View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

MONTHLY

REVIEW

o f Financial and Business Conditions

F if t h
F e d e ra l

Z ^ ""

nc

R e s e rv e
D istrict

..... *4

Federal Reserve Bank, Richmond, Va.

May 31, 1940

Summary of April Business Conditions
B U S IN E S S in April in the Fifth Federal Reserve Dis­

mills produced about 20 per cent more yarn than in the
1939 month, and tobacco manufacturers turned out more
o f all products in A pril than in either the preceding month
this year or the corresponding month last year.
Construction work provided for in April permits issued
and contracts awarded was about the same as in March,
but comparison with April 1939 is difficult to make. Per­
mits issued last month exceeded April 1939 permits by
28 per cent, but on the other hand contracts awarded de­
clined 25 per cent. However, in April 1939 about half
a dozen very large Government contracts were awarded
in the Fifth district, and work on several of these is still
going on. Labor was employed in larger numbers in
April than was the case a year ago in practically all lines
o f industry, especially in view o f the fact that the dispute
in coal fields last year threw more than 100,000 miners
and railroad employees out o f work from a month to
six weeks, and a strike against one o f the leading cigarette
manufacturers involved 2,000 workers for a week.
In agriculture, the crop year is getting off to a very
late start, frequent rains and unusually cold weather
having delayed plowing and planting, germination o f seed,
and development o f growing crops. However, the soil is
in excellent condition for rapid growth o f crops when
warm weather comes, and no serious damage appears to
have been done by late frosts and freezes except to
peaches and early truck. It is o f course too early to
attempt to draw conclusions on probable yields this year.

trict continued on a level o f activity substantially
above the level a year ago, but no striking changes oc­
curred in comparison with March. Most developments
during the past month were seasonal in character, and of
about normal proportions.
A relatively high consumer purchasing power continued
to show itself in larger expenditures than a year ago.
Department store sales in April were 3 per cent larger
than sales in April 1939, even though the occurrence o f
Easter in April last year swelled sales o f wearing apparel.
Retail furniture sales last month were 28 per cent above
April 1939 sales, and wholesale sales by 205 representative
firms in many lines averaged 14 per cent more than sales
a year ago. Registrations o f new passenger automobiles
in the district in April exceeded April 1939 registrations
by 32 per cent and were the highest for any month in
exactly three years. Debits to individual accounts, rep­
resenting checks drawn on individual, firm and corpora­
tion accounts in the banks of 25 leading cities, rose 16
per cent in April over debits in the corresponding month
last year.
In industry, coal mining was at seasonal level last
month, in contrast with the almost complete shut-down
in Fifth district mines at the same time last year because
o f a labor dispute. Textile mills continued operations in
April at about the same rate as in March, and approxi­
mately 19 per cent ahead o f April last year. Rayon yarn

BUSINESS STATISTICS— FIFTH FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT

April 1940
Debits to individual accounts (25 cities)...........
Sales, 30 department stores, 5th district...........
Sales, 37 furniture stores, 5th district................
Sales, 205 wholesale firms, 5th district...............
Registrations, new autos, 5th district................

$1,338,001,000
$
9,181,453
$
1,178,030
$ 11,385,000
26,726

Number of business failures, 5th district.........
Liabilities in failures, 5th district......................
Value of building permits, 30 cities..................
Value of contracts awarded, 5th district...........
Cotton Consumption, 5th district (B ales).........

$
$
$

Cotton prices, cents per pound, end of month..
Print cloths, 39 in., 80x80s, end of month.........
Rayon shipments, U. S. (P ounds)......................
Rayon yarn stocks, U. S. (P ou nds).....................
Bituminous cool mined, U. S. (T on s).... ............




48
348,000
10,457,577
31,625,000
309,622
10.60
6.88
30,700,000
11,600,000
32,962,000

April 1939

March 1940
$1,342,709,000
9,918,797
$
1,054,686
$
$ 11,535,000
21,989
$
$
$

44
500,000
11,571,518
31,542,000
305,494
10.50
6.50
29,400,000
10,400,000
35,210,000

Change
Month
Year

$1,155,822,000
8,902,566
$
919,659
$
9,967,000
$
20,188

0
— 7
+ 12
—
1
+ 22

+
+
+
+
+-

16
3
28
14
32

55
525,000
8,175,932
42,008,000
259,795

+ 9
— 30
— 10
4- 0
+
1

—
—
+
—
+

13
34
28
25
19

+
1
+ 6
+ 4
+ 12
— 6

+ 20

$
$
$

8.81
24,000,000
43,400,000
9,627,000

+ 28
— 73
+242

MONTHLY REVIEW

2
BANK ING STATISTICS

LIAB ILITIES IN BANKRUPTCIES D ECLIN E

RESERVE BANK STATEMENT ITEMS
Fifth District
000 omitted
May 15
1940

ITEMS
$

190
43
0
907
126,155
127,295
217,259
302,841
440,400
77.98

Open market paper ................................
Industrial advances ............................
Government securities .........................
Total earning assets .........................
Circulation of Fed. Res- notes
Members’ reserve deposits
.............
......................................
Cash reserves
Reserve ratio ............................................

April 15
1940

May 15
1939

$

175
43
0^
915
125,871
127,004
218,615
286,730
439,752
78.16

$

277
0
24
1,172
134,227
135,700
194,239
246,064
374,682
74.27

SELECTED ITEMS— 41 REPORTING MEMBER BANKS
Fifth District
000
ITEMS

May 15
1940

Loans and discounts ..............................
Investments in securities ...................
Reserve bal. with F. R. bank . ______
Cash in vaults ........................................
Demand deposits
........ 556,380
Time deposits ................... ..
.......
Money borrowed ..................... .............

$269,348
422,485
198,225
20,502
202,146
0

April 17
1940

May 17
1939

$270,688
412,127
184,787
20,754
542,081
201,390
0

$242,518
435,219
161,109
18,610
480,009
202,494
0

Total deposits

CITIES

DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNTS
Fifth District
000 omitted
Mar.
April
April
1939
1940
1940

Dist. of Col.
Washington

$ 289,325

$ 287,345

$ 256,489

Maryland
Baltimore .........
Cumberland
Hagerstown

388,646
8,402
9,313

391,008
8,213
9,326

318,990
7,883
8,324

North Carolina
Asheville . . . . .
Charlotte
...
Durham ...........
Greensboro
Raleigh .............
Wilmington . ..
W inston-Salem

12,581
64,816
26,453
21,352
42,300
11,375
37,979

12,500
69,942
26,575
21,145
44,158
11,325
43,909

11,389
55,815
21,834
17,729
37,586
10,172
36,630

South Carolina
Charleston
Columbia .............
Greenville
....
Spartanburg

19,799
27,947
19,610
11,381

20,651
29,232
20,075
10,921

17,669
25,072
18,218
8,812

Virginia
Danville ...........
Lynchburg ___
Newport News .
Norfolk .............
Portsmouth
Richmond
...
Roanoke ...........

8,045
15,645
11,733
53,653
4,653
147,832
28,765

8,019
15,844
11,519
51,227
4,479
141,849
28,527

6,869
12,925
8,411
46,941
4,336
132,807
25,204

West Virginia
Charleston . ..
Huntington . . . .
Parkersburg

48,598
17,303
10,495

47,474
17,102
10,344

41,855
14,888
8,974

$1,338,001

$1,342,709

$1,155,822

District Totals . ..

% of Change
Year
Month

1

+ 13

- 1

+ 22
+ 7
+ 12

+

+ 2
— 0

Total Liabilities
District
U. S.

April 1940 .......................
March 1940 ...................
April 1939 .....................

48
44
55

1,291
1,197
1,331

$ 348,000
500,000
525,000

$16,247,000
11,681,000
18,579,000

4 Months, 1940 .............
4 Months, 1939 .............

196
247

4,767
5,422

2,011,000
2,172,000

56,679,000
71,953,000

Although the general trend o f employment was slightly
upward in the Fifth district in A pril and the first half
o f May, not much net change occurred. Certain workers
in the building industry such as painters experienced a
seasonal upturn in the volume o f work, but in most lines
of construction and industry the rate o f operations con­
tinued at approximately the same level as in March.
Employment this year in April and early May was sub­
stantially better than in the same period last year, the
greatest improvement being in bituminous coal fields
which were practically closed in 1939 from April 1 to
the middle o f May. The following figures, compiled for
the most part by the Bureau o f Labor Statistics, reflect
the trends o f employment and payrolls in the Fifth dis­
trict from March to A p ril:
Percentage change from
Mar. 1940 to April 1940
In amount
In number
On payroll
of payroll

STATES

+
+
—
—
—
—

Maryland ...............
Dist. of Columbia
Virginia .................
West Virginia
North Carolina . .
South Carolina . .

—
+
—
—
—
—

0.1
0.7
0.9
2.1
1.1
0.6

1.1
0.5
1.3
3.7
2.8
0.4

A U TO R E G ISTRA TIO N S C O N TIN U E LA R G E

0 indicates a change of less than ^




April 30
1939
$220,545,406

March 31
1940
$223,163,689

Number of Failures
District U . S.

PERIODS

E M P L O Y M E N T RISES SL IG H TLY
omitted

M UTUAL SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS
10 Baltimore Banks
April 30
1940
$224,288,123

Business failures in the Fifth district in April 1940
increased over the number in March, but decreased from
April 1939, while liabilities involved in April 1940 bankruptcies were lower than in either March this year or
April last year. Dun & Bradstreet insolvency figures
were as follow s:

of 1% ,

+ 1
— 7
— 0
+ 1
— 4
+ 0
— 14
- 4
- 4
— 2
+

4

+ 0
— 1

+
+
+
+
+
+
+

10
16
21
20
13
12
4

+ 12
+ 11
+ 8
+ 29
+
+
+
+

17
21
39
14

+
+
+
+

2
5
4
4

+

1

+
+
+

2
1
1

+ 16
+ 16

— 0

+ 16

+ 7
+ 11
+ 14

+ 17

Although automobile sales in the Fifth district, as re­
flected in new car registrations, were 22 per cent higher
in April than in March, the increase was not quite up to
seasonal level. However, sales in April exceeded sales
in April last year by 32 per cent, all geographical divisions
sharing in the advance except the District o f Columbia.
More new passenger cars were sold in the Fifth district
last month than in any other month since April 1937.
Cumulative registration figures from January 1 through
April this year were 27 per cent above figures for the
first 4 months o f 1939, gains ranging from 2 per cent in
the District o f Columbia to 51 per cent in W est Virginia.
The following registration figures for new passenger cars
were furnished by R. L. Polk & Co., of D etroit:
REGISTRATION OF N E W PASSENGER CARS— NUMBER
STATES
Maryland ...........
Dist. of Col. . . .
West Virginia . .
No. Carolina . . .
So. Carolina . . .
District ...........

Apr.
1940

Apr.
1939

5,112
2,692
7,264
3,335
5,667
2,656
26,726

3,735
2,807
4,633
2,074
4,669
2,270
20,188

%
Change
+
—
4+
+
+
+

35
4
57
61
21
17
32

4 Months 4 Months
1940
1939
16,781
9,126
18,102
9,664
18,022
10,261
81,956

13,164
8,988
13,278
6,411
14,526
8,287
64,654

%
Change
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

27
2
36
51
24
24
27

3

MONTHLY REVIEW
R E SID E N T IA L

C O N STR U C TIO N

INCREASES

Construction work provided for in permits issued in
April 1940 in 30 Fifth district cities totaled $10,457,577,
a decrease o f 10 per cent from $11,571,518 for permits
issued in March this year but 28 per cent above $8,175932 in A pril last year. Washington led in April with
permits totaling $3,797,840, followed by Baltimore with
$1,872,246, Richmond with $793,007, Charlotte with
$487,257, Charleston, W . Va., with $457,833, and Greens­
boro with $399,021. Washington permits do not include
any Federal Government work.
Contracts actually awarded for all types of construc­
tion in the Fifth district in April were slightly above
March contracts in total value, but were 25 per cent
below the relatively high April 1939 total. Residential
contracts form a much larger part of this year's con­
tracts, amounting to 52 per cent o f all contracts in April
1940 against only 31 per cent in April 1939. Several
Fifth district cities are undertaking housing developments
under the U. S. H. A ., and private residential work is
more active than in other recent years. F. W . Dodge
Corporation figures for contracts awarded in April 1940
and April 1939 are as follow s:
CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTS AW ARDED
STATES

April 1940

April 1939% Change

$ 7,924,000
$ 6,476,000
-f- 22
Maryland ..........................................
Dist. of Col........................................
3,744,000
9,706,000
— 61
Virginia ............................................
8,167,000
9,581,000
— 15
West Virginia ................................
2,647,000
3,360,000
— 21
North Carolina ..............................
7,350,000
7,536,000
— 2
South Carolina ........................................... 1,793,000_______5,350,000_______ — 66
Fifth District ......................... . .
$31,625,000
$42,008,000
— 25

C O A L PR O D U C TIO N DECLIN ES SE A SO N A LLY

There was a seasonal decrease in bituminous coal pro­
duction in the United States from March to April, output
declining from 35,210,000 net tons in the earlier month to
32.962.000 tons in the later month. In April 1939 only
9.627.000 tons were mined, the entire Appalachian region
being closed while owners and miners negotiated new
wage contracts. Total production this calendar year to
May 4 of 157,413,000 tons exceeded production o f 117,702.000 tons to the same date last year by 33.7 per cent.
Shipments of coal through Hampton Roads ports between
January 1 and May 4 this year totaling 8,639,616 tons
not only exceeded loadings o f 6,550,376 tons in the cor­
responding period in 1939, but also were larger than
loadings o f 7,674,121 tons in the first four months of
1929, both gains being due in large part to increased ship­
ments for foreign cargo this year. In the Fifth district,
coal mined in April 1940, March 1940 and April 1939,
was as follow s:
SOFT COAL PRODUCTION IN TONS
REGION

April 1940

March 1940

April 1939

West V ir g in ia .........................
Virginia ................. : ................
Maryland ..................................
5th District . .................

9,758,000
1,115,000
110,000
10,983,000

9,964,000
1,134,000
141,000
11,239,000

0
0
0
0

United States .................
% in D is tr ic t.................

32,962,000
33.3

35,210,000
31.9

9,627,000
0.0

C O TTO N M ILL A C T IV IT Y IS REDUCED

Cotton cloth and yarn mills in the Fifth district held
at about the same level o f activity in April as in March, a
level substantially higher than in April a year ago but




lower than at midwinter. Reports indicate, however, that
operations slowed further late in April and early in May.
Output is again exceeding sales, and the backlog o f orders
is declining. In some mills stocks are accumulating, but
accumulations are not yet excessive. Cloth prices held
steady or advanced a little in April, along with spot cot­
ton, but since the beginning o f May prices o f textiles have
softened and cotton has declined about $5 a bale. Con­
sumption o f cotton by states in the Fifth district in April
1940, March 1940, and April 1939, is shown b elow :
COTTON CO N SU M PT IO N -FIFT H DISTRICT
In bales
MONTHS

No. Carolina So. Carolina

Virginia

District

April 1940 ...........................
March 1940 .........................
April 1939 ..............................

166,746
163,705
140,596

128,493
129,351
108,766

14,383
12,438
10,433

309,622
305,494
259,795

4 Months, 1940 ...................
4 Months, 1939 ...................

695,109
615,376

531,817
466,852

54,396
46,708

1,281,322
1,128,936

BOTH SHIPMENTS A N D STOCKS OF R A Y O N IN C REA SE

Rayon Organon for M ay reports that April deliveries
o f rayon filament yarn to domestic consumers amounted
to 30,700,00 pounds, an increase of 4.4 per cent over 29,400.000 pounds in March and 27.9 per cent above 24,000,00 pounds in A pril 1939. Total rayon yarn con­
sumption for the first 4 months o f the current year
amounted to 121,000,000 pounds compared with 103,400,000 pounds in the same period last year, an increase o f
17 per cent.
In spite o f increased shipments last month, production
outran consumption for the fourth consecutive month,
and reserve stocks o f yarn held by producers at the end
of April totaled 11,600,000 pounds in comparison with
10.400.000 pounds held at the end o f March. The rela­
tive unimportance of this surplus is indicated by the
fact that on April 30, 1939, reserve stocks o f yarn totaled
43.400.000 pounds.
Interest has been expressed in the question whether
the stoppage o f pulp shipments from Scandinavian coun­
tries to the United States will affect the rayon industry.
The effect will be indirect only, since all chemical dis­
solving sulphite pulp used by the United States rayon and
allied products industry comes from the United States or
Canada. Rayon Organon says that the capacity o f the
United States pulp producing industry is essentially equal
to the task of supplying the total domestic demand, with
only a minimum amount o f aid from foreign sources, in
this case Canada.
C O TTO N PRICES A N D EXPO RTS D ECLIN E

Spot cotton prices on 10 Southern markets moved
through a range o f only 7 points during April, varying
from 10.58 cents for middling grade on April 5 to 10.65
cents on April 26, but in the first half o f May prices
dropped sharply to an average 9.58 cents on May 17. E x ­
ports o f cotton also fell off substantially in the first half
of May, although they were still above corresponding
1939 figures. Recent developments in Europe closed the
markets in Holland, Belgium, Denmark and the Scandi­
navian countries to American cotton. These countries
were not leaders in cotton consumption, but their pur­
chases were a real factor in the American export market.

MONTHLY REVIEW

4

R ETAIL FURNITURE SALES

COTTON CONSUMPTION AND ON HAND— BALES
Apr.
1940
Fifth district states:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton growing states:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotjton held April 30 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & compresses
United States:
Cotton consumed ...................
Cotton held April 30 in
Consuming establishments
Storage & compresses
Exports of cotton, U. S..............
Spindles active, U. S...................

Apr.
1939

309,622

259,795

2,847,797

2,477,555

533,634

459,573

5,069,910

4,361,965

Aug. 1 to Apr. 30
This Year Last Year

1,198,981 1,087,858
10,673,718 12,928,159
623,5

543,187

5,954,728

1,469,617 1,292,565
10,743,002 12,976,432
344,609

178,225

5,152,547

% Change in Sales, Apriland 4 Months in 1940

STATES
Maryland, 9 stores ..............................
Dist. of Col., 7 sto r e s ..........................
Virginia, 10 stores ..............................
North Carolina, 4 stores ...................
South Carolina, 7 stores .................
District, 37 stores ..........................
Individual cities:
Baltimore, 9 stores ............................
Richmond, 5 stores ............................
Washington, 7 stores ..........................

................................
................................
5,694,962

22,301,218 22,122,902

___
LINES

TO B A C C O M A N U F A C T U R IN G

RISES

Output o f tobacco manufacturing plants in the United
States in April not only exceeded production in April
1939, as shown in the accompanying table, but also in­
creased over March output by 14 per cent in cigarettes, 7
per cent in cigars, 6 per cent in snuff, and 3 per cent in
smoking and chewing tobacco. Part o f the 21 per cent
increase in cigarette production last month over April
1939 was due to a strike last year which closed plants of
one of the big companies for a week. Bureau o f Internal
Revenue figures show production in April this year and
last as follow s:
April 1940

Smoking & chewing
tobacco, pounds .............
Cigarettes, number .................
Cigars, number .......................
Snuff, pounds ............................

April 1939

% Change

25,082,562
14,819,507,680
425,140,424
3,398,017

22,618,267
12,269,248,887
403,041,777
3,009,347

+ 11
-+-21
+ 5
+ 13

R E T A IL A N D W H O LESALE TR A D E
DEPARTMENT STORE TRADE
Net Sales
Apr. 1940
comp, with
Apr.
1939

Net Sales
Stocks
Apr. 30, 1940
Jan. 1 to date
comp, with
comp, with
Mar.
same period Apr.
1939
1940
last year

—
+
+
+
+

3.0
2.4
4.8
6.5
3.1

+ 4.9
+ 7.0
+ 6.4
+ 8.8
+ 6.6

Same stores by states,
with 22 stores added:
—
Virginia (13) . . .
—
West Va. (10) . .
+
No. Carolina (7).
—
So. Carolina (8) .

2.3
1.5
3.8
4.4

+ 4.7
+ 11.9
+ 9.1
+ 8.9

Richmond (3)
Baltimore (8)
Washington (6) .
Other Cities (13).
District (30)




+ 13.2
+ 4.6
+ 4.8
+ 4.0
+ 5.7

+
+
+
+
+

5.2
1.4
1.2
2.0
1.9

Ratio Apr.
collections
to accounts
outstanding
Apr. 1
31.7
32.6
28.9
30.0
30.5

+43
+ 7
+32

Compared with
4 Months 1939
+23
+ 9
+ 5
+12
+19
+15
+23
+ 1
+ 9

WHOLESALE TRADE, 205 FIRMS

2,964,098

....

Compared with
April 1939
+43
+32
+12
+24
+ 1
4*28

Auto supplies (8) ...........
Shoes (5) ............................
Drugs (13) .......................
Dry Goods (8) .................
Electrical Goods (17) . . .
Groceries (59) .................
Hardware (17) ...............
Indus, supplies ( 10) . . .
Plumbing & heating (6)
Paper & products ( 9 ) . . .
Tobacco & products (8) .
Miscellaneous (45) .........
District Average (205)

Net Sales
April 1940
compared with
Apr.
Mar.
1939
1940
+ 20
+ 1
— 12
— 35
— 5
+ 11
+ 22
— 12
+ 35
+ 10
+ 16
+ 3
+ 14
+ 1
+ 52
— 1
+ 23
+ 35
+ 22
+ 21
+ 9
+ 4
+ 10
+ 5
+ 14
— 1

Stocks
Ratio Apr.
Apr. 30, 1940
collections
compared with
to accounts
Apr. 30 Mar. 31 outstanding
April 1
1939
1940
60
+ 13
— 17
55
— 1
85
+ 1
+20
— 1
38
69
— 1
+ 7
92
+ 7
+ 1
— 2
47
+ 9
+ 13
59
+ 1
— 7
57
+ 1
— 2
74
+ 10
89
+ *4
72
+ ’2
+ 9
— 3
66

A G R IC U L T U R A L NOTES

Throughout the entire Fifth Reserve district, both farm
work and crop growth were retarded during the spring by
unfavorable weather conditions. Frequent rains inter­
fered with plowing and unusually cold weather delayed
planting and retarded growth. Frost occurred in some
parts o f the district as late as the end o f April, and freezes
around the middle o f that month seriously damaged
peaches. However, there is an abundant amount o f mois­
ture in the soil, and when warm weather comes all crops
should make rapid progress and in many instances should
overcome the late start. Early truck crops will be below
normal in yields, and farmers have had to use much more
of their reserve hay stocks than usual because o f the late
development in pasture grasses, but fall sown grains came
through the winter in fair condition, most fruits were not
sufficiently advanced to suffer seriously from the April
freezes, and the two big money crops, cotton and tobacco,
are not much affected by spring weather if good stands
o f plants can be obtained later. The outlook for cotton
and tobacco growers is highly problematical this season,
with large reserve stocks in storage to begin with and so
many of American export markets in chaotic condition.

(Compiled May 21, 1940)

M O N TH L Y REV IEW , M ay 31, 1 9 4 0

F E D E R A L R E S E R V E BANK O F R IC H M O N D

S U M M A R Y OF N A TIO N A L B U S IN E S S C O N D ITIO N S
(Compiled by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System)

Industrial activity w as steady during A p ril a fte r three months o f sharp
decline, and in the first h a lf o f M ay increases appeared in some lines, pa rticu ­
la rly steel. P rices o f basic commodities showed m ixed changes tow ard the
middle o f M ay, accom panying the extension o f active w a rfa re in Europe, while
stock prices declined sharply.

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

PRODUCTION

Index of physical volume of production, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
=100.
Durable m anufactures, nondurable m anu­
factures, and minerals expressed in terms o f
points in the total index.
By months, January
1934 to A p ril 1940.

FREIGHT CAR LOADINGS

Index of total loadings of revenue freight, ad­
justed for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average
= 100. Miscellaneous, coal and all other expressed
in terms of points in the total index. By months,
January 1934 to Ap ril 1940.

DEPARTMENT STORE SALES AND STOCKS

The B oa rd’s seasonally adjusted index o f industrial production fo r the
month o f A p ril was 102, com pared w ith 104 fo r M arch and 109 fo r February.
Steel in got production w as steady during A p ril at sligh tly over 60 per cent o f
capacity as com pared w ith an average rate o f 64 per cent in M arch ; in the first
h a lf o f M ay output rose sharply and curren tly is scheduled at about 70 per cent
o f capacity. Autom obile production in A p ril continued at about the M arch
rate, although ordinarily there is an increase at this season, and in early M ay
declined som ewhat. Retail sales o f new cars approxim ated production in A p ril
and dealers’ stocks o f both new and used cars rem ained at earlier high levels.
O utput o f plate glass, used la rgely by the autom obile industry, declined con­
siderably in A p ril, and lum ber production showed som ewhat less than the usual
seasonal increase. In the m achinery, a ircra ft, and shipbuilding industries a c­
tivity continued at the high rate o f other recent months.
In the textile industry activity at cotton and w oolen mills declined some­
w hat fu rth er in A pril, follow in g considerable reductions in M arch. A t silk m ills
activity rem ained at a low level, w hile rayon production w as m aintained at a
high rate. O utput at m eat-packing establishm ents continued in large volum e.
There w as some fu rth er curtailm ent in shoe production in A p r il; in m ost other
industries producing nondurable goods changes in output w ere largely seasonal
in character.
Coal production, w hich usually declines sh arply in A pril, showed on ly a
small decrease this year. O utput o f crude petroleum , w hich had reached record
high levels in M arch, w as la rgely m aintained in A p ril and the first h a lf o f M ay,
although stocks o f crude oil w ere increasing and gasoline stocks w ere unusualiy
large.
Value o f construction contract aw ards increased fu rth er in A pril, reflecting
prin cip ally a rise in contracts fo r private building, according to figures o f the
F. W . D odge Corporation. A w ards fo r private residential building w ere in
som ewhat la rg er volume than a year ago. P rivate nonresidential building w as
about one-third greater than at this season last year and w as near the previous
peak level reached in mid-1937. A w ards fo r public construction, however, w ere
considerably below the level o f last spring.
DISTRIBUTION

D istribution o f com m odities to consum ers showed little change in A p ril
and the first h a lf o f M ay. The B oa rd ’s seasonally adjusted index o f departm ent
store sales w as 90 per cent o f the 1923-1925 average in A pril, about the level
that has prevailed since the first o f the year but below the peak o f 96 reached
last Decem ber.
Total freigh t-ca r loadings in A p ril w ere in about the same volum e as in
M arch. (Shipments o f coal declined less than seasonally, w hile loadings o f m is­
cellaneous freigh t, w hich include m ost m anu factu red products, showed less than
the sharp rise that is custom ary at this season. In the early p a rt o f M ay in ­
creases w ere reported in shipments o f m ost classes o f freigh t.
FOREIGN TRADE

Indexes of value o f sales and stocks, adjusted
for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average-:: 100. By
months, January 1934 to Ap ril 1940.

MONEY

RATES IN NEW YORK

CITY

E xports o f United States m erchandise, w hich have been at a high level
since last December, declined som ewhat in A p ril. A large p a rt o f the decrease
in A p ril w as accounted fo r by the com plete cessation o f shipm ents to northern
European countries a fter outbreak o f hostilities there, but declines w ere also
reported in shipments to most' other countries. E xports to Canada, the Union
o f South A frica , and Fran ce, however, increased.
Shipm ents o f com m ercial vehicles declined sharply, follow in g a consider­
able rise in M arch, and exports o f iron and steel products, w hich had been
increasing steadily since last summer, also showed a decline. E xports o f cotton
and copper decreased fu rth er from earlier high levels, w hile m achinery and a ir­
c r a ft shipm ents continued in large volume.
D urin g A pril, the m onetary gold stock o f the United States increased by
$337,000,000, the largest increase since A u g u st 1939. Acquisitions o f gold in
the first tw o weeks o f M ay totaled $169,000,000.
COM M ODITY PRICES

Prices o f a number o f basic com m odities, which had been declining a fter a
rise in A pril, advanced from M ay 10 to M ay 14. Increases in this period w ere
pa rticu la rly m arked f o r im ported m aterials, such as rubber, tin, and silk. Grain
prices rose at first but subsequently showed sharp declines. P rice changes fo r
other com m odities w ere m ixed; steel scrap advanced, while cotton declined con­
siderably. Prices o f certain steel products, w hich had been reduced early in
A pril, w ere restored to earlier levels on M ay 1, and producers announced that
steel purchased at the low er prices m ust be taken by the buyers on or before
June 30.
GOVERNMENT SECURITY MARKET

For weeks ending January 6, 1934, to May 18,
1940.




Prices o f United States Governm ent securities declined sharply from M ay
10 to M ay 14, accom panying the fu rth er spread o f w ar in E urope. P rices o f
long-term Treasury bonds on M ay 14 wT
ere 3% points below the high poin t
reached on A p ril 2. The yield on the 1960-65 2% per cent bonds rose from 2.26
per cent on A p ril 2 to 2.48 per cent on M ay 14.
BAN K CREDIT

Total loans and investm ents at reportin g mem ber banks in 101 leading cities
increased during the fo u r weeks ending M ay 8. M ost o f this increase w as at
N ew Y ork City banks and reflected purchases o f United States G overnm ent obli­
gations. D eposits and reserves o f banks in leading cities continued at record