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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON,

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

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

FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF RICHMOND

MAY 31, 1932

some seasonal increase in painting,
USINESS in nearly all l i n e s
FIFTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT gardening, etc. Coal production in
marked time during April and
April was materially below produc­
early May in the Fifth Federal re­
tion in April 1931. Consumption of
serve district. There was some sea­
cotton in the Fifth district mills last
sonal increase in trade in certain lines,
month was less than consumption in
but on the whole the rise was less
April 1931, and consumption in the
than usually occurs in the spring.
country as a whole declined even
Trade in every line is on a noticeably
more, but exports of cotton increased
lower level than it was a year ago.
over April 1931 exports, Cotton
At the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
prices declined between the middle of
mond, rediscounts for member banks
April and the middle of May to the
declined between April IS and May
lowest level since last October, and
IS, at a season when they are ex­
closely approached the all-time low.
pected to increase. The circulation of
Tobacco manufacturers reported a
Federal reserve notes declined last
lower output in April in comparison
month, but not more than seasonally,
and therefore the decrease did not
with the output in April last year.
indicate any material reduction in hoarded funds. In Retail sales last month in department stores in the
cooperation with a System policy, the Richmond re­ Fifth district averaged about 21 per cent less than
serve bank materially increased its holdings of Gov­ sales in April last year, and sales in the first four
ernment securities between the middle of April and months of 1932 were nearly 18 per cent less than
the middle of May. Reporting member banks in lead­ sales in the corresponding four months of 1931.
ing cities of the Fifth reserve district reduced their Wholesale sales in five leading lines were materially
loans and discounts last month, contrary to seasonal below sales in April 1931, and in all lines except hard­
trend when agricultural loans for crop planting might ware were also less than sales in March of this year.
be expected to increase the demand for credit. De­ The volume of construction work provided for by
mand deposits in the reporting banks declined also, permits issued last month in Fifth district cities
but by less than the decrease in loans, while time was very small, and does not offer hope of addi­
deposits increased moderately. The banks reduced tional employment for building tradesmen in the
their rediscounts at the reserve bank during the month. near future. The outlook for agriculture this year
Debits to individual accounts in clearing house banks is problematical. The weather was unusually cold
in the leading cities of the Fifth district declined last in March and April, which held back premature
month approximately 2 per cent under the debits of development of fruit buds and other crops, but
the preceding month, but this decrease was seasonal some sections of the district have had insufficient
and was probably a smaller reduction than occurs in rain to furnish moisture for seed germination. The
most years. However, debits for the four weeks ended really unfavorable element in the agricultural
May 11, 1932, were 21.7 per cent less than debits for situation, however, is the low price outlook for
the four weeks ended May 13, 1931. Commercial leading money crops.
failures in the Fifth district in April were less numer­ Reserve Bank Statement
ous than failures in either March this year or April
Total earning assets held by the Federal Reserve
last year, but liabilities involved in April bankruptcies Bank of Richmond changed little during the month
were, with two exceptions, the highest figures ever between April 15 and May 15, 1932. There was a
reported for any month. No material improvement decline of $5,360,000 in rediscounts for member
occurred in employment in April, although there was banks, chiefly in city banks, and holdings of open




MONTHLY REVIEW

2

ITEMS
Rediscounts held ......................
Open market paper....................
Government securities .............
Total earning assets...............
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes..
Members’ reserve deposits
Cash reserves ...........................
Reserve ratio ...........................

000 omitted
May 15 April 15 May 15
1932
1932
1931
$23,793
2,054
27,975
53,822
92,579
48,434
98,534
67.15

$29,153
2,455
22,831
54,439
96,076
47,588
98,776
65.60

$13,576
100
29,983
43,659
76,028’
60,438
103,293
73.79

market paper also declined by $401,(X ), but the
X
Bank increased its holdings of Government securi­
ties by $5,144,000 during the month. There was
a seasonal decrease in the actual circulation of
Federal reserve notes during the period under re­
view, amounting to $3,497,000. Member banks in­
creased their reserve deposits between the middle
of April and the middle of May by $846,000. The
several changes enumerated, with others of lesser
importance, slightly lowered the cash reserves of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, but the
ratio of cash reserves to note and deposit liabilities
combined rose 1.55 points during the past month.
In comparison with condition figures on May 15,
1931, the figures for May 15, 1932, show marked
changes in most items, indicating a greater use of
reserve bank credit this year. Rediscounts for
member banks rose by $10,217,000 during the year,
and holdings of open m arket paper increased $1,954,000. On the other hand, the Bank decreased its
holdings of Government securities by $2,008,000
between May 15 last year and May 15 this year.
These changes resulted in a net increase of $10,163.000 in total earning assets during the year.
The circulation of Federal reserve notes was
$16,551,000 higher at the middle of May this year
than a year ago, showing that hoarding of cur­
rency which began in the second half of 1931 con­
tinues. There has been a steady decline in note
circulation since the first of this year, but the rate
of decrease has not been greater than seasonal
average, indicating that there has probably been
little reduction in hoarded funds. Member bank
reserve deposits at the reserve bank declined $12,004.000 between May 15, 1931, and May 15, 1932,
due to material reductions in demand and time de­
posits on which reserves are calculated. The cash
reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
dropped by $4,759,000 during the year under dis­
cussion, and the ratio of cash reserves to note and
deposit liabilities combined declined 6.64 points.

Member Bank Statement
The accompany table shows the principal items
of condition reported by all member banks in
twelve leading cities of the Fifth reserve district
as of three dates, May 11 and April 13, 1932, and
May 13, 1931, thus affording opportunity for com­
parison of the latest available figures with those of
the preceding month this year and the correspond-




ITEMS

000 omitted
May 11 April 13 May 13
1932
1931
1932

Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) _____ $132,686 $147,518 $160,163
212,659 214,968 262,630
All other loans_____________
345,345 362,486 422,793
Total loans and discounts
Investments in stocks and bonds 239,117 232,861 214,373
40,892
Reserve balance with F. R. Bk.
33,433
34,248
Cash in vaults...........................
15,238
12,625
12,781
Demand deposits ...................... 280,931 285,175 337,031
Time deposits ........................... 225,999 222,297 262,025
2,193
Borrowed from F. R. Bank
5,164
10,207

ing month last year. Forty-nine banks are included
in the tabulation.
There was a reduction in loans amounting to
$17,141,000 in the forty-nine reporting banks be­
tween April 13 and May 11, both this year, of
which amount $14,832,000 was in loans on stocks
and bonds and $2,309,000 was in ordinary commer­
cial, agricultural and industrial loans. Investments
in stocks and bonds rose by $6,256,000 last month.
Reserve balances of the reporting banks at the
reserve bank declined $815,000 between April 13
and May 11, and there was also a decrease in cash
in vaults totaling $156,000. Deposits in the aggre­
gate changed very little last month, a decrease in
demand deposits amounting to $4,244,000 being al­
most offset by an increase of $3,702,000 in time
deposits. The Reduction in outstanding loans
without a corresponding decrease in deposits en­
abled the reporting banks to reduce their borrow­
ing at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond by
$5,043,000, approximately, 50 per cent of the amount
they were borrowing at the middle of April.
Comparison of the May 11, 1932, figures with
those reported for May 13, 1931, shows a reduction
of $77,448,000 in total loans and discounts during
the year, of which $27,477,000 was in loans on
stocks and bonds and $49,971,000 was in all other
loans. Investments in stocks and bonds rose by
$24,744,000 during the year. Aggregate deposits
declined by $92,126,000 between May 13 last year
and May 11 this year, and reserve balances of the
reporting banks at the reserve bank declined by
$7,459,0(X). Cash in vaults also decreased this year,
by $2,613,000. On May 11 the forty-nine reporting
banks were borrowing $2,971,000 more from the
Federal reserve bank than they were borrowing a
year earlier.

Debits to Individual Accounts
Aggregate payments by checks drawn on clear­
ing house banks in twenty-four cities of the Fifth
Federal reserve district are shown in the accom­
panying table for three equal periods of four
weeks, thus affording opportunity for comparison
of the latest figures, for the four weeks ended
May 11, 1932, with those for the preceding like
period this year and the corresponding period a year
ago.

MONTHLY REVIEW
CITIES

Asheville, N. C____
Baltimore, Md............
Charleston, S. C____
Charleston, W. Va.....
Charlotte, N. C.____
Columbia, S. C._____
Cumberland, Md.........
Danville, Va..............
Durham, N. C_____
Greensboro, N. C.___
Greenville, S. C.-----Hagerstown, Md........
Huntington, W. Va.....
Lynchburg, Va...........
Newport News, Va.....
Norfolk, Va...............
Portsmouth, Va.........
Raleigh, N. C.-------Richmond, Va............
Roanoke, Va............ .
Spartanburg, S. C.—
Washington, D. C---Wilmington, N. C.—
Winston-Salem, N. C.
Fifth District Totals

ooo omitted
Total debits, four weeks ended
April 13,
May 11,
May 13,
1932
1932
1931
$ 7,977
265,949
10,568
26,413
32,212
13,833
5,233
4,305
13,482
9,303
9,111
5,713
10,936
12,036
6.781
3<579
3,345
12,849
97,586
18,910
5,862
197,300
7,511
20,003

$ 8,399
266,639

29,725

$ 10,737
352,321
15,695
38,036
41,177
18,158
7,216
5,394
19,868
17,314
15,243
8,289
15,679
15,310
10,350
46,008
4,151
15,947
111,377
24,476
9,000
221,076
11,558
27,678

$831,797

$847,554

$1,062,058

11,202

28.357
34,145
14,675
5,525
4,207
13,216
9,441
9,634
5,757
10,370
12,367
6,689
31,104
3,243
14,414
98,519
18.357
6,295
197,252

8,022

Total debits in the reporting cities during the
four weeks ended May 11 this year totaled $15,757,000, or 1.9 per cent, less than debits during the
immediately preceding four weeks, ended April
13, 1932, but the decline was seasonal and was due
to the inclusion in the earlier period of quarterly
payments around April 1 and income tax pay­
ments in March. Eight of the twenty-four report­
ing cities showed higher figures for the more re­
cent period. Among the larger centers, Hunting­
ton, Norfolk and Washington reported higher
figures for the current four weeks, but Baltimore,
Charleston, W. Va., Charlotte, Richmond and
Winston-Salem reported lower figures.
In comparison with debits reported for the four
weeks ended May 13, 1931, those for the cor­
responding four weeks this year, ended May 11,
1932, show a total decline of $230,261,000, or 21.7
per cent, at least a considerable part of which was
doubtless due to lower price levels this year.
Everyone of the reporting cities showed lower
figures for the 1932 priod.

Time and Savings Deposits
Time deposits in forty-nine regularly reporting
member banks and aggregate deposits in twelve
mutual savings banks in Baltimore totaled $439,768,151 at the end of April 1932, an increase over
time and savings deposits totaling $434,960,562 at
the end of March this year, but materially less than
$469,135,308 in deposits at the end of April last
year.

Commercial Failures
Commercial failures in the Fifth Federal reserve




3

district in April 1932 numbered 143, compared with
184 in March this year and 156 in April last year.
Last month’s insolvencies, in spite of being fewer
in number than those in the preceding month this year
and in the corresponding month a year ago, were
relatively high in number, having been exceeded
in April only three times in the past fourteen
years. The liabilities involved in the April 1932
failures totaled $8,036,214, compared with liabili­
ties of $6,792,000 in March 1932 and only $3,873,402
in April 1931. Last month’s liabilities not only
showed the highest total for any April on record,
but in addition reached a higher figure than in any
other month in the past fourteen years except De­
cember 1922 and March 1924. In the beginning of
the present depression, small and weak firms
naturally fell by the wayside first, but in recent
months trouble has spread and larger firms have
found their resources insufficient to meet their
obligations. There has therefore been an increase
in the average amount of liabilities involved per
failure.

Employment

In the spring there is nearly always a seasonal
increase in employment on outside work, and there
has recently been some rise in the number of peo­
ple able to obtain work, but the spring increase is
less marked this year than in most seasons because
of the small amount of new construction under­
taken. Most of the recent demand for additional
workers has been for painters, repair men, and odd
job workers for cleaning up, gardening, etc. Build­
ing permits issued and contracts actually awarded
show a very small volume of new work either con­
templated or under way. The demand for extra
workers on farms is also smaller than in most
years, farmers being unable to hire much help, and
prices for agricultural products discouraging all
expenditures in crop planting except those which
are absolutely necessary. Normal employment in
textile and tobacco factories held up longer than in
most other industries in the Fifth district, but in
the past two or three months these industries re­
ported reduced production. On the whole, there
are no signs at present which appear to indicate
any early change of a material nature in employ­
ment conditions.

Coal Production
Production of bituminous coal in the United
States during the month of April 1932 amounted to
only 20,300,000 net tons, compared with 32,250,000
net tons mined in March 1932 and 28,478,000 tons
in April 1931. P art of the decline in April this
year in comparison with both March 1932 and April
1931 was due to suspension of operations since
April 1 in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. Total pro­
duction of soft coal during the present calendar
year to May 7 (approximately 109 working days)
amounts to 112, 826,000 net tons, a materially
smaller amount than in any other recent year.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

The April 23 report of the Bureau of Mines, De­
partment of Commerce, showed production figures
by states for March. W est Virginia with an out­
put of 7,799,000 net tons was in first place, Penn­
sylvania with 7,081,000 tons ranking second and
Illinois ranking third with 6,175,000 tons. The
three coal producing states of the Fifth district,
W est Virginia, Virginia and Maryland, dug 27.1
per cent of all soft coal mined in the United States
in March, compared with 27.4 per cent reported by
the district in March a year ago. The smaller
percentage this year was due to increased produc­
tion in March in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio prepara­
tory to the shut-down in those states which began
on April 1. Shipments of coal through Hampton
Roads in March totaled approximately 1,496,000
tons, and total shipments from January 1 through
March 31 totaled 4,672,000 tons.
Retail coal prices have been reduced to summer
levels throughout the Fifth district and in most
places are about 50c to $1.00 per ton lower than
the prices quoted in the summer of 1931. Freight
and handling costs account for most of the retail
price of coal, and retail dealers are showing a dis­
position this year to shave their handling charges
more than in most seasons.

Textiles
The textile industry operated at a lower rate in
April than in other recent months, but Fifth dis­
trict mills compared favorably with mills in other
sections. According to a report by the Bureau of
the Census issued on May 20, average hours of
operation per spindle in place in April was 163
for the United States as a whole, 215 for mills in
cotton growing states, and 215 for mills in the
Fifth district. South Carolina mills averaged 245
hours of operation per spindle in place, Virginia
averaged 208 hours, and North Carolina averaged
188 hours. South Carolina tied for second place
with Alabama, only 1 hour behind Tennessee’s aver­
age of 246 for the month. Fifth district mills con­
sumed 178,266 bales of cotton in April this year, of
which North Carolina mills used 89,547 bales, South
Carolina mills 78,125 bales, and Virginia mills 10,594
bales. In March 1932, Fifth district mills con­
sumed 233,171 bales and in April 1931 used 220,895
bales. Consumption of cotton in the Fifth district
was 48.54 per cent of National consumption in
April 1932, a higher figure than either 47.70 per
cent in March this year or 43.42 per cent in both
April 1931 and April 1930.

Cotton Statistics
Spot cotton prices on ten leading Southern markets
averaged 5.34 cents per pound on May 13, the
latest date for which figures are available. W ith
the exception of two weeks last October, this was
the lowest price since before the World War. On
May 15 last year the average price was 8.80 cents
per pound, a difference of approximately $17 per
bale.




Consumption of cotton in the United States in April
1932 totaled 367,280 bales, compared with 488,655
bales used in March this year and 508,744 bales in
April 1931. Total consumption for the nine months
of the present cotton season—August 1 to April
30—amounted to 3,937,225 bales, compared with
3,892,826 bales consumed in the corresponding
period of the 1930-1931 season. Manufacturing
establishments held 1,532,967 bales on April 30,
compared with 1,566,205 bales held on March 31
and 1,370,680 bales on April 30, 1931. Public ware­
houses and compresses held 8,163,937 bales in stor­
age at the end of April this year, compared with
8,766,979 bales so held a month earlier and 6,033,032
bales on April 30 last year. April exports totaled
544,563 bales, compared with 391,871 bales sent
abroad in April 1931. Exports during the nine
months of this cotton year totaled 7,396,996 bales,
compared with 5,909,669 bales shipped over seas
during the corresponding nine months ended April
30, 1931. Spindles active at some time during April
numbered 23,409,246, compared with 24,818,008 in
March this year and 26,668,536 in April 1931.
Cotton consumption in cotton growing states
totaled 311,773 bales in April, compared with 398,021 bales used in March and 390,062 bales in April
1931. Last month’s consumption of cotton in the
cotton growing states amounted to 84.89 per cent
of National consumption, a higher percentage than
either 81.45 per cent in March this year or 76.68
per cent in April 1931. Of the 311,773 bales of cot­
ton consumed in the cotton growing states in April,
the Fifth district mills used 178,266 bales, or 57.18
per cent, compared with 56.63 per cent of South­
ern consumption attained in the district in April
last year.
Cotton production figures on the 1931 crop, as in­
dicated by the final ginning figures for the year,
were released by the Bureau of the Census on
May 17, 1932. The three cotton growing states in
the Fifth Federal reserve district grew a total of
1,803,447 equivalent 500-pound bales in 1931, com­
pared with 1,817,578 bales in 1930 and 1,624,790
bales in 1929. South Carolina picked 1,004,730
bales last year, compared with 1,000,892 bales in
1930; North Carolina picked 756,294 bales com­
pared with 774,734 bales in 1930; and Virginia
picked 42,423 bales compared with 41,952 bales in
the earlier year. The United States ginned 17,095,594 equivalent 500-pound bales from the 1931 crop,
compared with only 13,931,597 bales in 1930 and
14,824,861 bales in 1929.
Government crop reports issued in the spring
do not give data on cotton, but unofficial reports
indicate that planting is fairly well advanced with
the crop up to moderately good stands in Texas
and the Gulf states. In sections of the cotton belt
an absence of sufficient rain has held back germina­
tion of cotton seed and growth of plants, South
Carolina in the Fifth district having experienced
very dry weather during recent weeks. Fertilizer
sales through April ran about 40 per cent behind

MONTHLY REVIEW
sales in the first four months of 1931, a condition
which may influence the yield of the cotton crop
quite materially this year. On the whole, the
past winter was mild and there is danger of an
extra heavy and early infestation of weevils.

Tobacco Marketing
Virginia auction warehouses closed in March or
early April, and the Commissioner of Agriculture
has issued a final report on this season's sales.
Total producers' sales of tobacco for the 1931-1932
season amounted to 107,467,105 pounds valued at
$7,123,168, an average price of $6.63 per hundred
pounds, compared with 131,966,925 pounds valued
at $11,359,000, or an average of $8.61 per hundred,
sold during the 1930-1931 season. Sales were the
smallest since 1921, when approximately 96,500,000
pounds were sold. The average price was the
lowest for any year during the period for which
prices have been compiled, 1920 to the present time.
Flue-cured sales amounted to 69,652,779 pounds, at
an average price of $7.03 per hundred, compared
with 96,315,754 pounds sold the previous season at
an average of $7.94. Approximately 18,000,000
pounds of North Carolina tobacco were sold in
Virginia in excess of Virginia tobacco sold in that
State. Therefore, the Virginia flue-cured crop
amounted to nearly 62,000,000 pounds, which is
the smallest production of this type since 1921.
Danville led all markets in sales with 35,025,424
pounds, South Boston ranking second with 14,326,170 pounds. Total producers' sales of firecured tobacco amounted to 26,900,611 pounds, at an
average price of $4.94 per hundred, which com­
pares with the previous season's sales of 23,324,643
pounds, at an average price of $8.26 per hundred.
The fire-cured sales during the past season were
the largest since the season of 1926-1927, when
43,761,225 pounds were sold. Lynchburg with sales
of 8,110,840 pounds led all fire-cured markets and
Farmville wsas second with 7,263,250 pounds.
Burley sales for the season amounted to 7,952,657
pounds, at an average price of $9.11 per hundred.
During the previous season 8,949,672 pounds were
sold, at an average price of $17.05. Practically all
of the burley tobacco was sold at Abingdon. Sales
of sun-cured tobacco at Richmond amounted to
2,961,058 pounds, at an average price of $5.76 per
hundred. The previous season's sales were 3,376,856 pounds at an average of $7.73. Sun-cured
sales during the past season were the smallest on
record. The quality of the 1931 crop was much
poorer than usual, as a result of damage from
heavy rains in August and from insects. Consider­
able quantities of low grade tobacco, variously
estimated at from 5 to 10 per cent of the total
production, were not brought to m arket because
of the low prices offered for such grades. W are­
housemen estimated that the season's sales graded
14 per cent good, 34 per cent medium, and 52 per
cent common.




5

Tobacco Manufacturing
On May 18, the Commissioner of Internal Reve­
nue issued a report on taxes collected in April
and the ten monthse ended April 30 on manu­
factured tobacco products. April production of
cigarettes in the United States numbered 7,562,290,327* compared with 9,470,621,253 cigarettes
manufactured in April 1931. Smoking and chewing
tobacco declined from 27,381,757 pounds in April
last year to 24,813,725 pounds in April this year.
Cigars manufactured dropped from 459,981,900 in
April 1931 to 349,953,161 in April 1932. Snuff pro­
duction fell from 3,399,241 pounds to 2,947,831
pounds. During the ten months ended April 30,
1932, taxes on cigarettes totaled $259,821,914, com­
pared with $293,084,252 collected in the correspond­
ing period of the preceding year. Taxes on smok­
ing and chewing tobacco increased during the same
period from $48,451,601 to $48,558,268, although
production of smoking and chewing tobacco has
recently fallen below production in the earlier
period. Cigarette manufacture has dropped re­
cently approximately 20 per cent below the pro­
duction a year ago, and other manufactured to ­
bacco, exclusive of cigars, is off between 9 and 10
per cent. Cigar production is now at a rate ap­
proximately 24 per cent below the production at
this time last year.

Agricultural Notes
It is too early in the season to gather data on
agricultural prospects for 1932, but present indica­
tions point to about average yields for most crops.
The weather was unseasonally cold in March and
April, and South Carolina has had insufficient rain
to meet the needs of seed germination and plant
growth. On the other hand, the cold checked pre­
mature development of fruit and some insect dam­
age to grain. Except in South Carolina there ap­
pears to be plenty of moisture in the ground, and
farm work is well advanced for the season. Con­
siderably less commercial fertilizer is being used
this year than in either of the two preceding year,
and therefore crops will be more than usually de­
pendent upon favorable w eather during the grow­
ing season.

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. Permits for all types of construction num­
bered 2,766, compared with 4,660 permits issued in
April last year. Estimated valuation figures for
permits issued last month totaled $3,512,200, com­
pared with $9,803,685 in April 1931, a decline of
64.2 per cent in the 1932 month. However, the
average decrease in valuation was not as great as
the total figures indicate, since the 1931 figure in­
cluded a large amount of work in Baltimore for
which permits were secured to escape the restric-

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

Building Permits Issued in April 1932 and 1931
CITIES

Permits Issued
1931
1932

Total Valuation
1932
1931

Baltimore, Md........... 1,223
Cumberland, Md........
12
Frederick, Md............
10
Hagerstown, Md. —
21
Salisbury, Md............
27
Danville, Va..............
13
Lynchburg, Va...........
43
Norfolk, Va.............. 116
Petersburg, Va...........
5
Portsmouth, Va.......
30
Richmond, Va............
95
Roanoke, Va..............
40
Bluefield, W. Va
9
Charleston, W. Va
121
Clarksburg, W. Va__
20
Huntington, W. Va.....
33
Asheville, N. C.____
33
Charlotte, N. C.
43
Durham, N. C.____
14
Greensboro, N. C,
31
High Point, N. C.
7
Raleigh, N. C_____
16
Rocky Mount, N. C...
5
Salisbury, N. C-----7
Wilmington, N. C.....
21
Winston-Salem, N. C.
59
Charleston, S. C___
49
Columbia, S. C____
43
Greenville, S. C____
31
11
Rock Hill, S. C.........
29
Spartanburg, S. *C
---Washington, D. C---- 549

2,900
16
11
20
28
13
40
135
10
49
132
43
17
35
25
15
35
62
16
56
23
14
4
0
14
155
38
43
29
29
34
619

$1,484,280 $5,869,440
8,580
7,605
807
9,485
16,620
10,785
19,075
24,875
8,005
8,430
56,278
37,160
118,850
139,905
4,725
4,825
33,465
15,597
307,882
110,190
276,474
48,223
17,075
9,645
174,375
186,572
13,365
6,968
17,200
23,950
30,586
10,680
177,721
27,317
37,490
31,350
55,535
11,237
47,225
13,050
25,475
21,999
6,850
9,600
0
5,430
15,400
9,450
72,452
39,125
32,582
17,840
54,090
55,815
42,410
12,600
11,915
49,530
22,185
6,410
1,085,145 2,206,680

Totals --------------- 2,766

4,660

$3,512,200 $9,803,685

tions of a zoning ordinance which went into effect
in that city on May 1, 1931. Ten of the thirty-two
cities actually reported higher figures for April 1932
than for April 1931. Norfolk, Huntington and Char­
leston, W. Va., were the larger cities which showed
higher figures last month, and Huntington's increase
was due to low figures in 1931.
Contracts awarded for construction work in the
Fifth reserve district in April this year totaled $12,896,967, including both urban and rural construction,
compared with $21,936,600 in contracts awarded in
April 1931 and $40,971,884 in April 1930, according
to figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation.
Of the April 1932 contracts, $3,861,782 was for resi­
dential structures, compared with $7,434,610 for resi­
dential work in April last year.

Retail Trade, 33 Department Stores
Retail trade in the Fifth reserve district in April,
as reflected in department store sales, averaged 20.9
per cent less than sales in April 1931, part of the de­
crease probably being due to the earlier date of Easter
this year. Total sales in the first four months of
1932 lacked 17.6 per cent of equaling sales in the cor­
responding months last year.
Stocks of merchandise changed very little in the
reporting stores during April, but at the end of the
month averaged 13.1 per cent less in selling value
than stocks in the same stores on April 30, 1931.
The stores turned their stocks .296 times in April,




Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cities District

April 1932 sales, compared with sales in April 1931:
—23.8
—21.3
—16.8
—32.2
—20.9
Total sales since Jan. 1, 1932, comp, with sales in Jan.-Ap. 1931:
—17.9
—19.0
—14.3
—24.6
—17.6
April 30, 1932 stocks, compared with stocks on April 30, 1931:
—142
—15.1
— 9.5
—16.7
—13.1
April 30, 1932 stocks, compared with stocks on March 31, 1932:
+ 3.6
— .5
— 2.0
+ 32
— 2
Number of times stock was turned in April 1932:
.283
.308
.311
217
296
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1932:
1.151
1.157
1.185
.816
1.127
Percentage of April 1, 1932, receivables collected in April:
30.2
240_______305_______ 26J0_______27.1

and between January 1 and April 30, this year, stocks
were turned an average of 1.127 times, a lower fig­
ure than 1.207 times stocks were turned in the first
four months of 1931.
Collections were slower in April 1932 than in April
1931, the reporting stores collecting 27.1 per cent of
outstanding receivables last month in comparison with
28.8 per cent collected in April last year. All of the
cities for which individual figures are available showed
lower percentages for the current month.

W holesale Trade, 62 Firms
21

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

14

Hardware

12

Drugs

April 1932 sales, compared with sales in April 1931:
—15.1
—30.8
—ro.7
—17.4
—12.6
April 1932 sales, compared with sales in March 1932:
— 3.3
— 6.6
—19.3
+ 5.9
— 8.0
Jan.-April 1932 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-April 1931:
—14.7
—25.3
—>10.3
—16.6
—16.1
April 30, 1932 stocks, compared with April 30, 1931 stocks:
—11.5(7*) —12.5(4*) —14.4(5*) —10.7(7*)
April 30, 1932 stocks, compared with March 31, 1932 stocks:
+ .5(7*) - .7(4*) -4 .3 (5 * ) + .6(7*)
Percentage of April 1, 1932 receivables collected in April:
57.8(12*) 37.6(6*)
35.0(6*)
29.1(11*) 50.6(8*)
* Number of reporting firms.

The accompanying table shows in percentage form
how sales in five wholesale lines in April 1932 and
in the first four months of this year compared with
sales in April 1931 and in the first four months of
last year. It also shows changes in stocks on hand,
and finally gives the percentages of collections during
April to total accounts receivable as of April 1, 1932.

(Compiled May 21, 1932)

MONTHLY REVIEW

7

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

Industrial activity and factory employment declined
substantially from March to April, although usually
little change occurs tet this season. Purchases of
Government securities by the Federal reserve banks
have continued during April and the first three weeks
of May and there has been a considerable growth in
the reserves of member banks.

Production and Employment
Volume of industrial production, as measured by
the Board’s seasonally adjusted index, decreased from
67 per cent of the 1923-1925 average in March to
64 per cent in April. Reductions in activity were
reported for many leading industries, with sharp de­
clines at cotton and woolen mills and at bituminous
coal mines; in the automobile industry output in­
creased from the low level of March by more than
the usual seasonal percentage, and in the steel indus­
try, where activity had declined from early February
to the middle of April, production increased some­
what between the middle of April and the third week
of May.
The number of wage earners employed at manu­
facturing establishments declined further between the
middle of March and the middle of April and there
was a substantial reduction in factory payrolls. larg e
decreases in employment were reported for the iron
and steel, machinery, and textile industries, while the
volume of employment in the food and leather indus­
tries showed the usual seasonal changes.
Daily average value of building contracts awarded
during April and the first half of May, as reported by
the F. W. Dodge Corporation, showed a seasonal in­
crease over the first quarter. A substantial increase
was reported for public works and public utilities,
while residential building continued at the low level
of the first quarter, showing none of the usual seasonal
expansion.

Distribution

Freight-car loadings of merchandise showed little
change in volume from March to April, continuing at
the level prevailing since January, although increases
are usual during this period. Sales by department
stores increased considerably in April.




W holesale Prices
Wholesale prices of commodities declined from 66
per cent of the 1926 average in March to 65.5 per cent
in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
and in the first three weeks of May further decreases
in the prices of many leading commodities were re­
ported. Downward movements in textiles, nonferrous
metals, and imported raw materials, as well as in most
domestic agricultural products except wheat, were off­
set in part by increases in the prices of coffee, petrol­
eum, and petroleum products.

Bank Credit
Further purchases of U. S. Government securities
by the Federal reserve banks were made during April
and the first three weeks in May, and on May 18 total
holdings were $1,466,000,000. The funds placed in
the market through these purchases between April 6
and May 18 were used to the extent of $170,000,000
in a further reduction of member bank indebtedness
to the reserve banks; and to the extent of $122,000,000
in meeting a demand for gold from abroad; at the
same time member banks accumulated reserve balances
considerably in excess of legal requirements. During
May the demand for currency, which had declined in
April, increased somewhat, contrary to usual seasonal
movement.
Loans and investments of reporting member banks
in leading cities, which had declined continuously until
the middle of April, showed little net change between
April 13 and May 18. The banks’ investments in­
creased by nearly $300,000,000, chiefly in New York
City; while loans declined by about an equal amount.
There was also a growth in net demand deposits, which
reflected in part an increase in bankers’ balances de­
posited in New York City banks.
Money rates in the open market continued easy.
Rates on commercial paper were reduced about onehalf per cent to a range of 2 ^ -3 per cent for prime
names, and the offering rate on 90-day bankers’ ac­
ceptances, which had advanced to 1% per cent in the
first week of May, declined on May 11 to the pre­
viously prevailing rate of % of one per cent.

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