than in 1928, but North Carolina grew a smaller crop.
The district total of 1,623,897 bales in 1929 showed an
increase of 19,384 bales over the 1928 yield of 1,604,513 bales. The price situation was very unsatisfactory
to cotton growers last year, the average price from
August to December being about $6 per bale below the
low average of 1928, and after the end of 1929 the
price declined still more, bringing the difference be­
tween this year’s and last year’s prices still more sharp­
ly into contrast. It seems fair to estimate that the
1929 crop was sold for around $10 a bale less than the
1928 crop.
Tobacco Marketing.
Virginia flue-cured and Burley tobacco markets have
all closed for the season, and nearly all of the firecured markets are also closed, but the sun-cured mar­
kets at Richmond will remain open until April 1st.
Producers’ sales of leaf tobacco in Virginia in February
totaled 13,685,725 pounds, at an average of $13.72 per
hundred pounds, according to reports to the Commis­
sioner of Agriculture. Sales for February 1929 were
14,986,465 pounds, but the average price was only
$10.99 per hundred pounds. Season’s sales to March
1st amounted to 126,334,955 pounds, compared with
113,163,152 pounds sold to the same date last year,
and 137,345,288 pounds to March 1, 1928. Total sales
to March 1st are 96.2 per cent of the estimated sea­
son’s total, while last year 96.5 per cent was sold by
March. Flue-cured sales during February amounted
to 8,537,104 pounds, at an average of $12.79, while
for February 1929 sales amounted to 6,586,418 pounds
at an average of $10.54. Total sales of flue-cured to­
bacco for the season were 92,949,878 pounds at an
average of $17.31 per hundred pounds, while for the
previous season sales of this type amounted to 85,361,411 pounds at an average price of $17.07 per hun­
dred pounds. February sales of fire-cured tobacco
were considerably less than in the previous year, the
total being 4,159,335 pounds compared with 6,036,580
pounds last year. The average price declined to $15.84

5

MONTHLY REVIEW

per hundred pounds, but this year’s average was con­
siderably above the February 1929 average of $10.30.
Sales of sun-cured tobacco in February amounted to
992,832 pounds at an average of $12.64 per hundred,
while in February 1929 sales amounted to 1,706,493
pounds at an average of $10.22. Burley sales in Feb­
ruary were very much smaller than usual, the total
being 66,454 pounds at an average of $15.03 per hun­
dred. Total sales of this type for the season amounted
to 6,930,130 pounds, and the average price was $24.45,
compared with 5,017,120 pounds sold the previous sea­
son for an average of $30.43 per hundred.
North Carolina tobacco markets in the New Belt
were closed prior to February, but markets in the Old
Belt sold 8,167,158 pounds of growers’ tobacco last
month. The average price paid in February was
$13.40. February 1929 sales were not listed separately
last year, but were included in the season’s summary,
and therefore no comparative figures for those of
February 1930 are available. Winston-Salem led the
North Carolina markets in sales last month with 2,483,450 pounds, Henderson ranking second with 1 ,320,510 pounds and Oxford third with 1,124,082
pounds. Mebane paid $15.69 per hundred pounds,
leading all markets in price, Roxboro ranking second
with an average of $14.85 per hundred pounds. Total
sales on all North Carolina markets this season, in­
cluding closed markets, amounted to 481,456,651 pounds
prior to March 1st, approximately 95 per cent of the
forecast of production for tobacco in North Carolina
this year.
Tobacco Manufacturing.
Cigarettes manufactured in the Fifth reserve district
in February numbered approximately 6,898,979,000,
compared with 6,570,937,000 made in February 1929.
The Fifth district manufactures about 81 to 82 per
cent of all cigarettes made in the United States, and
also manufactures smoking tobacco and cigars in large
amounts. The district pays approximately 72 per cent
of all tobacco taxes paid to the Federal government.
Total taxes on all types of tobacco manufactures in
February in the United States amounted to $32,230,572,
of which about $23,206,032 was paid by Fifth district
states, compared with a total tax of $30,925,565 paid
in February 1929, of which the Fifth district paid
$22,266,432. Fewer cigars were manufactured last
month than in February 1929, but all other types of
tobacco manufactures increased over the corresponding
month of the previous year.
Agricultural Notes.
There is little activity on farms in February and
early March, but the weather this year was favorable
for such seasonal work as was to be done, and early
arrangements for this year’s farming are well ad­
vanced. Some early truck crops have been planted,
winter grains are in good condition, and pastures are
greening up early. Spring lambs are doing unusually
well. Warm weather advanced some fruit trees to
bud stage and there is danger of damage from late



j frosts, but apparently apples are not yet sufficiently

! advanced to be in serious danger. On the whole the
! position of the farmer seems favorable in the Fifth
I district except in the sections of the Carolinas in which
i cotton is the predominating crop.
In these localities
poor yields combined with low prices for cotton have
forced many cotton farmers heavily into debt.
Retail Trade, 35 Department Stores.
Baltimore

Washington

Other Cities

District

Feb. 1930 sales, compared with Feb. 1929:
7.1
1.7
— 3.0
2.9
Jan.-Feb. 1930 sales, compared with Jan.-Feb. 1929:
7.3
1.7
— 6.4
2.3
Feb. 28, 1930 stocks, compared with Feb. 28, 1929:
— 4.4
— .4
— 4.9
— 3.1
Feb. 28, 1930 stocks, compared with Jan. 31, 1930:
7.3
5.9
8.1
8.5
stock turned in February 1930:
.246
.263
.190
.239
stock turned since January 1, 1930:
.506
.510
.372
.476
Percentage of Feb. 1, 1930 receivables collected in Feb.:
23.9
29.6
29.6
26.7
—Denotes decreased percentage.

Retail trade in the Fifth reserve district, as reflected
in sales by thirty-five leading department stores, aver­
aged nearly 3 per cent above the volume of trade in
February 1929, and was up to seasonal level in com­
parison with January trade. Average sales last month
in both Baltimore and Washington were larger than
in the same month last year, although there were some
stores in both cities which did not report gains. In
the stores grouped under the heading of Other Cities
a majority showed decreased sales in the 1930 month,
the whole group declining 3 per cent. In total sales
this year—January 1st through February 28th—the
same results were attained as for last month, Baltimore
and Washington stores exceeding their 1929 sales for
the corresponding two months and the Other Cities
stores reporting a recession this year. A larger num­
ber of stores reported gains in February than the num­
ber that gained in January in comparison with sales in
the corresponding months of 1929.
Stocks increased seasonally during February with
the receipt of early spring merchandise, but on Feb­
ruary 28th stocks averaged approximately 3 per cent
less than at the end of February a year ago. The rate
of turnover of stock was higher in February and also
during the first two months combined than during the
corresponding periods last year. The average rate of
turnover from January 1st to February 28th was .476
times this year and .453 times in 1929.
The percentage of collections in February 1930 to
total accounts receivable on February 1st was lower
by 8/10ths of 1 per cent than the percentage for Feb­
ruary 1929. The Other Cities showed a higher per­
centage for the 1930 month, chiefly due# the inclusion
to
of Richmond in the group, but both Baltimore and
Washington reported decreased percentages.

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

Wholesale Trade, 69 Firms.
27
Groceries

10
Dry Goods

5
Shoes

15
Hardware

12
Drugs

Feb. 1930 sales, compared with Feb. 1929 sales:
3.3
— 8.1
3.0
- 5.9
1.1
Feb. 1930 sales, compared with Jan. 1930 sales:
— 7.1
2.6
17.1
-16.2
-12.4
Jan.-Feb. 1930 sales, compared with Jan.-Feb. 1929 sales:
1.0
- 5.1
9.8
- 6.0
-10.0
Feb. 28, 1930 stocks, compared with Feb. 28, 1929 stocks:
.3(10*) —17.1(4*)
16.7(4*) - 9.8(8*)
.........
Feb. 28, 1930 stocks, compared with Jan. 31, 1930 stocks:
— .1(10*)
1.5(4*) — 2.1(4*)
- 1.3(8*)
.........
Percentage of Feb. 1, 1930 receivables collected in Feb.:
59.0(17*)
33.7(7*)
20.7(5*)
30.0(12*)
55.4(9*)
— Decreased percentage.

* Number firms reporting.

Wholesale trade in February 1930 in the Fifth Fed­
eral reserve district was rather better than in recent
months in several lines. Grocery sales were less than
in the longer month of January, as were drug sales,
but both lines showed increased sales in comparison
with February 1929 sales. Shoe and dry goods sales
last month were seasonally larger than January sales,
and shoe sales were larger than in February last year,
but dry goods sales were less than in the earlier year,
partly due to price declines in cotton textiles. Hard­
ware sales in February compared unfavorably with
sales in both January 1930 and February 1929. Aggre­
gate sales during the first two months of 1930 were
larger in groceries and shoes than in the corresponding
two months last year but 1930 sales of dry goods, hard­
ware and drugs were smaller.
Stocks carried by the reporting dry goods firms in­
creased slightly during February, but grocery, shoe
and hardware stocks declined moderately. At the end
of February this year stocks of groceries and shoes
were larger than a year ago, but dry goods and hard­
ware stocks were materially smaller.
Collections in February were slower in all lines re­
ported upon except groceries than collections in Janu­
ary, and compared unfavorably with February 1929
collections in all lines except dry goods, in which the
percentage of collections during the month to out­




standing receivables as of February 1st was exactly
the same in both years. The percentage decline in gro­
cery and hardware collections last month in comparison
with February 1929 collections was less than 1 per
cent in each case, but shoe and drug collections ap­
peared to be definitely slower.
Building Permits Issued.
A detailed table of building permits issued in the
leading cities of the Fifth reserve district in February
1930 and February 1929 appears on the next
page. On the whole the record of February this
year compares unfavorably with the February 1929
record, eighteen of the thirty-two reporting cities show­
ing lower valuation figures for the 1930 month. All
of the larger centers reported smaller valuation figures
for February this year except Baltimore and WinstonSalem. Norfolk reported an increased volume of new
construction this year, but an unusually large amount
of alteration work in February 1929 put the total for
that month more than 50 per cent above the total valu­
ation for February 1930. Richmond showed a de­
crease of 75 per cent in total valuation last month and
Washington reported a decline of 79 per cent. It is
singular that the largest percentage increases were re­
ported by four South Carolina cities, in which state
general economic conditions are less favorable than in
any other state in the Fifth district, but none of these
four cities are in Eastern South Carolina.
Building Contracts Awarded.
According to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge
Corporation, contracts awarded for construction work
in the Fifth reserve district in February this year
totaled $28,707,070, including both urban and rural
construction, a lower total than $34,251,706 in con­
tracts awarded in February 1929 but a larger amount
than awards totaling $22,301,238 in February 1928.
Of the February 1930 contracts, $7,854,565 was for
residential structures, compared with $9,104,771 for
residence work in February last year. As mentioned
elsewhere in this Review, plans are being made for a
considerable volume of construction work in the Fifth
district, and the outlook for work during the next few
months appears better now than at this time last year.

(Compiled March 21, 1930)

7

MONTHLY REVIEW

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF FEBRUARY 1930 AND 1929.
Permits Issued
o
£

CITIES

New

Repairs

1930 1929
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32

Baltimore, Md......
Cumberland, Md...
Frederick, Md......
Hagerstown, Md...
Salisbury, Md___
Danville, Va.........
Lynchburg, Va.....
Norfolk, Va..........
Petersburg, Va.....
Portsmouth, Va....
Richmond, Va......
Roanoke, Va....... .
Bluefield, W. Va...
Charleston, W. Va.
Clarksburg, W. Va.
Huntington, W. Va.
Asheville, N. G.
Charlotte, N. C....
Durham, N. C.
Greensboro, N. C.
High Point, N. C...
Raleigh, N. C.
Rocky Mount, N.C.
Salisbury, N. C.....
Wilmington, N. C...
Winston-Salem, N. C—

Charleston, S. C....
Columbia, S. C.
Greenville, S. C.
Rock Hill, S. C.....
Spartanburg, S. C.
Washington, D. C.
Totals.............

1930

1929

New Construction
1930

1929

364
6
11
13
19
6
10
66
7
13
48
26
5
28
11
16
11
31
9
16
10
10
9
4
11
31
15
17
10
12
12
66

582
14
10
12
20
7
14
49
7
11
62
25
1
24
21
9
6
54
17
16
12
13
7
3
9
44
9
20
6
8
9
171

662
9
8
4
8
17
21
35
8
20
51
20
5
13
7
4
44
36
7
26
6
13
1
1
9
59
44
24
27
8
25
217

628 $ 2,484,360 $ 1,932,280
0
4,171
35,982
3
13,765
37,035
6
34,565
26,670
12
27,700
73,700
352
13.330
7
14
57,300
8,975
60
157,430
97,600
10,450
7
15,975
14
34.200
13 725
58
247,313
1,271,630
110,111
118,502
14
5,000
1
13,575
14
53,700
108,307
76,010
7
26,905
4
12,000
27,775
25
40,975
19,200
399.575
22
221,500
212,671
8
32,550
24
55.930
30.850
27,350
27,980
3
101,450
6
58.960
12,800
3
6,270
6,075
12,600
3
67,800
9
22.500
42
314,715
157,677
17,800
36
181,750
78,250
36
412,250
14,900
20
273,300
27,285
1
120,240
50,900
12
17,750
388
700,900
3,718,740

923

1,272

1,439

1,487 $ 5.744 637 $ 8,849.249

Alterations
1930
$ 297,760 $
2,743
2,545
5,425
1,650
12,014
39,437
16,525
11,665
16,241
85,734
17,109
6,395
19,100
6,525
3,000
14.895
19,924
5.800
14.887
26,700
7,000
600
75
3,400
20.475
16.730
19.185
21,547
940
4.374
156,270
$ 876 670

1929

Increase or Per Cent
Decrease
of
of
Increase o
£
or
Total
Valuation Decrease

428,320
421,520 $
18.2% 1
0 — 29,068 — 80.8
2
3,175 — 23,900 — 59.4
3
5,680
4
7,640
16.6
7,750 — 52,100 — 64.0
5
9,564 — 43.6
8,600 —
6
5,600 — 14,488 — 23.0
7
265,690 — 189,335 — 52.1
8
5,610
9
11,580
25.5
19,031
17,685
60.6 10
52.679 — 991,262 — 74.9 11
79,539 — 70,821 — 35.8 12
13,970 232.8 13
1,000
22,671 — 58,178 — 44.4 14
1,775 — 44,355 — 57.0 15
6,000 — 18,775 — 55.6 16
28,980
7,690
10.8 17
23,730 — 181,881 — 43.0 18
16,300 — 190,621 — 83.2 19
28,728
11,239
68.3 20
23,770
2,300
78.5 21
6,200 — 41,690 — 38.7 22
8 880 — 56.4 * 23
2,950 —
4,650
1,950
57.9 24
7,000 — 48,900 — 65.4 25
120,408
57,105
56.1 26
163,047 460.2 27
17,633
341,300 378.7 28
11,885
258,592
21,355
713.3 29
93,770 342.1 30
125
36.850 — 65,626 — 74.8 31
357,740 —3,219,310 — 79.0 32
$1,494,956 $—3,722,898 — 36.0%

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




Business Conditions in the United States
will be found on next page.

8

MONTHLY REVIEW

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

Industrial production increased in February, while
the number of workers employed in factories was
about the same as in January. Wholesale commodity
prices continued to decline. Credit extended by mem­
ber banks was further reduced in February, but in­
creased in the first two weeks of March. Money rates
continued to decline.
Production.
In February industrial production increased about
2 per cent according to the Board’s index, which is
adjusted to allow for seasonal variations. This increase^'reflected chiefly a substantial gain in the output
of iron and steel. Automobile production was in
larger volume than during January, but was 30 per
cent smaller than the large output of a year ago. Cot­
ton and wool consumption by mills was substantially
lower in February, and production of bituminous coal
and copper also decreased.
In the first two weeks of March the output of steel
mills .declined in comparison with February, contrary
to the usual seasonal movement. Bituminous coal
output also was smaller.
The volume of building contracts awarded in Feb­
ruary was about the same as in the preceding month.
Residential building continued at an exceptionally low
level while contracts for public works and utilities were
large in comparison with the corresponding month in
other recent years. Awards in the first two weeks of
March were larger than in the first half of February.
Employment.
The volume of factory employment, which h a d
reached a low point in January, showed little change
in February, when an increase usually occurs. Fac­
tory payrolls increased during the month, but by a
smaller amount than is usual at this season. In the
steel, automobile, agricultural implement, and tobacco
industries, employment increased during the four-week
period, while further decreases occurred in the cotton
and wool textile, lumber, automobile tire, electrical
machinery, and machine tool industries.
Distribution.
Freight car-loadings on an average daily basis were
slightly larger than in January, but smaller than in
the corresponding month of any other recent year.




Slight seasonal increase was reported during early
March. Department store sales in February continued
to be below the level of a year ago.
Prices
Wholesale prices of commodities declined further
during February, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics
index at 92.1 per cent of the 1926 average was at the
lowest point since January 1922. Marked declines oc­
curred during the month in the prices of many agri­
cultural products—grains, hides, raw wool and cotton;
in certain imported raw materials, notably sugar and
silk; and also in textiles, petroleum, and pig iron.
During the first part of March, a number of these
commodities declined still further in price. Wheat
and cotton prices were considerably lower, and silver
reached the lowest point on record. By the middle of
the month, however, prices of cotton, hides, and silver
had recovered somewhat.
Bank credit
Liquidation of credit at member banks continued
throughout February and on February 26 total loans
and investments of member banks in leading cities were
in about the same volume as in the early summer of
last year. During the following two weeks, however,
there was an increase of $230,000,000 in loans and in­
vestments, chiefly in loans on securities. All other
l o a n s , largely for commercial purposes, increased
slightly.
From the middle of February to the middle of
March the volume of reserve bank credit outstanding
decreased further by $90,000,000. This decline re­
flected chiefly an increase in gold stock of $75,000,000
and a further decline of money in circulation, offset
in part by some increase in member bank reserve bal­
ances. Member bank indebtedness at the reserve banks
declined to $267,000,000, the lowest level since early
in 1925; reserve bank holdings of bills declined, while
those of United States securities increased.
Money rates in the open market eased further and
bond yields declined rapidly to the lowest level since
1928. At the middle of March the discount rate at the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York was reduced from
4 to 3y 2 per cent, and the rate at the Cleveland, Phila­
delphia and San Francisco banks from Ay2 to 4 per
cent.

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