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

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 .

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