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MONTHLY REVIEW CREDI T, B U S I N E S S AND A G R I C U L T U R A L CONDI T I ONS FREDERIC A . DELANO, CHAIRMAN AND F E D E R A L R E S E R V E A G E N T FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND RICHMOND, VIRGINIA MARCH 31, 1936 H E weather in February was very cotton in February than in that month unfavorable for all classes of last year, but showed a seasonal reces trade and industry except coal mining sion in consumption under January in the Fifth Federal reserve district, 1936 figures. Spot cotton prices r but, in spite of that handicap, trade mained relatively steady last month, was up to seasonal levels in most lines. but on a lower level than in any other In banking rediscounts for member recent month. Tobacco markets were banks at the reserve bank declined either closed or were cleaning up the slightly, and there was also a decrease end of the crop in February, and sales in loans to industry for working cap were small. Grades of tobacco sold ital. Federal reserve notes in actual were poor, and prices were correspondcirculation increased between the mid ingly low. Tobacco manufacturing in dle of February and the middle of February, while seasonally below that March, and member bank reserve de of other recent months, exceeded Feb posits rose still further above require ruary 1935 production in every branch ments. Reporting member banks ad of the industry, and February 1936 vanced loans and discounts, as is cus taxes to the Federal Treasury ex tomary at this season when merchants tend to borrow ceeded those paid on tobacco products in February last to rediscount bills for spring merchandise. The mem year by 14 per cent. The volume of construction work ber banks decreased their portfolios of Government provided for in permits issued and contracts awarded securities, but built up their reserve balances at the re in February ran nearly double the amount of work pro serve bank. Demand deposits in reporting banks gained vided for in February 1935 . Wholesale trade last substantially during the past month. Debits to indi month showed comparatively little change from the vidual accounts figures in four weeks ended March 11 , volume of business done in the corresponding month 1936 , showed a decline of 3 per cent in comparison last year. Retail trade as reflected in department store with debits in the preceding four weeks this year but sales made an excellent record in February, not only exceeded debits in four weeks ended March 13 , 1935 , exceeding February 1935 sales by 12.4 per cent, but by 7.5 per cent, a smaller gain than was shown in other also showing an unseasonal increase in sales over those recent months. The commercial failure record of the in January this year. Farm work in the district has Fifth district for February was worse than the Febru been delayed by wet ground and farmers will get off ary 1935 record in both number of insolvencies and in to a late start on this season’s work, but the abundance aggregate liabilities involved, and also compared un of moisture in the soil should insure rapid germination favorably with the February 1936 record for the United of seed and growth of plants when warm weather States as a whole. Employment conditions probably comes. improved between the middle of February and the middle of March, industrial employees holding their Reserve Bank Statement own while unskilled laborers and outside workers Total earning assets of the Federal Reserve Bank of gained employment on roads, construction of buildings, etc., when the weather improved in March. Coal pro Richmond declined by $ 262,000 between February 15 duction in February not only exceeded production in and March 15 , both this year. Rediscounts for mem February last year, but showed an unseasonal rise in ber banks fell $ 5,000 and industrial loans made under comparison with the output in January this year. Tex authority of Section 13 b of the Federal Reserve Act tile mills in the Fifth reserve district consumed more dropped $ 257 ,0 0 0 . On the other hand, commitments T MONTHLY REVIEW 2 000 omitted Mar. 15 Feb. 15 Mar. 15 1935 1936 1936 ITEMS 152 40 $ 35 !$ 190 204 190 3,476 4,454 4,197 15 7 15 113,563 116,716 ! 116,716 117,402 121,153 121,415 154,112 176,767 175,263 196,605 174,510 143,169 199,146 274,351 250,113 71.08 68.84 64.87 1$ Open market paper...... Industrial advances .... Foreign loans on gold.. Government securities ! ! ! i Fed. Res. notes in circulation.... ! j 1 i Cash reserves ' Reserve ratio on industrial loans made by member banks rose by $ 30,000 during the month, each commitment being an agreement by the reserve bank to assume liability on a certain loan during the life of the commitment. The actual circulation of Federal reserve notes rose by $ 1 ,504,000 between the middle of February and the middle of March, a trend contrary to a decline in most years at this season. Member bank reserve deposits increased by $ 2 2 ,095,000 last month, rising further above legal requirements. The several changes enum erated, with others of less importance, raised the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by $ 24 ,238,000 during the past month, and increased the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined by 2.24 points. In comparison with condition figures reported for March 15, 1935 , the corresponding figures for March 15 , 1936 , show material increases in note circulation, member bank reserve deposits, and cash reserves of the reserve bank, but earning assets changed relatively little. Rediscounts for member banks declined by $ 117,000 and the portfolio of open market paper dropped by $ 14,000 during the year, while industrial advances rose by $ 721 ,000 , foreign loans on gold gained $ 8,000 and holdings of Government securities increased by $ 3 , 153 ,000 . The changes in earning assets resulted in a net increase of $ 3 ,751,000 between March 15 last year and March 15 this year. Federal Reserve notes in actual circulation rose by $ 2 2 ,655,000 during the year, and member bank reserve deposits increased by $ 53 ,436 ,000 . As a result of the several changes in the statement, cash reserves of the Richmond bank rose by $ 75 ,205,000 between March 15 , 1935 , and March 15 , 1936 , and the ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined rose by 6.21 points. Statement of 41 Member Banks I ITEMS 000 omitted Mar. 11 Feb. 12 | Mar. 13 1936 1 1936 1935 Loans on stocks and bonds (in cluding Governments) .......... i $ 71,720 All other loans........................... 130,269 Total loans and discounts.— ,—1 201,989 Investments in securities........... S 371,657 Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank.... 137,702 17,196 Cash in vaults........................... Demand' deposits ...................... 410,908 192,494 Time deposits ...................... .... 0 Money borrowed..................— I$ 69,605 $ 75,550 ! 129,678 130,712 ! 199,283 206,262 415,998 387,935 i 113,969 82,588 ! 16,289 15,918 j 403,586 1 362,927 ; 192,698 ! 194,022 ! 0 1 0 The accompanying table shows the principal items of condition of forty-one regularly reporting member banks in the Fifth reserve district as of three dates, thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest available figures with those of the corresponding dates a month and a year earlier. It should be understood that the figures in the table reflect conditions as of the report dates only, and are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred during the interval be tween the dates. Total loans and discounts rose by $ 2 ,706,000 between February 12 and March 11 , both this year, loans on securities increasing by $ 2 ,115,000 and all other loans rising by $ 591 ,0 0 0 . Merchants usually increase their borrowing at this season to discount bills for spring merchandise. The reporting banks reduced their in vestments in securities by $ 44 ,341,000 last month, but further increased their reserve balance with the Federal reserve bank by $ 2 3 ,733 ,0 0 0 . Nearly all of the re duction in security holdings occurred in a few large banks. Cash in vaults rose by $ 907,000 during the period under review. Aggregate deposits in the fortyone banks rose materially between February 12 and March 11 , demand deposits increasing by $ 7 ,322,000 while time deposits declined by $ 20 4 ,0 0 0 . None of the reporting banks was borrowing either from the reserve bank or from any other bank on either of the two dates used in the comparison. Between March 13 , 1935 , and March 11 , 1936 , loans on stocks and bonds declined by $ 3 ,830,000 in the re porting banks, and all other loans dropped $ 443 ,000 , a total decrease in loans and discounts amounting to $ 4 ,273 ,00 0 . Investments in securities also declined by $ 16 ,278,000 during the year, chiefly due to reduction of portfolios during the past month in a few large banks. On the other hand, the reporting institutions increased their reserve deposits at the reserve bank by $ 55 ,114,000 since the middle of March last year, and on March 11 , 1936 , their cash in vaults showed an in crease of $ 1,278,000 over cash on hand a year earlier. Demand deposits rose by $ 47 ,981,000 during the past year, but time and savings deposits declined by $1,528 ,000 . Time and Savings Deposits Time deposits in forty-one reporting banks in the Fifth district and aggregate deposits in eleven mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $ 398 , 170,933 at the end of February 1936 , a higher figure than either $ 397 ,687,666 reported at the end of January this year or $ 392 ,311,766 at the end of February last year. The increases during both the past month and the past year were due to gains in the mutual savings banks, time deposits in reporting member banks showing slight declines for the month and the year. Debits to Individual Accounts Debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts figures in clearing house banks in twenty-three leading cities of the Fifth Federal reserve district are shown in the accompanying table for three equal periods of MONTHLY REVIEW 000 omitted Total debits, four weeks ended CITIES Mar. 13, Mar. 11, ! Feb. 12, 1936 1935 1936 ! ■..... I $ 8,643 $ 9,294 $ 7,813 Asheville, N. C.......... 245,473 286,053 274,649 Baltimore, Md............ 11,373 11,213 12,483 Charleston, S. C........ 35,520 36,321 37,215 Charleston, W. Va..... 44,920 47,981 45,250 Charlotte, N. C....... . 23,917 22,375 26,059 Columbia, S. C.......... 6,042 6,133 6,816 Cumberland, Md. ...... 6,273 8,974 5,190 Danville, Va............... 19,592 23,713 19,204 Durham, N. C............ 11,418) 13,208 Greensboro, N. C....... 12,430 17,054 15,146 Greenville, S. C......... 14,901, 5,962 Hagerstown, Md. 6,153 6,1431 10,982 13,262 Huntington, W. Va. .I 11,510 Lynchburg, Va.......... 12,454 13,973 11,222 6,762, 7,462 6,266 Newport News, Va. Norfolk, Va. ............. 36,697 38,807 43,441 Portsmouth, Va.......... 2,892 3,125 2,859 21,762 Raleigh, N. C............ 23,160 27,614 Richmond, Va............ 125,650 112,298 109,500 17,454 Roanoke, Va.............. 20,108 21,533 Spartanburg, S. C. 6,909* 7,913* Washington, D. C 175,712 19^,945 200,637 Wilmington, ‘ N. C. 7,732 7,873 7,393 25,588; Winston-Salem, N. C. 27,674 38,999 District Totals ...... $939,888 $969,156* ♦Spartanburg, S. C., not included in Totals. $874,206 four weeks, thus affording opportunity for comparison of the latest available figures, those for four weeks ended March 11 , 1936 , with corresponding figures a month and a year earlier. Total debits in the reporting cities in the four weeks ended March 11 showed a decrease of $ 29 ,268 ,000 , or 3 per cent, in comparison with debits in the preceding four weeks, ended February 12 , 1936 . Closing of to bacco markets accounted for part of the decline during the more recent period, and part of it was probably due to retarded spring trade as a result of unfavorable weather. Only eight of the twenty-three reporting cities showed higher debits figures for the four weeks ended March 11 . Baltimore and Washington among the five largest cities gained, but debits declined in Richmond, Norfolk and Charlotte. In comparison with figures for four weeks ended March 13 , 1935 , debits in the corresponding period this year increased by $ 65 ,682 ,0 0 0 , or 7.5 per cent, sixteen of the twenty-three cities showing larger fig ures this year. Among the five largest cities in the district, Baltimore and Washington debits again in creased, while Richmond, Norfolk and Charlotte debits declined during the year. Roanoke with a gain of 23.4 per cent showed the largest increase of the year, with Danville and Huntington practically tied for second place with gains of 20.9 per cent and 20.8 per cent, respectively. Commercial Failures The record of the Fifth Federal reserve district in commercial failures was worse than the National record in February in both number of insolvencies and in liabilities involved. The district witnessed 43 bank ruptcies last month, an increase of 10.3 per cent over 3 bankruptcies in February 1935 , while the United States witnessed 856 failures last month, a decrease of 10.5 per cent under 956 failures in the corresponding month last year. In aggregate liabilities involved in February 1936 failures, the district total of $ 1,608,000 showed an increase of 99.5 per cent over the February 1935 total of $ 806 ,000 , while in the United States as a whole last month’s liabilities totaling $ 14 ,089,000 showed a decline of 7.4 per cent. Fewer failures were reported last month than in February 1935 in the Bos ton, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Minne apolis, Dallas and San Francisco reserve districts, more failures were reported in the Cleveland, Richmond and St. Louis districts, and the same number was reported in the Kansas City district. Liabilities involved in last month’s insolvencies decreased under February 1935 figures in the New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco districts, while larger figures were reported from the Boston, Cleveland, Richmond and St. Louis districts. January 1936 commercial failure statistics, which were not available in time for inclusion in the February 29 , 1936 , issue of the Monthly Review, are included this month to complete the record. There were 44 failures for $ 1,118,000 in the Fifth reserve district in January 1936 , compared with 65 failures for $ 502,482 in January 1935 , and in the United States there were 1,077 failures for $ 18 ,104,000 in January this year, against 1,146 failures for $ 14 ,603,000 in January last year. 39 Employment No material change occurred in employment condi tions in the Fifth reserve district industries between the middle of February and the middle of March, but the number of persons employed on road work, streets, etc., increased as soon as weather moderated sufficiently to enable repair work to get under way. Agricultural workers have been unable to obtain seasonal employ ment on account of wet ground which prevented early cultivation. Coal production increased in February, giving work to additional miners or increasing hours of employment for those already working. Construc tion work continues to increase over 1935 construction, which is beneficial to building tradesmen and all per sons handling building materials. Coal Production Bituminous coal production in the United States totaled approximately 41 ,290,000 net tons in February 1936 , an unseasonal increase over 39 ,330,000 tons mined in January this year, and 18.5 per cent more than 3 4 ,834,000 tons dug in February 1935 . February had one more working day this year than in 1935 , how ever, and therefore the daily output of 1 ,658,000 tons in February 1936 was only 13 .§ per cent above daily output of 1,457,000 tons in February 1935 . Total production during the present coal year through March 7 amounted to 348 ,132,000 net tons, an increase of 3.2 per cent over 337 ,218,000 tons dug to the same date last year. 4 MONTHLY REVIEW Tidewater shipments of coal through Hampton Roads ports this calendar year through March 7 totaled 3 ,939,852 net tons, a lower figure than 3 ,965,297 tons shipped through the same ports through March 7 last year. The Bureau of Mines has issued a preliminary re port on production of bituminous coal during 1935 by states. West Virginia led all states with 9 8 ,589,000 tons, Pennsylvania ranking second with 9 0 ,795,000 tons and Illinois third with 43 ,845,000 tons. Fifth district coal producing states, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia mined a total of 110 , 154,000 tons, or 29.8 per cent of National production of 3 69 ,324,000 tons. In 1934 Fifth district states produced 30.4 per cent of National production. Textiles There was a decline in activity in the textile field in the Fifth district during February, partly due to sea sonal factors and partly to unsettled conditions in the market for textile products. Cotton mills in the dis trict consumed 246,903 bales of cotton in February 1936 , a decrease of 12.7 per cent under 282,760 bales used in January 1936 but an increase of 12.1 per cent over 220,301 bales consumed in February 1935 . Of the 246,903 bales used last month, North Carolina mills accounted for 135,664 bales, South Carolina mills used 98,908 bales, and Virginia mills 12,331 bales, all except Virginia’s being higher than the figures for February last year. Consumption of cotton in the Richmond reserve district in February this year totaled 47.8 per cent of National consumption, exactly the same figure as for January this year, but higher than 45.9 per cent in February 1935 . On February 20 , the Department of Commerce is sued a report on spindles in place, spindles active in January, total spindle hours of operation in January, and average hours of operation per spindle in place in January. On January 31 , 1936 , there were 29 ,040,208 spindles in place in the United States, North Carolina leading with 6 , 106 ,91 8 , or 21.03 per cent of the total, South Carolina ranking second with 5 ,770,230 spindles, or 19.87 per cent, and Massachusetts third with 4 ,716 ,376 spindles, or 16.24 per cent. The Fifth district as a whole had 43.13 per cent of total spindles in place in the United States at the end of January 1936 . In actual spindle hours of operation, South Carolina led all states for January with 1 ,995 ,649 , 176 , or 25.87 per cent of the National total of 7 ,713 ,696,496 hours, and North Carolina ranked second with 1 ,795 ,891,849 hours, or 23.28 per cent. Georgia, which ranks fourth in spindles in place, took third place in total spindle hours of operation in January with 1 ,06 6 ,083,589 hours, or 13.82 per cent. The Fifth district, with 43.13 per cent of total spindles in place in the United States in January, showed 51.51 per cent of total hours of oper ation. In actual hours of operation per spindle in place, South Carolina with an average of 346 hours per spindle ranked first, North Carolina with 294 hours ranked fifth, and Virginia with 281 hours ranked sixth. The average hours of operation for the United States in January was 266 per spindle in place. Cotton Statistics Spot cotton prices fluctuated through a narrow range during the past month, on a generally lower level than during the preceding month or the corresponding pe riod last year. The average price for middling grade short staple cotton on ten Southern markets was 11.41 cents per pound on February 14 , but declined gradually to 11.19 cents on March 6. The market made some recovery in the second week of March, the average price rising to 11.29 cents on the 13th, the latest date for which official quotations are available. On March 15, 1935 , the average price on the ten markets was 11.37 cents per pound. Cotton consumption in the United States in February 1936 totaled 516,649 bales, compared with 591,309 bales used in January this year and 480,339 bales in February 1935 . Total consumption for the seven months of the present cotton season—August 1 to Feb ruary 29 —amounted to 3 ,523,846 bales, compared with 3 ,164,986 bales consumed in the corresponding period ended February 2 8 , 1935 . Manufacturing establish ments held 1 ,404,476 bales on February 2 9 , compared with 1 ,434,992 bales held on January 31 this year and 1, 161,075 bales on February 28 , 1935 . Public ware houses and compresses held 7 ,247,803 bales in storage at the end of February this year, compared with 7 ,844,295 bales so held a month earlier and 8 ,354,790 bales on February 28 last year. February exports totaled 406,022 bales, compared with 525,636 bales sent abroad in January this year and 390,294 bales exported in February last year. Exports during the seven months of this cotton year totaled 4 ,409,619 bales, compared with 3 ,254,832 bales shipped over seas during the corresponding seven months ended February 2 8 , 1935 . Consumption of cotton in the cotton growing states numbered 431,591 bales in February 1936 , com pared with 497,360 bales used in January and 382,235 bales in February 1935 . Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to 83.54 per cent of National consumption, compared with 79.58 per cent of National consumption used in the cotton grow ing states in February last year. Of the 431,591 bales of cotton used in cotton growing states in February, the Fifth district mills used 246,903 bales, or 57.21 per cent, compared with 57.63 per cent of Southern consumption attained in the district in February last year. Spindles active in the United States at some time in February 1936 numbered 2 3 ,337 ,0 7 0 , com pared with 2 3 ,323,958 in January this year and 24 ,9 1 6 ,758 in February last year. Tobacco Marketing Virginia sales of leaf tobacco during February amounted to 10 ,376,414 pounds, for an average price of $ 8.94 per hundred, compared with February 1935 sales amounting to 5 , 103,617 pounds, for an average of $ 11.24 per hundred pounds. Total sales for the season through February amounted to 128 ,791,005 pounds this year and 101 ,311,760 pounds last year, but this year’s price of $ 18.61 per hundred pounds com pares with last seasn’s average of $ 24.40 per hundred. MONTHLY REVIEW Flue-cured tobacco markets all closed by the end of February, after selling 103 ,541,814 pounds this year compared with 75 ,789,401 pounds sold during the pre vious season. Fire-cured sales in February amounted to 4 ,524,470 pounds, at $ 9.78 per hundred. Sales in February 1935 totaled 3 ,972,595 pounds, and last year’s average price was $ 11.57 per hundred. Total sales of fire-cured tobacco during the current season to March were 16 ,293,524 pounds, at $ 10.56 per hundred pounds, compared with season sales to February 2 8 , 1935 , total ing 16,478,400 pounds, at $ 12.41 per hundred. Burley markets closed in January. Total sales of burley this season amounted to 6 ,204,122 pounds at an average price of $ 19.86 per hundred, compared with 6 ,454,620 pounds sold last year for an average of $ 17.24 per hundred. Sun-cured sales in February totaled 732,043 pounds at $ 11.71 per hundred, compared with 1 ,011,405 pounds sold for an average of $ 9.86 per hundred in February 1935 . Season sales of sun-cured tobacco totaled 2 ,751,545 pounds this year, at $11.0 1 per hun dred, compared with 2 ,589,339 pounds at $ 9.71 sold last year. The quality of tobacco sold at the end of the season is usually poor, and this year February sales graded lower than usual. Warehousemen estimated that sales last month graded 16 per cent good, 34 per cent medium, and 50 per cent common, compared with February 1935 grading of 26 per cent good, 41 per cent medium, and 33 per cent common. North Carolina tobacco markets closed early in Feb ruary, and the Agricultural Statistician for the State has issued a report on total sales for the season, with comparisons of other recent seasons. Sales of pro ducers’ tobacco in 1935-1936 totaled 550 ,859,232 pounds, and the average price received was $ 20.34 per hundred, compared with 395 , 135,824 pounds sold at $ 28.44 per hundred in 1934 - 1935 . With the exception of the 1930-1931 sales, those for this year were the largest for any year on record, and this year’s average price, while materially lower than last year’s, was the highest average since 1927 - 1928 . North Carolina to bacco growers increased the use of fertilizer under their 1935-1936 crop, planted rows closer together and left plants nearer in the rows, and topped the crop higher than usual. As a result of these actions, the per acre yield of tobacco in the State set a new record. Tobacco Manufacturing The Internal Revenue Bureau of the Treasury De partment issued a report on March 20 on tobacco man ufacturing in February, showing increased production over February 1935 in all branches of the industry. 5 Cigarettes produced totaled 10 ,766 ,369 ,680 , compared with 9 ,306 ,198,840 cigarettes made in February 1935 , and taxes paid on cigarettes amounted to $ 32 ,300,682 in February 1936 and $ 2 7 ,920,348 in February 1935 . Cigars manufactured last month numbered 356 ,624 ,025 , compared with 32 0 ,864,191 cigars made in the corre sponding month last year, and taxes paid on cigars totaled $ 858,139 and $ 791,767 in February 1936 and 1935 , respectively. Manufactured tobacco made in February this year, including smoking and chewing to bacco, amounted to 2 4 ,655,463 pounds, compared with 23 , 121,561 pounds in February last year, and taxes on the product totaled $ 4 ,438,079 this year and $ 4 , 162,011 last year. Snuff production totaled 3 ,263,526 pounds and taxes thereon amounted to $ 587,435 in February 1936 , compared with 2 ,981,116 pounds and taxes total ing $ 536,601 in February 1935 . Taxes realized by the Treasury on all forms of tobacco products totaled $ 38 ,184,335 in February this year, an increase of 14.3 per cent over taxes totaling $ 33 ,410,727 paid on tobacco products in February last year. Agricultural Notes On March 16 the Department of Agriculture issued its annual “ Intentions to plant report” , in which was set forth the intentions of farmers as to acreages in leading crops to be planted this year. The report says that most of the farmers reported before the Soil Con servation Act was passed and before any of them knew how the Act would affect them individually. Allowance will need to be made for such changes in plans as the administration of the Act may cause. On the whole, the acreages which farmers are planning to grow are said to be about what would ordinarily be expected as a result of present supply and price con ditions and prospective requirements for feeding live stock. In the Fifth Federal reserve district, the De partment of Agriculture gives the following acreage figures, each figure showing the percentage of the 1935 harvested acreage which farmers now intend to plant in 1 9 3 6 : Maryland, tobacco 104 , corn 101 , sweet pota toes 100 , hay 99 , oats 95 , white potatoes 89 ; Virginia, tobacco 115 , oats 110, sweet potatoes 103 , corn 102, hay 100 , peanuts 100 , white potatoes 9 7 ; West Vir ginia, tobacco 120 , oats 110 , corn 103 , hay 102 , white potatoes 9 7 ; North Carolina, tobacco 107 , corn 102 , peanuts 102 , hay 101 , oats 100 , white potatoes 9 8 , sweet potatoes 9 6 ; South Carolina, tobacco 110 , white pota toes 106 , peanuts 105 , oats 100 , hay 100 , sweet potatoes 100 , corn 98 . Federal law forbids an estimate of pro posed cotton acreage until later in the season. 6 MONTHLY REVIEW Construction Building Permits Issued in February 1936 and 1935 CITIES Permits Issued 1936 1935 326 Baltimore, Md............ 1 Cumberland, Md. ... 1 Frederick, Md'............ 2 Hagerstown, Md........ 8 Salisbury, Md............ 10 Danville, Va......... ..... 24 Lynchburg, Va. ........ 66 Norfolk, Va............... 0 Petersburg, Va.......... 11 Portsmouth, Va......... 76 Richmond, Va......... 21 Roanoke, Va.............. 2 Bluefield, W. Va....... 47 Charleston, W. Va... 18 Clarksburg, W. Va.... 12 Huntington, W. Va... 23 Asheville, N. C......... 114 Charlotte, N. C.......... 16 Durham, N. C.......... 31 Greensboro, N. C....... 27 High Point, N. C....... 14 Raleigh, N. C............ 6 Rocky Mount, N. C... 6 Salisbury, N. C.......... Winston-Salem, N. C. 63 37 Charleston, S. C......... 44 Columbia, S. C...... ..... 34 Greenville, S. C......... 14 Rock Hill, S. C 17 Spartanburg, S. C..... Washington, D. C..... 377 District Totals ...... 1,448 381 3 7 7 8 20 33 106 0 14 89 33 6 79 9 13 24 55 27 38 29 13 8 5 53 41 28 40 27 33 307 1,536 Total Valuation 1935 1936 $2,186,784 2,400 5,000 5,100 6,785 35,215 22,681 53,060 0 4,435 173,117 34,157 60,150 63,788 25,151 39,190 36,450 137,467 42,225 77,009 12,162 31,677 3,960 3,000 43,567 83,467 293,738 97,875 25,150 75,502 2,646,295 $6,326,557 $ 498,120 20,958 6,525 7,465 3,700 5,840 30,141 1,074,795 0 12,245 87,582 21,491 7,630 83,489 10,765 9,950 11,810 123,511 68,667 21,110 29,415 231,110 4,870 1,325 22,218 37,103 22,088 174,460 30,005 19,319 833,400 $3,511,107 Building permits issued in thirty-one cities of the Fifth reserve district totaled 1,448 in February 1936 , a decrease of 8.7 per cent in comparison with 1,536 permits issued in the corresponding month last year. Total valuation figures, however, amounting to $ 6 ,326 ,557 last month showed an increase of 80.2 per cent over valuation figures for permits issued in February 1935 . Seventeen of the thirty-one cities reported higher estimated valuation figures for last month than for the same month last year, but most of the 80.2 per cent increase occurred in Baltimore and Washing ton. Among the five largest cities, Baltimore, Wash ington, Richmond and Charlotte reported higher figures for February this year than last, but Norfolk reported a very large decrease in valuation figures. It should be pointed out, however, that Norfolk’s valuation was the largest for any city in the district in February last year. Contracts actually awarded for construction work in the Fifth reserve district in February this year totaled $ 13 ,227 ,0 3 1 , including both rural and urban projects, compared with $ 8 ,203,823 in contracts awarded in Feb ruary 1935 , according to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Of the February 1936 contracts, $ 4 ,951 ,311 , or 37.4 per cent, was for residential struc tures, compared with $ 2 ,609 , 183 , or 31.8 per cent of the total, for residential work in February last year. Retail Trade, 30 Department Stores Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District February 1936 sales, compared with sales in February 1935: + 6.5 + 8.6 +16.2 +15.3 +12.4 Jan.-Feb. 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Feb. 1935: + 9.8 + 8.4 +15.3 +12.5 +11.9 Feb. 29, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1935: + 5.4 + 3.5 + 8.6 + .8 + 5.5 Feb. 2 9, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1936: + 7.9 +11.2 +11.4 +10.5 + 1 0 .8 Number of times stock was turned in February 1936: .275 .255 .322 .265 .2 ^ Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1936: .539 .519 .626 .512 .565 Percentage of Feb. 1, 1936, receivables collected in February: 34.7 29.3 26.9 30.8 28.9 Wholesale Trade, 58 Firms 21 7 6 13 11 Groceries Dry Goods Shoes Hardware Drugs February 1936 sales, compared with sales in February 1935: + 3.9 — .5 — 2.1 — 4.9 + 8.4 February 1936 sales, compared with sales in January 1936: — 6.0 — 3.9 +33.1 —20.7 — 5.0 Jan.-Feb. 1936 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Feb. 1935: + 2.9 — .4 + .8 — 4.9 + .6 Feb. 29, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Feb. 28, 1935: — 8.8(8*) —14.5(3*) +17.4(4*) + 1.4(7*) Feb. 29, 1936, stocks, compared with stocks on Jan. 31, 1936: — 2.7(8*) +11.3(3*) + 4.0(4*) + 1.2(7*) ...... Percentage of collections in Feb. to receivables on Feb. 1, 1936: 103.4(12*) 39.5(4*) 40.1(5*) 40.4(11*) 68.5(7*) *Number of reporting firms. All other figures in the table are percentages. (Compiled March 20 , 1936 ) MONTHLY REVIEW 7 BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (Compiled by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System) Volume of industrial production and employment showed little change in February, and the index of production, which makes allowance for seasonal changes, declined from 98 to 95 percent of the 1923 1925 average. Distribution of commodities continued at about the January level. Production and Employment Daily average output in basic industries was in about the same volume in February as in January. Since usually there is an increase in manufacturing activity at this season, the Board’s seasonally adjusted index of factory output showed a decline. Output at mines increased. There was a substantial further decrease in automobile production in February, and the rate of operations at steel mills increased by less than the usual seasonal amount. In the first half of March pro duction of steel expanded seasonally and output of automobiles showed a more than seasonal increase. There was little change in the volume of lumber cut in February, although an increase usually occurs in that month. At woolen mills production increased by about the seasonal amount, while activity at cotton textile mills, which is usually larger in February than in Jan uary, decreased, and at silk mills there was a larger than seasonal decline. Output at meatpacking establishments also declined. There was a substantial increase in the mining of both anthracite and bituminous coal, while output of crude petroleum declined somewhat. Factory employment increased by less than the usual seasonal amount between the middle of January and the middle of February. There was little change in the number of workers at steel mills and a decrease in the number employed at automobile factories, although increases are usual in these industries in February. Employment declined at silk and rayon textile mills and showed a smaller than seasonal increase at shoe factories. Increases in employment were reported for railroad re pair shops, for printing and publishing establishments, and for factories producing wearing apparel. Factory payrolls, which are usually larger in the middle of February than a month earlier, showed no change. The value of construction contracts awarded, as re ported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, declined fur ther in February. Awards for residential construction showed little change, and there was a decrease in the value of awards for all other contracts, a large part of which are for public projects. Distribution Department store sales showed little change from January to February and, after allowance for seasonal variation, were at about the same level as that prevail ing last summer and autumn. Freight-car loadings in creased by a small seasonal amount in February. Load ings of coal were considerably larger than in January, while shipments of miscellaneous freight declined, and the Board’s seasonally adjusted index of total loadings remained at the January figure of 70 percent of the 1923-1925 average as compared with 71 percent in December and an average of 63 percent for 1935 . Commodity Prices The general level of wholesale commodity prices de clined somewhat during the latter part of February and the first half of March, following a six-month period of little change. The recent downward move ment reflected declines in prices of farm products and foods. Bank Credit Excess reserves of member banks decreased by $ 650 ,000,000 during the four weeks ending March 18 and on that date amounted to $ 2 ,4 00 ,000 ,00 0 . This decrease reflected chiefly a transfer of funds to Treas ury deposits at the Reserve banks in connection with receipt of income taxes and of cash payments for newly-issued Government securities. Loans and investments of reporting member banks in leading cities increased rapidly in March and on the 18th of the month were $ 525 ,000,000 higher than four weeks earlier. Of this increase $ 190 ,000,000 rep resented a growth in holdings of direct and guaran teed obligations of the United States Government and $ 80 ,000,000 an increase in other investments. Security loans both to brokers and dealers and to others in creased, and there was a substantial growth in socalled “ other loans,” which include loans for commer cial purposes. Adjusted demand deposits of reporting member banks declined by $ 3 40 ,000,000 during the four weeks ending March 18 . Balances held for domestic banks increased at the turn of the month as banks in the interior sold Government securities in New York in anticipation of maturities. During the week ending March 18 balances declined, partly as the result of banks throughout the country purchasing in the New York market Government securities issued on March 16 .