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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

C h airm an a n d F e d e r a l R e s e r v e A g e n t

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
DISTRICT SUMMARY— The volume of busi­
ness transacted in the Fifth Federal reserve dis­
trict in April and early May was about up to
seasonal level, and prospects for the next few
months improved over those of two or three
months ago. Reserve bank credit extended to
member banks increased seasonally last month,
chiefly due to country bank needs for crop plant­
ing. Debits to individual accounts for the five
weeks ended May 16th not only exceeded debits
for the corresponding period of 1927, but also
were larger than debits in the preceding five
weeks this year, ended April nth, the latter in­
crease over the period which contained income
tax payments and April 1st quarterly settlements
being unusual. Business failures in the district
in April were fewer in number and lower in
liabilities than in April last year. Employment
conditions, while still unsatisfactory, showed
some improvement during April and May. Coal
production, as is usual at this season, declined in
April from March figures, but was up to aver­
age tonnage for April. Building operations as
reflected in city permits issued declined in April
this year in comparison with April 1927, but a
very large amount of industrial construction lo­
cated outside city limits or in small towns
brought the total of construction work provided
for in April far above the figures of April last
year. Spot cotton prices continued their up­
ward trend last month, advancing approximately
$5 a bale between the middle of April and the
middle of May.

Among the unfavorable factors in the present
situation, the most important is the lateness of
this year's crop development. Much rain and
exceptionally cold weather during the late Win- •
ter and Spring delayed planting and retarded
germination of seed and growth of plants. Tex­
tile mills continue to operate on part time sched­
ules, due to insufficient orders to take the out­
put of full time work. Retail trade in April was
in smaller volume than in April 1927, but this
was probably due to the earlier Easter date this
year and the occurrence of one less business day
during the 1928 month. Wholesale trade in April
was also in smaller volume in nearly all lines
reported upon than in April 1927.




MAY 31. 1928
RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS— A season­
al increase in credit needs incident to crop plant­
ing raised the total of rediscounts held by the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $35,691.000 on April 15th to $43,593,000 on May 15th,
both this year, and increased the total earning
assets of the Richmond bank by about the same
amount, raising them from $57,380,000 last
month to $65,059,000 at the middle of May. In
spite of the increased demand for credit during
the past month, however, the circulation of Fed­
eral reserve notes dropped from $59,948,000 to
$57,084,000, the need at this season being for
book credit rather than cash. Member bank
reserve deposits decreased from $70,940,000 at
the middle of April to $68,334,000 at the middle
of May. The several changes in the items enum­
erated resulted in a net decline in the total cash
reserves of the Richmond bank from $84,426,000
on April 15th to $72,270,000 on May 15th, and re­
duced the ratio of reserves to note and deposit
liabilities combined from 63.63 per cent at the
middle of last month to 56.50 per cent at the
middle of May.

Reserve bank credit continues in larger amount
than at the same time a year ago. On May
15, 1927, rediscounts for member banks held by
the Federal Reserve* Bank of Richmond totaled
$27,977,000, but on May 15th this year redis­
counts held by the Richmond bank amounted to
$43,593,000, an increase of approximately 56 per
cent. The circulation of Federal reserve notes
declined during the year, however, falling from
$66,571,000 on May 15th last year to $57,084,000
on May 15th this year, a decrease of 14 per cent.
Member bank reserve deposits, on the other
hand rose from $67,787,000 last year to $68,334.000 this year. Total earning assets of the
Richmond bank rose from $43,380,000 at the mid­
dle of May a year ago to $65,059,000 on the cor­
responding date this year, an increase of 50 per
cent. The greater demand for credit this year
is reflected in a decrease in the Richmond bank’s
cash reserves from $97,010,000 on May 15, 1927,
to $72,270,000 on May 15, 1928, and in a decline
between the same dates in the ratio of reserves
to note and deposit liabilities combined from
70.76 per cent to 56.50 per cent.

CONDITION OF SIXTY-SIX REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES
ITEMS

May 16, 1928

Total Loans and Discounts (including all rediscounts) ..
Total Investments in Bonds and Securities....................
Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve Bank................
Cash in Vaults....................................................................
Demand Deposits ...............................................................
Time Deposits ....................................................................
Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank............................

April 11, 1928

$517,877,000
172.403.000
39.170.000
11.684.000
362.237.000
249.679.000
24.875.000

May 11, 1927

$521,452,000
175.495.000
42.080.000
12.416.000
373.391.000
247.682.000
18.560.000

$513,136,000
145.920.000
40.821.000
13.958.000
381.159.000
221.992.000
6,993,000

In the above table comparative figures reported by sixty-six identical member banks are shown
as at the close of business May 16, 1928, April 11, 1928, and May n , 1927, thus affording an oppor­
tunity for comparing banking developments during the past month and the past year in the thirteen
leading cities of the fifth reserve district. While the figures shown in the table reflect conditions
on the dates mentioned, they are not necessarily the highest or lowest figures that occurred during
the period under review.
Outstanding loans to customers of member banks usually increase during April and May in the
fifth reserve district, but between April n th and May 16th this year the sixty-six reporting city
banks reduced their loans and discounts by $3,575,000. Demand deposits in the reporting institutions
declined $11,154,000 during the month, and cash in vaults dropped $732,000. Time deposits rose
$1,997,000, but there was a net decline of $9,157,000 in aggregate deposits during the period under
review. These changes caused a decline of $3,092,000 in investments in bonds and securities, and
a reduction of $2,910,000 in reserve balances at the Federal reserve bank. As a further outcome, the
sixty-six reporting banks increased their borrowing at the reserve bank by $6,315,000 between April
n th and May 16th.
A comparison of the figures reported for May 16, 1928, with those reported on May n , 1927,
shows an increase this year of $4,741,000 in outstanding loans to customers of the reporting banks,
and a rise during the year of $17,882,000 in the banks’ borrowing at the Federal reserve bank. Total
investments in bonds and securities were $26,483,000 greater on May 16th this year than on May n th
last year. Reserve balances of the sixty-six banks at the reserve bank decreased $1,651,000 during
the year, and cash in vaults declined $2,274,000. Aggregate deposits rose $8,765,000 during the year,
in spite of a drop of $18,922,000 in demand deposits, time deposits having increased $27,687,000. For
several years member banks have been shifting some of their demand deposits to time deposits, the
result being a reduction of reserve requirements at the reserve bank.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
TOTAL DEBITS DURING THE FIVE WEEKS ENDED
CITIES

May 16, 1928

April 11, 1928

Asheville, N. C................................................
Baltimore, Md..................................................
Charleston, S. C..............................................
Charleston, W. Va..........................................
Charlotte, N. C.......................................... -....
Columbia, S. C................................................
Cumberland, Md..............................................
Danville, Va.....................................................
Durham, IN. C..................................................
Greensboro, N. C............................................
Greenville, > . C..............................................
S
Hagerstown, Md..............................................
Huntington, W. Va........................................
Lynchburg, Va...... ..........................................
Newport News, Va........................................
Norfolk, Va......................................................
Raleigh, N. C............. ....... ..............................
Richmond, Va...... ............................................
Roanoke, Va.....................................................
Spartanburg, iS. C. .......................................
Washington, D. C............................................
Wilmington, N. C............................................
Winston,Salem, N. C......................................

$ 38,850,000
504.489.000
28.791.000
43.448.000
71.465.000
31.579.000
10.475.000
11.027.000
28.460.000
31.687.000
30.633.000
12.278.000
26.497.000
21.771.000
11.613.000
91.071.000
33.996.000
151.887.000
33.076.000
14^959,000
308.319.000
23.385.000
46.877.000

$ 39,525,000
467.298.000
32.852.000
44.916.000
73.223.000
37.303.000
10.449.000
10.290.000
30.797.000
30.319.000
29^351,000
12.495.000
25.556.000
21.735.000
10^987,000
77.020.000
24.728.000
156.115.000
32.386.000
16.538.000
295.946.000
24.086.000
52.220.000

Total .................................................................

$1,606,633,000

$1,556,135,000

May 18, 1927
$

40,899,000
469.717.000
33.086.000
40.802.000
64.447.000
30.294.000
11.261.000
9,994,000
36.260.000
33.191.000
28.450.000
12.937.000
27.907.000
22^587,000
11.150.000
86.695.000
25.309.000
154.172.000
32.890.000
16.020.000
296.320.000
23.755.000
51.179.000

$1,559,322,000

The accompanying table shows aggregate debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts
in twenty-three leading cities of the fifth reserve district for three equal periods of five weeks,
ended May 16, 1928, April n , 1928, and May 18, 1927. These figures include the totals of all checks




2

paid against depositors’ accounts by the clearing house banks of the reporting cities during the
period under review, regardless of whether or not the checks passed through the local clearing
house, were cleared through the Federal Reserve System, were cashed over the counters, or were
deposited for the credit of other customers of the reporting banks.
During the five weeks ended May 16th this year, aggregate debits in the twenty-three reporting
cities totaled $1,606,633,000, an increase of 3.2 per cent over the total of $1,556,135,000 reported for
the preceding five weeks, ended April nth. An increase during the later period is contrary to sea­
sonal trend; income tax payments at the middle of March and quarterly settlements around April
1st usually swell debit figures sufficiently to exceed those of the following five weeks. Twelve of
the twenty-three cities reported higher figures for the period ended May 16th.
Debits totaling $1,606,633,000 during the 1928 period under review exceeded the total of $ 1 ,559 ,322,000 reported for the corresponding period last year by 3.0 per cent. Only eleven of the twentythree cities reported higher figures this year, compared with twelve cities reporting decreased totals,
but in some cities the gains were marked. Raleigh with an increase of 34.3 per cent led all cities in
percentage, gain, partly due to large State transactions this year, while both Charlotte and Danville
reported gains of more than 10 per cent in this year’s figures. Among the largest cities, increased
figures were reported by Baltimore, Charlotte, Norfolk and Washington, but Richmond and WinstonSalem reported lower totals for the 1928 period.
SAVINGS DEPOSITS—At the close of business on April 30, 1928, twelve mutual savings banks
in Baltimore had aggregate deposits totaling $183,096,168, compared with $180,663,255 on deposit at
the end of March this year and $163,243,423 at the end of April a year ago. The April 30, 1928, total
was the highest on record. Sixty-six regularly reporting member banks in the fifth reserve district
had time deposits amounting to $249,679,000 on May 16th, compared with $247,682,000 on deposit on
April n th this year and $221,992,000 on May n , 1927.
BUSINESS FAILURES—Dun’s Review for May 5th, in reviewing business failures for April,
says, “ Making the best exhibit for a number of months, the April insolvency returns show 1,818 com­
mercial failures in the United States, with liabilities of $34,985,145. The report not only discloses an
improvement, both in the number of defaults and amount of indebtedness, over the totals for sev­
eral preceding months, but also is more favorable than the statistics for April of recent years. It
is necessary to go back to last October to find fewer insolvencies than occurred last month, while the
liabilities are the smallest since last September. Moreover, the number of failures is less than in
any April since 1924, and the indebtedness is the lightest for the period since 1920. The numerical
decrease from the 1,968 defaults of April 1927 is 7.6 per cent, while the reduction from the 2,236
insolvencies of March of the present year is 18.7 per cent. In respect of the liabilities, last month’s
aggregate is fully 34 per cent below the $53,155,727 of April last year, and is more than 36 per cent
under the $54,814,145 reported for March of the current year.”
In the fifth district, April 1928 insolvencies totaled 106, with liabilities amounting to $2,316,842,
compared with 123 failures and liabilities totaling $3,800,752 reported for April 1927. Both the num­
ber of failures and the total liabilities involved reported last month were the lowest since last Oc­
tober.
LABOR—Although employment conditions continue unsatisfactory, and a larger number of work­
ers are idle, or are working only part time, than for several spring seasons, some improvement oc­
curred between the middle of April and the middle of May. The opening of a large volume of con­
struction work in the fifth district has taken many men from the ranks of the unemployed, and at
present it appears likely that sufficient work will be available during the summer to take care of
nearly all labor. In the neighborhood of Richmond and in several other localities in the district
large industrial plants are being erected. These plants will furnish work for the building trades for
some months, and afterwards will employ several thousand additional factory workers, most of
whom will be recruited locally. The workers in the textile sections continue part time labor, and a
seasonal decline in coal production has also reduced operating time at the mines. Farmers are now
using some additional labor for planting, and tobacco factories are running full time.
COAL—Bituminous coal production in April this year totaled approximately 32,188,000 net tons,
a decrease of 27 per cent under 43,955,000 tons mined in March 1928 and 7.2 per cent under 34,674,000
tons brought to the surface in April 1927. The April decline from the March figure was seasonal.
West Virginia mines continued their leadership in production during April. Retail prices were gen­
erally reduced early in April and the usual drive by retailers for summer orders is under way. The
Bureau of Mines, Department of Commerce, reported a coal reserve in the bins of industrial consu­
mers on April 1st totaling approximately 48,300,000 tons, compared with 75,000,000 tons on April 1st
last year, when heavy stocks had been built1 up in anticipation of the miners’ strike which began on
April 1, 1927. Retail stocks are about 23 per cent lower than a year ago, but all dealers have ade­
quate stock to make prompt deliveries on all orders.
TEXTILES —Textile mills in the fifth reserve district continued part time operations during

April.

Cotton consumed in the district totaled only 226,642 bales in April, a decrease under the 246,-




3

618 bales used during the longer month of March and also under 259,254 bales consumed in April
1927, when orders were on hand in sufficient volume to justify full time operations. North Carolina
mills used 123,421 bales of cotton in April this year, South Carolina mills used 95,156 bales, and V ir­
ginia mills used 8,065 bales. Fifth district consumption totaled 43.2 per cent of National consumption
last month, compared with 42 per cent of National consumption used in the district in April a year
ago.
BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF APRIL 1928 AND 1927._________

0
2

CITIES

3
4

5
6
7

8

Cumberland, Md...
Frederick, Md.....
Hagerstown, Md...
Danville Va.........
Lynchburg, Va....
Norfolk, Va..........
Petersburg, Va.....

9 Portsmouth, Va.

10 Richmond, Va......
11 Roanoke, Va........
12 Bluefield, W. Va...
13 Charleston, W. Va.
14 Clarksburg, W. Va
15 Huntington, W.Va.
16 Parkersburg,W.Va
17 Asheville, N. C.....
18 Charlotte, N. C....
19 Durham, N. C......
20 Greensboro, N. C.
21 High Point, N. C.~
22 Raleigh, N. C.......
23 Salisbury, N. C....
24 Wilmington, N. C.
25
26
27
28
29
30

1928

1928 1927

1 Baltimore, Md.....

?

Permits Issued
New
Repairs

Winston-Salem, N. C.

578
26
4
16
18
34

499
44

3
*25

1

86

100

64
7
53
37
33

21

32
79
48
65
36
31
9

12
101

8

33

21

23
84

144
91

12

41
40

68

25
25
64
60
72
77
55
18

10
101

14
19
Charleston, S. C ...
25
33
Columbia, S. C.....
13
17
Greenville, S. C....
25
43
Spartanburg, S. C.
313
Washington, D. C. 171
Totals......... 1,758 2,024

1927

New Construction
1928

1927

1,218 1,248 $ 1,585,800 $ 3,008,040
9
134,257
11
95,700
1
2
7,075
15,110
18
13
4,825
149,155
6
16
32,185
47,045
29
29
302,014
70,566
77
102
621,280
268,730
7
8
11,700
1,500
*21
*66,630
68
87
952,194
41
37
299,731
257,780
2
7
31,165
6,970
16
16
84,493
95,655
24
14
61,380
38,753
1
3
79,425
91,687
12
8
61,650
55,650
52
120
360,583
301,916
24
37
578,500
506,000
9
15
223,485
278,243
37
318,970
51
420,421
8
13
150,350
271,535
14
10
157,515
1,092,200
2
5
20,350
114,980
9
8
53,200
92,700
69
40
534,295
448,272
29
16,933
28,592
27
32
60
127,900
189,700
40
30
59,200
51,100
14
60,275
18
254,461
562 2,858,950
420
4,157,180
2,349 2,536 $ 9,495,480 $14,186,858

Alterations
1928

1927

$ 546,950 $
23,329

200

30,600

2,020

11,082
96,615
5,755
*10,281
96,829
10,136
600
39,650
7,985
2,800
9,100
29,102
28,802
11,275
115,368
7,375
6,718
1,365
6,700
59,029
7,910
21,450
27,905
12,040
176,920
$1,395,610

705,960
8,716
1,800
37,475
15,150
11,165
59,505
6,650
181,068
15,197
12,225
69,062
7,075
1,500
9,150
53,677
28,850
11,390
15,791
5,585
3,375
1,600
9,000
108,312
14,350
13,265
56,100
2,515
278,490

Increase or Per Cent
of
Decrease
of
Increase
0
or
Total
Z
Valuation Decrease
$—1,581,250
— 23,944
—
9,635
— 151,205
— 27,990
— 231,531
389,660
9,305

— 615^062
36,890
— 35,820
— 40,574
23,537
— 10,962
5,950
34,092
72,452
— 54,873
—
1,874
— 119,395
— 931,342
— 94,865
— 41,800
36,740
— 18,099
— 53,615
— 20,095
— 184,661
—1,399,800
$1,743,998 $ —5,039,766

—
—
—
—
—
—

42.6%
16.7
57.0
81.0
45.0
73.9
118.7
114.2

— 37.0
13.5
— 82.6
— 24.6
51.4
— 11.8
9.2
9.6
13.5
— 18.9
— 0.4
— 43.1
— 85.0
— 81.4
— 41.1

6.6

—
—
—
—
—

42.1
26.4
18.7
71.9
31.6

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

— 31.6%

— Denotes decrease.
* Portsmouth figures not included in totals.
NOTE— The figures in the above table reflect the amount of work provided for in the corporation limits of the
several cities, but take no account of suburban developments.

The increase in building operations in the cities of the fifth district, which began with the New
Year, was checked last month. Building inspectors in twenty-nine leading fifth district cities issued
only 1,758 permits for new construction in April, compared witl 1,985 permits issued in March and
2,024 in April last year. In estimated valuation, new work provided for in April totaled $9,495,480, compared
with $14,342,937 in March 1928 and $14,186,858 in April 1927. Alteration and repair permits issued
in April totaled 2,349, with estimated valuation of $1,395,610, compared with 2,536 permits and $1,743,998 valuation for the same class of work in April a year ago. Total valuation for all classes of
permits in April amounted toj $10,891,090, compared with $15,930,856 in April 1927, a decline this year
of $5,039,766, or 31.6 per cent. Higher valuation figures for the 1928 month were shown by only
eight of the twenty-nine reporting cities. In spite of the marked decline in the April figures under
those of April 1927, however, the total amount of construction work provided for in the reporting
cities during the first four months of 1928 exceeds the work for which permits were issued in the
first third of 1927. In addition, in certain localities in the fifth district there is much industrial work
under way, which is not within city limits and therefore does not show in the building permit statis­
tics. Contracts awarded in April for construction work in the fifth reserve district totaled $66,590,828, compared with $31,192,000 awarded in April 1927, according to figures collected by the F. W.
Dodge Corporation. Of the awards in April this year, $16,031,698 went into residential work, the
balance of more than $50,000,000 representing industrial, commercial or public utility construction.
COTTON—Unfavorable weather for planting and indications of a relatively heavy weevil infes­
tation this year tended to raise cotton prices during the past month. From an average of 19.62 cents
per pound paid growers in the Carolinas for middling upland cotton during the week ended April
14th the average price rose to 20.82 cents per pound during the week ended May 12th, the latest
period for which official figures are available. This figure is the highest for any week since last Sep­
tember, and is more than 6 cents per pound above the May 1927 price.




4

Cotton consumed in American mills during April 1928 totaled 525,158 bales, compared with 581,318 bales consumed in March this year and 618,279 bales used in April 1927. Total consumption for
the nine months of the season to date—August 1, 1927, to April 30, 1928—amounted to 5>3°5>67i
bales, compared with 5,330,031 bales consumed during the corresponding period ended April 30, 1927.
According to the Bureau of the Census report of May 14th, consuming establishments held 1,507,992
bales of cotton in their warehouses on April 30th, compared with 1,891,137 bales so held on the cor­
responding date a year earlier. Public warehouses and compresses held 2,921,306 bales in storage on
April 30th, compared with 3,669,737 bales a year ago. Exports totaled 485,219 bales in April this year,
compared with 855,449 bales shipped abroad during the same month of 1927, and total exports for the
nine months ended April 30th amounted to 6,330,598 bales against 9,684,505 bales exported during
the nine months ended April 30, 1927. Imports last month totaled 18,196 bales, compared with 38,058
bales brought in during April last year. The cotton growing states consumed 396,566 bales in April
this year, or 75.5 per cent of National consumption, compared with 447,127 bales, or 72.3 per cent
of National consumption, used in the cotton growing states during April 1927.
The cotton crop is starting off poorly this season, cold and wet weather having delayed planting
in some sections of the cotton growing territory and retarded growth in other sections. Cotton
is a hot weather plant, needing much sunshine and thriving especially during hot nights, but this sea­
son has been unusually cool. According to Department of Agriculture records, a comparatively large
number of weevils survived the winter, a condition made more serious by the lateness of the crop.
However, no plant can make a quicker recovery from an unfavorable start than cotton, and if the
weather is favorable during the growing season the time lost during Spring may be completely made
up. It is too early to form any opinion as to probable yield this year.
TOBACCO—Virginia tobacco markets have closed for this season. Total sales of leaf tobacco
for the 1927-1928 season in the state amounted to 143,016,431 pounds, according to reports to the
Commissioner of Agriculture. The sales for 1926-1927 season amounted to 145,389,806 pounds. The
amount of tobacco actually sold was 10 per cent greater than the estimate made by the Department
of Agriculture last fall, but the difference was due to about 15,000,000 pounds of North Carolina
grown tobacco being sold on Virginia markets. The Virginia production for 1927, therefore, was ap­
proximately 128,000,000 pounds, compared with the December estimate of 129,000,000 pounds and a
production in 1926 of 137,032,000 pounds. Prices for all types except Flue-Cured were higher than
for the previous season, the 1927 average of $18.13 per hundred comparing with $17.92 per hundred
paid for the 1927 crop. Burley tobacco showed the greatest increase in price, averaging $23.86 per
hundred in comparison with $15.05 average for the preceding season. The amount of Flue-Cured to­
bacco sold was 108,033,535 pounds, which was 75.5 per cent of the total sales of all types. Fire-Cured
sales amounted to 26,472,157 pounds, or 18.5 per cent of the total sales. Approximately 4 per cent of
the total sales was Sun-Cured tobacco, and Burley, which is grown in Southwest Virginia, made up
about 2 per cent of all sales. The quality of tobacco last year was very good, especially for Burley
and Sun-Cured. Warehousemen estimated that all sales graded 27 per cent good, 34 per cent medi­
um, and 39 per cent common, while for the previous season the grade estimates were 23 per cent
good, 36 per cent medium and 41 per cent common. Danville led all Virginia markets in season sales
with 49,591,099 pounds, South Boston ranking second with 25,496,275 pounds, both markets handling
Flue-Cured tobacco. Lynchburg with sales totaling 8,308,001 pounds led the Fire-Cured markets.
Richmond sold 5,459,241 pounds of Sun-Cured and Abingdon sold 3,051,498 pounds of Burley, these
cities handling all of the two types mentioned.
AGRICULTURAL NOTES— Nearly all crops are late this season, due to continued cold weather
and much rain. Winter grains are backward in all the states of the fifth district, and winter freezes
caused heavy abandonment of acreage. Pastures are also poor, and in some sections of the district
cattle were still on winter feed on the first of May. Fruit prospects, however, are better than they
were last year, the continued cold weather proving favorable by preventing premature development
of buds. The damage to peaches done by April freezes was serious, but apple prospects are much
better than a year ago. Truck shipments are late this year, but yields promise to be good in most
crops. In South Carolina, April rainfall was the heaviest in 42 years, and as a result cotton and corn
stands are irregular from poor germination and dying from cold, and much replanting has been
necessary. The poor beginning does not necessarily mean that this season’s yields will be poor, how­
ever, most crops having the power to overcome a very late start if favorable weather occurs during
the growing season.




5

F IG U R E S O N R E T A IL T R A D E
As Indicated By Reports from Thirty Representative Department Stores for the Month of April 1928
Percentage increase in April 1928 sales, over sales in April 1927:
Baltimore
Richmond
Washington
Other Cities
District
— 12.0
— 1.7
— 8.7
— 13.3
— 9.9
Percentage increase in total sales since January 1st, over sales during the first four months in 1927:
— 2.3
1.7
1.0
— 6.3
— 1.1
Percentage increase in April 1928 sales over average April sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive:
— 7.6
21.3
7.5
— 8.9
.04
Percentage increase in stock on hand April 30, 1928, over stock on April 30, 1927:
— 6.1
— 2.5
1.6
— 3.3
— 2.6
Percentage increase in stock on hand April 30, 1928, over stock on March 31, 1928:
.3
— .9
.4
2.0
.5
Percentage of sales in April 1928 to average stock carried during that month:
25.5
29.9
26.0
18.8
25.2
Percentage of total sales since January 1st to average stock carried during each of the four months:
98.8
111.3
104.1
73.9
98.6
Percentage of collections in April to total accounts receivable on April 1, 1928:
24.0
30.6
30.0
30.0
27.1
— Denotes decreased percentage.

Retail trade during April in the Fifth Federal reserve district, as reflected in department store
sales, fell below, the trade of April 1927, chiefly because Easter was so early this year that most of
the seasonal buying occurred in March, while in 1927 this trade came in April. April 1927 also con­
tained one more business day than April 1928. Last month thirty leading department stores sold
9.9 per cent less, measured in dollars, than in April 1927, but averaged slightly larger sales than av­
erage April sales during the three years 1923-1925, inclusive. The smaller volume of business done
in April was more than sufficient to offset higher sales in earlier months this year, and total sales
from January 1st through April 30th averaged 1.1 per cent less than sales during the first four
months of 1927.
Stocks of merchandise on the shelves of the reporting stores were 2.6 per cent lower in selling
value at the end of April 1928 than a year earlier, but were five-tenths of 1 per cent larger than a
month earlier. Last month’s increase in stock on hand was an unseasonal development.
The percentage of sales to average stocks carried during April was 25.2 per cent for the district
as a whole, and the percentage of total sales during the first four months of this year to average
stocks carried during each of the four elapsed months was 98.6 per cent, indicating that business
since January 1st was at an annual turnover rate of 2.958 times. During the first four monthe of
1927 the turnover rate was 2.997 times.
Collections by the thirty reporting stores during April totaled 27.1 per cent of outstanding re­
ceivables as of April 1st, a lower average than 27.5 per cent reported for March this year but higher
than 26.6 per cent collected in April 1927. Baltimore, Richmond and Washington reported higher
percentages in April than in April a year ago, but the Other Cities reported a decline. Richmond
and Washington showed some improvement last month over March 1928 collections.




6

WHOLESALE TRADE, APRIL 1928
Percentage increase in April 1928 sales, compared with sales in April 1927:
32 Groceries
11 Dry Goods
5 Shoes
16 Hardware
5 Furniture
13 Drugs
1.2
— 18.3
— 5.2
— 17.0
— 28.9
— 8.2
Percentage increase in April 1928 sales, compared with sales in March 1928:
— 4.1
— 22.9
—21.7
— 13.6
— 22,6
— 12.9
Percentage increase in total sales since Jan. 1, 1928, compared with sales during the first four months in 1927:
.4
— 14.3
— 2.8
— 9.2
— 16.9
— 3.3
Percentage increase in stock on April 30, 1928, compared with stock on April 30, 1927:
2.6(11*)
15.3(4*)
— 34.1 (4*)
— .6 ( 8*)
_______
_____
Percentage increase in stock on April 30, 1928, compared with stock on March 31, 1928:
— 1.7(11*)
— 3.9(4*)
1.0(4*)
.6 ( 8*)
Percentage of collections in April to accounts receivable on April 1, 1928:
61.9(19*)
34.5(8*)
32.6(5*)
34.6(12*)
19.3(3*)
61.1(9*)
— Denotes decreased percentage.

* Number of reporting firms.

Eighty-two wholesale and jobbing houses, representing six leading lines, sent confidential reports
on their April business to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. The figures show that sales in
all lines were seasonally less in April than in March of this year, and in all lines except groceries
total sales since January ist through April were less than sales during the corresponding four
months last year. In comparison with April 1927 sales, those of April 1928 show an increase in gro­
ceries, but in all other lines sales last month were lower than a year earlier.
Stocks of merchandise carried by the reporting firms increased during April in shoes and hard­
ware, but declined in groceries and dry goods. At the end of April this year, the reporting grocery
and dry goods firms had larger stocks than on April 30, 1927, but the stocks of the reporting shoe
and hardware firms were less than a year ago.
Collections showed some improvement during April over March in all lines except furniture.
Dry goods and drug collections in April 1928 were better than in April 1927, but grocery, shoe, hard­
ware and furniture collections last month were below those of the corresponding month a year ear­
lier. The percentage of collections to receivables outstanding at the beginning of the month re­
ported by the furniture firms dropped in April 1928 to 19.3 per cent from 29.8 per cent in April 1927
and 54.8 in April 1926.




(Compiled May 21, 1928)

7

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

The volume of industrial production continued large during April, reflecting chiefly increased
output in metal industries, while activity in industries producing food and clothing decreased. Whole­
sale and retail trade also declined. The general level of wholesale commodity prices increased in
April, reflecting advances in farm products. There were large exports of gold in April and May,
member bank loans and their borrowings at the reserve banks continued to increase, and money
rates showed further advances.
PRODUCTION—Production of manufactures remained in about the same volume in April as in
March, while the output of minerals declined slightly, owing chiefly to a decrease in production of
bituminous coal. Daily average output of iron and steel, copper, and zinc increased in April, b u t
since the first of May there has been some curtailment in steel-mill activity. Automobile production
was maintained in large volume during April and according to preliminary reports also during the first
half of May. Textile mill activity, output of boots and shoes, and meat production showed substan­
tial declines during April. The volume of factory employment declined slightly, reflecting chiefly
decreases in the food, leather, and textile industries. Building contracts awarded in April exceeded
those for any previous month, and awards during the first three weeks of May continued in un­
usually large volume.
TRADE—Sales by department stores and by wholesale firms in most lines of trade declined in
April and were in smaller volume than a year ago. Average daily sales of department stores, after
allowance is made for the earlier date of Easter and the usual seasonal changes, were smaller in
April than in March and were also smaller than in April a year ago. This decrease was due largely
to unfavorable weather conditions. Stocks of department stores, after adjustment for seasonal
changes, were in about the same volume as in March and slightly smaller than a year ago. Freight
car loadings showed an increase between the beginning of April and the middle of May, but for most
classes of commodities continued smaller than a year ago.
PRICES—The general level of wholesale commodity prices, as indicated by the index of the Bu­
reau of Labor Statistics, increased from 96 per cent of the 1926 average in March to 97.4 per cent in
April. This increase reflected sharp advances in the prices of grains, cotton, livestock, and hide and
leather products. Rubber prices continued to decline and most of the other groups of commodities
showed little change. During the first three weeks of May there were declines in the prices of
grains, flour, sheep and hogs, and increases in copper, zinc and rubber.
BANK CREDIT—At member banks, loans largely for commercial and industrial purposes, fol­
lowing a rapid increase during February and March, have shown little change since the early part
of April. Loans on securities continued to increase and total loans and investments of reporting
member banks in the middle of May were larger than at any previous time. The outward movement
of gold continued in May, the decline in monetary gold stock during the four weeks ending May
23rd being nearly $90,000,000. This loss of gold, together with further sales of United States securi­
ties by the reserve banks, was reflected in an increase of nearly $140,000,000 in member bank bor­
rowing at the reserve banks. There were further advances in open market money rates during May,
and discount rates at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta and
Dallas were raised from 4 to 4^2 per cent.

Note: The occurrence of Sunday and the Memorial Day holiday near the end of the month shortened printing time
and caused the omission of the usual charts accompanying this summary.




8