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MONTHLY REVIEW CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND RICHMOND, VIRGINIA B MAY 31, 1931 USINESS in the Fifth Federal reserve district from March production and was much below produc showed conflicting tendencies in April and the tion in April 1930. The textile industry in the United States made further progress in April over March, but first half of May. In some lines of trade develop Fifth district mills did not keep pace with the rest ments followed seasonal trends, while in others tinseasonal results were noted. Business activity in all of the country. South Carolina and Virginia mills in lines, whether showing seasonal progress or retro creased their cotton consumption in April over March, gression or not, was on a lower level than in other but consumption last month in North Carolina mills recent years. At the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich fell behind that of the earlier month. Cotton prices mond, the volume of rediscounts failed to show a nor in April and May ruled lower than in the preceding mal seasonal increase last month, and at the middle two months or the same time last year, declining on of May only seven of fifty-three of the district’s May IS to the lowest figure since the World War. largest member banks were borrowing at the reserve Department store sales in April averaged 8.2 per cent bank. Deposits in reporting member banks increased less in dollar amount than sales in April 1930, but a between the middle of April and the middle of May, considerable part of the decline was due to the earlier both demand and time deposits increasing, but loans by Easter date this year, which threw a large part of the the same banks decreased, contrary to custom at this special buying into March. Total sales during the time of the year when credit for crop planting is need first four months of 1931 averaged only 2.7 per cent ed. The volume of both reserve bank and member bank credit outstanding in this district is smaller at less than sales in the first four months of 1930, a very present than at the same time last year. On the other favorable comparison in view of price changes during hand, bank deposits are higher than those of May the year, practically all of which changes were down 1930, increased time deposits more than offsetting a ward. Wholesale trade in five leading lines was in moderate decline in demand deposits. Debits to indi considerably less volume in April 1931 than in April vidual accounts figures for four weeks ended May 13 1930, but groceries, dry goods and hardware showed showed a moderate seasonal reduction in comparison increased sales in comparison with March sales. All with debits in the four weeks ended April 15, 1931, five lines report lower sales for the first four months but were materially lower than aggregate debits in the this year than gales in the corresponding period last four weeks ended May 14 last year. However, lower year. Although the outlook for good prices for agri price levels this year partly account for the decline in cultural products this year is not good at present, 1931 debits figures. The commercial failure statistics weather and soil conditions are quite favorable for for April in the Fifth District made about the worst large yields of most of the crops grown in the Fifth showing for any April on record, although the dis reserve district. The supply of moisture in the ground, trict record in liabilities involved in April failures which was badly depleted by the record drought of last compared more favorably with April 1930 figures than summer and fall, has been restored by frequent rains the National liability figures. Employment conditions in April and May, and early crops are making good last month showed less than seasonal improvement, progress. On the whole, grain prospects in the dis and the fact that the large number of people who are trict are good, and farmers appear to be planting con out of employment or who are working only part time siderably more food and feed crops this season, in an are unable to make their usual purchases is an influ attempt to make themselves more nearly independent of ence in the lower level in all lines of trade. Bitu their money crops. Farming expenses are also being minous coal production in April declined materially held to the lowest possible levels this spring. MONTHLY REVIEW 2 Member Bank Statement Reserve Bank Statement ITEMS Rediscounts held---------------Open market paper------------Government securities............. Total earning assets............. Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.. Meml>ers, reserve deposits........ Cash reserves -----------------Reserve ra tio ........................... 000 omitted May 15, April 15, May 15, 1931 1931 1930 $ 13,576 $ 14,475 $ 16,851 104 9,105 100 12,640 16,983 29,983 38,596 31,562 43,659 67,643 78,483 76,028 63,229 62,075 60,438 103,293 118,223 102,693 77.20 82.41 73.79 Effective May 15, 1931, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond reduced its rediscount rate on all classes of paper from 3j5^ per cent to 3 per cent, the new rate superseding the one established on July 18, 1930. Al though there was some seasonal increase in country bank borrowing last month, incident to crop planting needs, the aggregate volume of rediscounts held by the Richmond Bank declined by $899,000 between April 15 and May 15. The holdings of bankers acceptances purchased in the open market were nominal in both April and May, but the Bank increased its total earn ing assets by purchases from other Federal reserve banks of $13,000,C O of Government securities. Fed O eral reserve notes in actual circulation continued a seasonal decline between the middle of April and the middle of May, decreasing $2,455,000 during the pe riod. Aggregate reserve balances of member banks at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond declined by $1,637,000 between April 15 and May 15, country banks drawing on their reserves to meet agricultural needs. The several changes mentioned, especially the purchase of Government securities for temporary in vestment, lowered the Bank’s cash reserves by $14,930,000, and reduced the ratio of reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined by 8.62 points. ITEMS 000 omitted May 13, April 15, May 14, 1931 1931 1930 Loans on stocks and bonds (in cluding Government) ______ All other loans______________ Total loans and discounts____ Investment in stocks and bonds.... Reserve balance with F. R. Bk. Cash in vaults______________ Demand deposits____________ Time deposits ........................ .... Borrowed from F. R. Bank........ $160,163 $161,826 $197,028 262,630 262,266 285,238 422,793 424,092 482,266 214,373 222,909 160,595 40,892 38,263 41,028 11,398 15,238 13,777 337,031 331,198 346,538 262,025 259,033 247,302 2,193 3,720 3,797 The figures in the above table show the principal items of condition as of three dates for fifty-three member banks in thirteen of the leading cities of the Fifth reserve district. It should be understood that the figures shown reflect the composite condition of the reporting banks on the report dates only, and are riot necessarily the highest or lowest figures that oc curred during the period under review. Between April 15 and May 13, both this year, total loans and discounts at the fifty-three reporting banks declined by $1,299,000, a drop in security loans amounting to $1,663,000 more than offsetting a slight seasonal increase in all other loans, which at this sea son are chiefly for agricultural needs incident to crop planting, fertilizer purchases, etc. For the first time in many months, investments in bonds and stocks de clined between the middle of April and the middle of May, decreasing by $8,536,000. The reporting banks reduced their borrowing at the reserve bank by $1,527,000 between April 15 and May 13, and increased their reserve balances by $2,629,000. Cash in vaults rose by $1,461,000 during the month, and aggregate deposits increased by $8,825,000, demand deposits rising by $5,833,000 and time deposits gaining $2,992,000. A material increase in demand deposits at this season, when correspondent banks in agricul tural regions need their funds and city merchants are Comparison of condition figures for May 15, 1931, paying for spring goods sold during the Easter period, with those for May 15 last year shows a decline of is an unusual occurrence. $3,275,000 in rediscounts for member banks, and a When condition figures for May 13, 1931, are com drop of $9,005,000 in the portfolio of open market pared with those reported for May 14, 1930, the great paper, but these decreases in earning assets were more decline in the demand for credit this year is clearly than offset by an increase amounting to $17,343,000 in shown. During the year total loans and discounts holdings of Government securities, so that during the held by the fifty-three reporting banks declined $59,year the total earning assets of the Federal Reserve 473,000, of which a decrease in security loans account Bank of Richmond rose by $5,063,000. However, the ed for $36,865,000 and a drop in all other loans ac rate of return on earning assets this year is mate counted for $22,608,000. In spite of the close rela rially lower than the average rate a year ago. The tionship between loans and deposits, the latter showed circulation of Federal reserve notes of the Richmond an aggregate increase of $5,216,000 during the past reserve bank was $8,385,000 higher on May 15 this year, a decline of $9,507,000 in demand deposits being year than on May 15, 1930, but member bank reserve more than offset by an increase in time deposits deposits held by the Bank decreased $2,791,000 during amounting to $14,723,000. To employ their funds, the same period. Aggregate cash reserves of the Fed the reporting banks increased their investments in eral Reserve Bank of Richmond were practically the bonds and stocks by $53,778,000, increased their cash same at the middle of May in both years, but the ratio in vaults by $3,840,000, and reduced their borrowing of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined at the reserve bank by $1,604,000. On May 13, 1931, only seven of the fifty-three reporting banks were borwas 3.41 points lower on the 1931 date. MONTHLY REVIEW rowing at the reserve bank, compared with seventeen which were borrowing on May 14, 1930. Savings and Time Deposits Both mutual savings banks and reporting member banks made further gains in savings and time deposits during the past month. Aggregate deposits in the twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore at the end of April 1931 totaled $207,110,308, compared with $204,327,056 on March 31, 1931, and $195,174,471 on April 30, 1930. Time deposits in fifty-three regularly reporting member banks in the Fifth district totaled $262,025,000 on May 13, in comparison with $259,033,000 on April 15 this year and $247,302,000 on May 14, 1930. Debits to Individual Accounts CITIES 000 omitted Total debits, four weeks ended May 14, April 15, May 13, 1930 1931 1931 Asheville, N. C ------- $ 10,737 352,321 Baltimore, Md. 15,695 Charleston, S. C.— 38,036 Charleston, W. Va.---41,177 Charlotte, N. C... 18458 Columbia, S. C.~ 7,216 Cumberland, Md. 5,394 Danville, Va. 19,868 Durham, N. C.------17,314 Greensboro, N. ,C.— 15,243 Greenville, S. C.----8,289 Hagerstown, Md.........15,679 Huntington, W. Va.— 15,310 Lynchburg, Va.......... 10,350 Newport News, Va.— 46,008 Norfolk, Va. ------ -4,151 Portsmouth, V a .-----15,947 Raleigh, N. C .--------111,377 Richmond, Va.............. 24,476 Roanoke, V a .---------9,000 Spartanburg, S. C.— 221,076 Washington, D. C.— 11,558 Wilmington, N. C.---27,678 Winston-Salem, N. C... District totals $1,062,058 $ 11,963 341,727 16,537 34,780 44,582 23,814 7,297 5,430 23,047 18,530 14,580 8,367 14,418 15,244 9,562 43,237 3,928 19,130 113,304 22,887 9,459 231,762 12,481 32,431 $1,078,497 $ 21,633 411,481 28,090 42,387 47,229 31,149 8,457 6,584 22,587 19,925 16,428 9,448 19,312 16,270 10,309 54,696 4,648 26,134 120,416 27,931 11,684 217,780 14,845 32,233 $1,221,656 Aggregate payments by checks drawn on clearing house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth Federal reserve district are shown in the accompanying table for three equal periods of four weeks, ended May 13, 1931, April 15, 1931, and May 14, 1930, thus afford ing an opportunity for comparison of the latest figures with those for the preceding like period this year and the corresponding period a year ago. These payments by check are generally referred to as debits to indi vidual accounts, and eliminate the duplication repre sented by bank drafts, which are as a rule merely transfers of funds between banks. Total debits in the reporting cities during the four weeks ended May 13 this year totaled $16,439,000, or 1.5 per cent, less than debits during the immediately preceding four weeks, ended April 15, 1931, but the decline was seasonal and was due to the inclusion of 3 quarterly payments around April 1 in the earlier pe riod. Nine of the twenty-four reporting cities showed higher figures for the more recent period. Among the larger centers, Baltimore, Norfolk and Charleston, W. Va., reported higher figures for the current four weeks, but Washington, Richmond, Charlotte and WinstonSalem reported lower figures. In comparison with debits reported for the four weeks ended May 14, 1930, those for the correspond ing four weeks this year, ended May 13, 1931, show a total decline of $159,598,000, or 13.1 per cent, at least a considerable part of which was doubtless due to lower price levels this year. Every reporting city except Newport News and Washington showed lower figures for the 1931 period, and the increases reported by these two cities were very small, the former gaining 4/10 of 1 per cent and the latter 1.5 per cent. Commercial Failures Bankruptcies in the Fifth Federal reserve district in April were more numerous than in any other April on record, 156 failures being reported by R. G. Dun & Co., but the number was less than failures in any earlier month this year. Liabilities involved in April insol vencies totaling $3,873,402 also compared unfavorably with all preceding Aprils except that of 1930, when liabilities totaling $7,244,020 were reported. In num ber of failures, April 1931 showed an increase over April 1930 of 20 per cent for the Fifth district against only 8.4 per cent for the United States, but in aggre gate liabilities last month showed a decrease of 46.5 per cent for the Fifth district in comparison with an increase of 3.7 per cent for the United States. Nine of the twelve reserve districts reported more insolven cies in April 1931 than in April 1930, and seven of the twelve districts also reported increased liabilities this year. Employment No current figures on employment are available for the Fifth reserve district, but it does not appear that conditions improved materially during the past month. The demand for workers normally increases in the spring and early summer, and this has been true to some extent this year, but construction work has not shown the usual expansion and therefore the increase in the demand for workers on outside building projects is less this year. Factories in the district have not increased operating time, and public building work partly undertaken to relieve unemployment is slow in getting started. Coal Production Production of bituminous coal in the United States during the month of April amounted to 28,478,000 net tons, compared with 33,870,000 tons mined in March 1931 and 35,860,000 tons in April 1930. Total pro duction of soft coal during the present calendar year to May 9 (approximately 110 working days) amounts to 140,713,000 net tons, a materially smaller amount 4 MONTHLY REVIEW than for any other year during the past five. The May 2 report of the Bureau of Mines, Depart ment of Commerce, showed production figures by states for March. West Virginia with an output of 8,385,000 net tons was in second place, Pennsylvania with 8,772,000 tons ranking first. The three coal producing states of the Fifth district, West Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, dug 27.9 per cent of all soft coal mined in the United States in March, compared with 27.7 per cent reported by the district in March a year ago. Retail coal prices have been reduced to summer levels throughout the Fifth district, and in most places are the same as prices quoted in the summer of 1930. Freight and delivery costs account for most of the retail price of coal, and therefore fluctuations in whole sale prices at the mines play relatively little part in fixing retail prices. Textiles Two or three months ago the textile industry began to show signs of improvement, and the Fifth district mills kept pace until April, but during that month con sumption of cotton dropped slightly below the March figure and the percentage of total consumption which was attained by the Fifth district declined. Fifth dis tract mills consumed 220,895 bales of cotton in April this year, of which North Carolina mills used 114,918 bales, South Carolina mills 94,969 bales, and Virginia mills 11,008 bales. In March 1931, Fifth district mills consumed 220,902 bales and in April 1930 used 230,968 bales. Consumption in the Fifth district was 43.42 per cent of National consumption in April 1931, a lower figure than 45.03 per cent in March this year, and exactly the same percentage as in April 1930. Most of the recent development of the Southern textile industry has been farther south than the Fifth district. Cotton Statistics After showing some strength during February and March, the cotton market softened in April, and worked gradually downward through the first half of May. From an average price of 9.48 cents per pound paid in ten Southern spot markets for middling cotton on April 17, the price dropped to 8.89 cents two weeks later and then rose to 9.31 cents on May 8. However, after that date the price turned downward again, and on May 15, the latest date for which quotations are available, averaged only 8.80 cents per pound, the lowest price reported since the collapse of the cotton market in the early days of the World War. On May 16 last year the average price was 15.17 cents, a dif ference of $31.85 a bale in favor of the earlier year. Consumption of cotton in the United States in April 1931 totaled 508,744 bales, compared with 490,586 xbales used in March this year and 531,911 bales in April 1930. Total consumption for the nine months of the present cotton season—August 1 to April 30— amounted to 3,899,272 bales, compared with 4,848,298 bales consumed in the corresponding period of the 1929-1930 season. Manufacturing establishments held 1,370,044 bales on April 30, compared with 1,477,758 bales held on March 31 and 1,662,215 bales on April 30, 1930. Public warehouses and compresses held 6,034,295 bales in storage at the end of April this year, compared with 6,642,648 bales so held a month earlier and 3,637,046 bales on April 30 last year. April exports totaled 391,871 bales, compared with 349,762 bales sent abroad in April 1930. Exports during the nine months of this cotton year totaled 5,905,654 bales, compared with 6,120,526 bales shipped over seas dur ing the corresponding nine months ended April 30, 1930. Spindles active at some time during April num bered 26,645,404, compared with 26,489,832 in March this year and 28,851,122 in April 1930. Cotton consumption in the cotton growing states totaled 390,418 bales in April, compared with 383,552 bales used in March and 412,232 bales in April 1930. Last month’s consumption in the cotton growing states amounted to 76.74 per cent of National consumption, a smaller percentage than 78.18 per cent in March this year or 77.50 per cent in April 1930. Of the 390,418 bales of cotton consumed in the cotton growing states in April, the Fifth district mills used 220,895 bales, or 56.58 per cent, compared with 56.03 per cent of Southern consumption attained in the district in April last year. In the cotton growing section of the Fifth district, comprising the two Carolinas and some counties in southeastern Virginia, the weather was favorable for cotton planting, but temperatures have been too low for best development and the crop is not as far ad vanced as it should be at this time of the year. How ever, there has been plenty of rain in recent weeks, and the conditions are good for rapid development of cot ton as soon as the weather turns warm. No official acreage statistics are available, but reports believed to be reasonably accurate indicate some reduction in acreage this season. Probably a reduction in the use of fertilizer tinder the 1931 crop of cotton will be more important in cutting production than the smaller acreage, unless unusually favorable weather during the growing season neutralizes the effect of less com mercial plant food. The reduction in the use of fer tilizer was due to inability of many farmers to finance their usual supply of it. Tobacco Manufacturing A report on taxes on manufactured tobacco collected by the Treasury Department during the nine months ended March 31, 1931, was issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue on May 5. In the United States as a whole, taxes collected during the nine months ended March 31 this year were less than those col lected in the corresponding period ended March 31, 1930, but taxes paid on tobacco products manufactured in the Fifth district increased during the later period, due to a marked increase in cigarette production in Richmond. Total taxes collected in the United States on tobacco products in the nine months ended March 31, 1931, amounted to $327,328,115, and of this amount the Fifth district states paid $254,102,325, or 77.6 per cent. The proportion of the total tax paid MONTHLY REVIEW by the district increased this year, the district showing an increase of 3.3 per cent in contrast to a National decrease of 1.4 per cent. During the period ended March 31, 1931, North Carolina paid $182,844,513, a little under 56 per cent of the entire amount paid in the United States. Virginia, although far behind North Carolina in total payment, ranked second with $69,495,796, or 21 per cent of the National total. Although North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia manufacture between a third and a half of the pipe and chewing tobacco made in the country, taxes paid on cigarettes amounting to $231,891,645 made up over 91 per cent of the district's total payment. The ciga rette tax paid by the district in the nine months ended March 31, 1930, indicates production of 77,297,215,000 cigarettes during the period under review, an increase of 2,828,422,000 cigarettes in comparison with pro duction in the nine months ended March 31, 1930. During the later period, the number of cigarettes made in North Carolina decreased 1,318,332,000, but at the same time the number made in Virginia, all at Rich mond, rose by 4,146,785,000 cigarettes. A new factory, manufacturing one of the most popular brands of ciga rettes, was finished and began production about the middle of 1930. Agricultural Notes Weather in the Fifth reserve district has been favor able for farm work this spring, although generally low temperatures retarded germination of seed and growth of plants to some extent. On the whole, however, the cool weather was beneficial, holding back fruit buds until danger of frost damage was past and causing grain to develop good root systems. Prospects for this year's wheat and oat crops are considerably better than in average years in Virginia and the two Carolinas, but in Maryland and West Virginia grain pros pects are only fair. Throughout most of the district pastures, although late, are fair or better, and fruit prospects are considerably above normal. Early po tato crops are excellent, especially in the commercial section of South Carolina. Much corn has been planted, and the land was thoroughly prepared. The amount of fertilizer put under this year’s crops was less than is generally used, due to inability to finance it’s purchase. Agricultural statisticians report in creased acreages in food and feed crops this year, prob ably due to an unsatisfactory price situation for nearly all money crops. Cotton and tobacco farmers know that they are faced with very large reserve stocks of both cotton and tobacco, which does not argue favor ably for much improvement in this year’s prices, and therefore a larger number of farms than usual appear to be trying to make a living for themselves and their stock independently of their cash crops. Construction Building permits issued during April in thirty-two Fifth district cities compared very unfavorably with the volume of permits issued in April last year, Balti more being the only city to make a really creditable showing for the month, and Baltimore’s figures were 5 due in large part to efforts to obtain permits before a new zoning ordinance went into effect on May 1. Per mits for new construction issued in the thirty-two cities last month numbered 2,582, of which 1,879 were issued in Baltimore. Estimated valuation figures for new work totaled $8,712,743 last month, $5,379,360 of which was reported from Baltimore. Only three of the thirty-two reporting cities showed higher total valu ation figures for all classes of work in April 1931 than in April 1930, these being Baltimore, Richmond and Rock Hill, S. C. As previously stated, Baltimore’s increase was due to a desire to escape restrictions of a new zoning ordinance, and Richmond’s increase was due to low figures in April 1930 rather than to high figures last month. Rock Hill’s increase was chiefly due to an unusual amount of alteration and repair work this year. Contracts actually awarded for construction work in the Fifth district in April 1931 totaled $21,936,600, according it figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Cor poration. This figure shows a decrease of 47 per cent below awards totaling $40,971,884 in April 1930. Contracts for residential types of construction last month totaled $7,434,610, or approximately 34 per cent of the whole, compared with about 23 per cent of the April 1930 awards going for residential work. Retail Trade, 35 Department Stores___________ Richmond Baltimore Washington Oth. Cities District April 1931 sales, compared with sales in April 1930: —14.1 —11.7 — 1.7 — 9.9 — 8.2 Tot. sales in 4 mths. of 1931, comp, with 1st 4 mths. of 1930: — 6.0 — 4.6 2.6 — 9.6 — 2.7 — April 30, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on April 30, 1930: —15.8 —13.5 —11.0 —19.2 —13.7 April 30, 1931 stocks, compared with stocks on March 31, 1931: + 8.5 — 2.0 + .3 — .3 + .1 Number of times stock was turned in April 1931: .323 .337 .346 262 .329 Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1931: 1.221 1.24 1.285 .887 1.207 Percentage of April 1, 1931, receivables collected in April: 32.4______ 252_______327_______2^6_______28.8 Retail trade in the Fifth reserve district in April, as reflected in sales by 35 department stores, was in smaller amount than trade in April 1930, partly due to the earlier date of Easter this year which caused a relatively large part of spring buying of clothing to be done in March. Sales in the 35 stores last month averaged 8.2 per cent less than sales in April 1930, but a majority of the reporting stores showed larger declines, the average being reduced by the relatively good record made by the reporting stores in Wash ington. Washington’s record during earlier months this year also brought up the cumulative sales per centage for the first four months of the year, these sales averaging only 2.7 per cent less than sales in the corresponding period of the preceding year. Stocks carried by the 35 reporting department stores increased an average of 1/10 of 1 per cent between the first of April and the first of May, but at the end of April average stocks were 13.7 per cent smaller in selling value than on April 30, 1930, the decline being 6 MONTHLY REVIEW due partly to closer buying and partly to lower prices for most lines of merchandise this year. The stores turned their stock .329 times in April, and between January 1 and April 30 turned them 1.207 times, a better record than 1.047 times stock was turned in the first four months of 1930. Collections in April were better than in April last year. In April 1931 the reporting stores collected 28.8 per cent of receivables outstanding on April 1, in com parison with 27.2 per cent of outstanding receivables collected in April 1930. Both Baltimore and Wash ington reported better collections last month, but the Other Cities reported a decline, chiefly because in 1930 the Richmond stores were included in this group. 24 9 Groceries Dry Goods 6 Shoes 15 Hardware 11 Drtigs April 1931 sales, compared with sales in April 1930: —15.9 —15.5 —10.1 —24.9 - / 8.4 April 1931 sales, compared with sales in March 1931: + .3 +12.9 —21.3 +12.3 — 3.7 Jan.-April 1931 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-April 1930: —18.1 * 28.3 — —11.5 —29.5 — 5.4 April 30, 1931 stocks, compared with April 30, 1930 stocks: —14.6(8*) —28.2(4*) —18.2(6*) — 8.2(8*) ----April 30, 1931 stocks, compared with March 31, 1931 stocks: — 5.1(8*) — 6.4(4*) —*8.6(6*) — 3.8(8*) ----Percentage of April 1, 1931, receivables collected in April: 60.9(14*) 37.6(6*) 44.1(6*) 30.7(12*) 57.1(8*) —Denotes decreased percentage. *Number of reporting firms. Stocks carried by the reporting wholesale firms de creased seasonally in all lines during April, and at the end of the month were also lower than stocks a year Wholesale trade in April in the Fifth reserve dis earlier. trict exceeded that of March in groceries, dry goods Collections in April in wholesale lines were better and hardware, but was less in shoes and drugs. In in all lines except drugs than in March this year, but comparison with April 1930 sales, those of April 1931 three of the five lines reported slower collections in showed material declines in all five lines for which comparison with those of April 1930. Dry goods and statistics are available, the declines being due in part shoe collections in April 1931 were better than collec to lower prices this year. In total sales since January tions in April 1930, but groceries, hardware and drugs 1, all lines show smaller sales than in the first four reported lower percentages of receivables collected in April than in the same month last year, months of last year. (Compiled M ay 21, 1931) W holesale Trade, 65 Firms BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF APRIL 1931 AND 1930. Perm its Issued & ~~i 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 CITIES Baltimore, Md.------Cumberland, Md.----Frederick, Md.------Hagerstown, Md.---Salisbury, Md.------Danville, Va.---------Lynchburg, Va.____ Norfolk, V a.---------Petersburg, V a.-----Portsmouth, Va.-----Richmond, Va.------Roanoke, Va---------Bluefield, W. Va----Charleston, W. Va.— Clarksburg, W. Va.— Huntington, W.Va..... Asheville, N.C.------Charlotte, N. C.-----Durham, N. C.------Greensboro, N. C. — High Point, N. C.---Raleigh, N. C.-------Rocky Mount, N.C.— Salisbury, N. C .-----Wilmington, N.C.---Wuuton-Suem, N. C---Charleston, S. C.-----Columbia, S. C.------Greenville, S. C.-----Rock Hill, S. C. Spartanburg, S. G.:.... Washington, D. C..... Totals.................. New Repairs incw construction 1931 1930 1931 1930 1931 1930 1,879 616 1,021 1,222 $ 5,379,360 $ 4,948,920 6 15 1 12 8,330 12,050 5 12 6 13 227 6,554 19 25 1 16,420 5 26,228 21 30 7 13 16,300 199,375 9 5 8 600 6 27,440 14 26 26 23 46,860 190,640 92 73 43 42 97,135 125,925 4 3 1,700 7 3 21,800 16 23 33 24 16,900 71,235 60 73 72 71 282,700 228,627 12 35 31 30 264,225 272,000 4 13,040 7 14 10 32,455 9 19 166,250 26 59 205,900 6,015 13 28 12 10 18,655 4 20 6,900 17,891 11 14 5 15 41 27,381 20 7,690 167,275 31 45 31 36 277,485 9 8 29,350 138,050 7 19 27,280 15,033 17 11 39 40 6 2 45,875 61,800 17 15 6 14 23,800 100,375 8 16 2 10 6,450 35,850 2 11 4 0 2 0 0 12,300 6 6 10 9,400 8 26,600 38,610 23 31 132 86 357,095 6 29 42 10,200 9 22,375 43,600 14 16 29 26 50,900 8 11 21 57 35,975 70,200 5 18,660 11 14 18 17,260 14,975 8 17 26 17 40,475 201 196 418 314 1,890,950 4,475,200 2,582 1,470 2,078 2,227 $ 8,712,743 $12,114,383 Alterations 1930 1931 $ 490,080 577,200 250 6,010 580 5,988 200 3,780 2,775 6,550 7,405 2,768 9,418 10,195 21,715 22,045 3,025 800 16,565 8,900 25,182 57,326 12,249 23,202 4,035 3,690 20,300 8,125 7,350 13,325 10,300 15,000 3,205 26,200 10,446 1,748 8,140 9,420 28,255 60,068 1,350 1,600 1,675 10,100 400 4,710 0 550 6,000 13,300 33,842 48,110 7,640 23,405 10,490 8,235 6,435 30,665 30,870 2,500 7,210 18,218 303,520 315,730 $1,090,942 $1,339,428 Increase JL C S of or Total Valuation d 343,320 T 9,480 2 11,735 3 — 13,388 4 — 186,850 5 — 22,203 6 — 144,557 7 — 29,120 8 — 17,875 9 — 46,670 10 21,929 11 — 18,728 12 — 19,070 13 — 51,825 14 — 18,615 15 — 15,691 16 — 3,304 17 — 101,512 18 — 109,980 19 — 19,566 20 — 16,175 21 — 85,000 22 — 33,710 23 — 12,850 24 — 24,500 25 — 332,753 26 — 27,940 27 — 5,045 28 — 58,455 29 29,770 30 — 36,508 31 —2,572,040 32 $—3,650,126 $ — — Denotes decrease. ♦These 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 sev eral cities, but take no account of suburban developments. MONTHLY REVIEW 7 BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES (Compiled 1ar the Federal Reserve Board) Output of manufactures and employment at factories showed little change from March to April, and output of mines, which ordinarily decreases at this season, also remained unchanged. Wholesale prices continued to decline, and money rates eased further. Production and Employment Industrial production, as measured by the Board's seasonally adjusted index which covers both manufac tures and mines, increased from 88 per cent of the 1923-1925 average in March, to 89 in April, compared with 82, the low point reached last December. Steel mill activity declined by considerably more than the usual seasonal amount, while in the automobile industry there was a larger than seasonal increase in output, accord ing to preliminary reports. Consumption of cotton by domestic mills continued to increase, contrary to the usual seasonal movement, while there was a decrease in unfilled orders for cotton cloth, which was only partly seasonal in nature; consumption of wool, which ordi narily declines in April, increased considerably; at silk mills activity declined. There were large increases in the output of petroleum and anthracite coal, while pro duction of bituminous coal declined by about the usual seasonal amount. The number employed in factories at the middle of April was about the same as a month earlier. In carbuilding shops and in establishments producing ma chinery, employment decreased considerably, while in the automobile and cement industries there were sea sonal increases, and in the fertilizer industry a larger than seasonal increase. Employment at textile mills declined by less than the seasonal amount, reflecting chiefly a slight increase in employment at cotton mills, and a small decrease in the clothing industry; at mills producing woolen and silk goods declines in employ ment were larger than usual. Factory payrolls de clined somewhat in April. Value of building contracts awarded, which fluctu ates widely from month to month, declined consider ably in April, according to the F. W. Dodge Corpora tion, and decreases were reported in all the leading classes of construction. In the first four months of the year total awards decreased 26 per cent from the corresponding period of 1930, reflecting declines of 10 per cent for residential building, 17 per cent for public works and utilities, 25 per cent for educational building, 43 per cent for factories, and 57 per cent for commercial buildings. Distribution Freight-car loadings showed about the usual sea sonal increase in April. Department store sales in creased 9 per cent from March, and the Board’s index, which makes allowance for the usual seasonal varia tions including changes in the date of Easter, stood at 105 per cent of the 1923-1925 average, compared with 97 per cent in March. W holesale Prices The general level of wholesale prices declined 1.6 per cent further in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the first half of May, prices of many leading commodities were reduced further, and for the six-week period as a whole there were large declines in the prices of cotton, silk, and textiles; live stock and dairy products; cement, petroleum products, and nonferrous metals. Bank Credit Loans and investments of reporting member banks in leading cities declined by about $150,000,000 be tween April 1 and the middle of May, reflecting sub stantial liquidation in loans on securities and in all other loans, largely commercial. This liquidation of loans was offset in part by further larger additions to the banks’ investments, which on May 13 were over $1,000,000,000 larger than at the beginning of the year. Volume of reserve bank credit declined somewhat in the six weeks ending on May 16. Contrary to the usual seasonal tendency, there was some further in crease in currency demand for the period, reflecting chiefly banking disturbances in the Middle West. Gold imports continued in considerable volume and supplied the member banks with sufficient funds to meet the additional demand for currency, and also to reduce somewhat the amount of reserve bank credit outstand ing. Money rates declined to new low levels during May. Rates on bankers’ acceptances, which had declined from iy 2 per cent in the middle of April to per cent by the end of the month, were reduced to % per cent by the 19th of May. Rates on commercial paper declined from a range of 2%-2j4 to a range of 2-2% per cent. At the reserve banks buying rates on bankers’ ac ceptances were reduced in April and the first half of May, and in May discount rates were also reduced, the rate at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York being lowered to 1J4 per cent.