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MONTHLY

REVIEW

BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W. HOXTON, CHAIRMAN AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA
Business in the Fifth Federal Reserve District
during October was fully up to seasonal average,
and in some lines much of the dullness experienced
in September disappeared. Perhaps the most out­
standing development in the District since our Oc­
tober 31st Review was written was the steady rise
in cotton prices, which advanced approximately $25
a bale between the middle of October and the mid­
dle of November, reaching a point at least 6 cents
per pound above the price on November 15, 1922.
In addition to the advance in price, the Department
of Agriculture's November 2nd report credited the
cotton growing states of the Fifth District with an
increase in production this year over 1922 amount­
ing to 429,000 bales, or 3 1% . As a result of the
large sums being realized by the cotton planters,
together with the marketing of tobacco and other
farm products at satisfactory prices, liquidation of
agricultural paper is taking place earlier this fall
than usual, thus enabling member banks to retire
a considerable part of their rediscounts at the Re­
serve Bank and elsewhere. At the same time, de­
posits in member banks have risen sharply,, clearly
showing the improved status of the banks’ custo­
mers. The payment of rediscounted paper resulting
from the marketing of agricultural products in the
Fifth District has increased the cash reserves of
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, thereby
raising the ratio of reserve to combined note and
deposit liabilities from 55.45% on October 15th
to 64.65% on November 14. Debits to individual
accounts in twenty-three trade centers of the Dis­
trict were greater during the five weeks ending
November 14th than during the five weeks ending
October 10th, although the earlier period contained
a quarterly payment date which usually swells the
volume of debits. Business failures in October,
while more numerous than in September, were fewer
in proportion in the Fifth District than in the nation
as a whole, and liabilities were lower than in Oc­




NOVEMBER 30, 1923
tober 1922. Labor continues fully employed at
high wages, and sufficient labor is available for all
purposes except in a few scattered industries such
as dairying. Coal production is sufficient to meet
all needs and to provide some surplus for storage
against contingencies. The textile industry is find­
ing it increasingly difficult to sell goods at prices
that make operations remunerative, in view of re­
cent advances in raw cotton, but Fifth District
mills have as yet curtailed operations very little,
and during October they consumed more cotton
than in September of this year or October last
year. Virginia’s tobacco crop, while smaller than
last year’s, was raised on a smaller acreage, and
North Carolina’s crop is the second largest in the
history of the state. Prices for tobacco, grades
considered, are good. Other crops quite generally
turned out well. Corn yields in Virginia and both
Carolinas turned out better than last year and this
year’s price averages about 15 cents per bushel
higher. Wheat and other grains yielded good re­
turns, and in Virginia peanut and apple crops both
turned out much larger and better than last year.
Building permits issued in twenty-five of the Fifth
District’s leading cities broke all previous records
in October for that month of the year, and exceeded
the number of permits issued in September. Retail
trade, as reflected in department store sales, was
12.1 % greater in October than in October 1922,
and increased 46.4% over the volume of business
done in September this year. Wholesale trade on
the whole was much better than a year ago, and
collections showed steady improvement as fall busi­
ness developed and the seasonal liquidation of in­
debtedness got under way.

The National Summary will be found on pages 10 and II.

CONDITION OF SEVENTY-SIX REPORTING MEMBER BANKS IN SELECTED CITIES.
ITEMS

H
I
I
I
I
I
1
1

Nov. 7, 1923

1. Total Loans and Discounts (including
all rediscounts) --------------- ------------ $
2. Total Investments in Bonds and Securitie s........................................................
3. Total Loans and Investments...................
4. Reserve Balance with Federal Reserve
Bank......................................................
5. Cash in Vaults.............................................
6. Demand Deposits.......................................
7. Time Deposits.............................................
8. Borrowed from Federal Reserve Bank.....

466,098,000

Oct. 10, 1923
$

469,756,000

Nov. 8, 1922
$

426,327,000*

126.792.000
592.890.000

131.984.000
601.740.000

129.615.000
555.942.000

36.662.000
14.757.000
342.298.000
152.223.000
37.215.000

36.338.000
14.517.000
336.900.000
152.456.000
43.067.000

35.573.000
14.871.000
334.125.000
147.681.000
17.566.000

♦Does not^include Rediscounts.

In the accompanying table we show the principal items of condition reported by seventy-six member
banks on three dates, November 7, 1923, October 10, 1923, and November 8, 1922. These figures af­
ford an opportunity for comparing the totals reported for the latest date with those reported for the
previous month this year and on the corresponding date a year ago. Since last month the number of re­
porting banks has been reduced from seventy-seven to seventy-six, but the reduction resulted from a mer­
ger of two banks and therefore the relative value of the figures for the three dates is not affected.
During the period between October 10th and November 7, 1923, there was a decrease in outstanding
loans to customers in the reporting banks from $469,756,000 to $466,098,000, a decline which is unusual at
this season of the year. The marketing of farm products always brings about some liquidation of agri­
cultural loans during October, but demands for mercantile credit usually more than counterbalance the les­
sened need for credit to farmers. This year, however, the merchants have either not borrowed as much as
usual, or high prices for agricultural products have enabled the farmers to settle their accounts earlier than in
average years. Partly because of the liquidation of loans to customers, and increased deposits, and partly
as a result of some reduction in investments in bonds and securities, the reporting banks have reduced their
rediscounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $43,067,000 on October 10th to $37,215,000 on
November 7th. Cash in vaults of reporting banks rose during the month from $14,517,000 to $14,757,000,
and demand deposits increased from $336,900,000 to $342,298,000, the latter increase being striking in view
of the reduction in outstanding loans, since deposit accounts are drawn upon in order to pay loans. Time
deposits declined slightly between October 10th and November 7th, falling from $152,456,000 to $152,223,000,
but this decrease is more than accounted for by the transfer of Christmas Savings accounts from time to de­
mand deposits. Reserve balance with the Federal Reserve Bank increased from $36,338,000 on October
10th to $36,662,000 on November 7th, larger reserves being required on the increased deposits previously
mentioned.
During the year between November 8, 1922 and November 7, 1923, several of the items included in the
table changed materially, chief among these being the items showing demand and time deposits, total loans
and discounts, and borrowing at the Reserve Bank. The figures showing total loans and discounts are not
comparable because the 1922 figure excluded rediscounts, but demand deposits increased from $334,125,000
to $342,298,000 during the year, time deposits rose from $147,681,000 to $152,223,000, and borrowings at
the Reserve Bank increased from $17,566,000 to $37,215,000. Reserve balance at the Reserve Bank in­
creased within the year from $35,573,000 to $36,662,000, but cash in vaults declined from $14,871,000 to
$14,757,000, and investments in bonds and securities decreased from $129,615,000 to $126,792,000.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OPERATIONS
Cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose from $91,334,461.84 on October 15th to
$109,004,949.43 on November 14th, and the volume of Federal Reserve Notes in actual circulation increased
from $97,162,535 to $101,824,145 during the same period. Both of these increases are seasonal, the increase
in cash reserves being brought about by transfers of funds from other districts in payment for cotton and
other agricultural products sold and shipped, and the increase in note circulation resulting from the increased
needs for currency for crop moving and holiday trade. Member bank reserve deposits increased from $61,314,607.55 on October 15th to $63,295,280.24 on November 14th, the increase being largely due to increased
deposits in the member banks upon which reserves have to be carried. On the other hand, payment of loans
at member banks with funds secured from crop sales enabled the member banks to reduce their rediscounts
at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from $78,179,400.82 to $63,857,499.78 between October 15th and
November 14th. As a result of the changes in condition mentioned above, the ratio of cash reserves to de­
posit and note liabilities combined rose from 55.45% on October 15th to 64.65% on November 14th, as
hereinbefore stated.




2

A year ago, on November 15, 1922, the cash reserves of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond amounted
to $119,977,150.56; Federal Reserve Notes in actual circulation totaled $98,982,755; Member bank reserve de­
posits aggregated $59,254,931.78; and total rediscounts amounted to $44,043,404.81. The ratio of cash re­
serves to combined notes and deposit liabilities was 75.64%. The greater volume of rediscounts and Federal
Reserve Notes now outstanding in comparison with a year ago is due to increased business activity.
SAVINGS BANK DEPOSITS
Total deposits in fifteen regularly reporting mutual savings banks, located in Baltimore, increased dur­
ing October more than a million dollars over total deposits at the end of September, establishing a new record
for these institutions. Deposits in the fifteen banks amounted to $138,814,399 at the close of business Octo­
ber 31, 1923, compared with totals of $130,293,419 on October 31, 1922, $122,881,047 on October 31, 1921,
and $121,4 11,0 12 on October 31, 1920. The October 1923 total shows an increase of 6.5% over deposits a
year ago and a gain of 14.3% over deposits in October 1920.
DEBITS TO INDIVIDUAL ACCOUNT IN LEADING TRADE CENTERS
TOTAL DEBITS FOR THE FIVE WEEKS ENDING
CITIES
Nov. 14,1923

Oct. 10, 1923

Nov. 15, 1922

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.........................................................
Raleigh, N. C......................................................
Richmond, Va.....................................................
Roanoke, Va............................... ........................
Spartanburg, S. C...............................................
Washington, D. C...............................................
Wilmington, N. C................................................
Winston-Salem, N. C..........................................

$

25,106,000
424.600.000
28.194.000
43.437.000
49.883.000
30.648.000
10.669.000
14.023.000
25.735.000
29.982.000
33.627.000
11.478.000
28.440.000
23.228.000
7,740,000
97.776.000
34.930.000
160.309.000
27.841.000
19.205.000
223.490.000
29.882.000
38.056.000

$

27,112,000
433.400.000
24.214.000
45.077.000
50.121.000
28.708.000
11.022.000
10.796.000
24.592.000
26.333.000
30.713.000
12.548.000
30.102.000
24.515.000
8,433,000
86.787.000
32.799.000
160.897.000
27.892.000
14.667.000
219.533.000
25.128.000
37.128.000

$

23,206,000
421.749.000
29.176.000
43.457.000
42.849.000
29.907.000
9.857.000
18.599.000
26.182.000
25.449.000
26.998.000
10.807.000
27.293.000
21.895.000
7.869.000
84.341.000
36.050.000
167^925,000
28.785.000
15.241.000
212.379.000
29.716.000
38.365.000

Totals for 23 cities..................................

$

1,418,279,000

$

1,392,517,000

$

1,378,095,000

The accompanying table shows the total of all debits to individual, firm and corporation accounts in the
banks of twenty-three of the chief trade centers of the Fifth Reserve District, totals being included for the
five weeks ending November 14, 1923, October 10, 1923, and November 15, 1922, thus affording an oppor­
tunity for comparing the latest five weeks period with (1) the preceding period this year and (2) the corre­
sponding period last year.
During the five weeks ending November 14, 1923, aggregate debits in the twenty-three reporting cities
amounted to $1,418,279,000, compared with $1,392,517,000 reported for the period ending October 10, 1923,
an increase of $25,762,000 during the month, twelve of the twenty-three cities showing gains. The gains
are due to the large amount of debits resulting from cotton and tobacco sales, all of the cities showing in­
creases except Washington being cotton or tobacco markets or export points.
The five weeks ending November 14, 1923, with total debits amounting to $1,418,279,000, show an in­
crease of $40,184,000, or 2.9% , over the corresponding five weeks last year, ending November 15, 1922, dur­
ing which period the reporting cities had aggregate debits amounting to $1,378,095,000. Tobacco is being
marketed much more slowly than in 1922, due to the unusual lateness of the crop and to unfavorable weather
for ordering during October, and therefore debits in the tobacco markets are generally quite noticeably below
debits reported from the same cities during the corresponding period in 1922.




3

BUSINESS FAILURES IN THE TWELVE FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICTS
OCTOBER, 1923 AND 1922.

1923

1922

Per Cent
Increase or
Decrease

130
351
62
137
91
107
208
84
90
96
111
206

154
364
76
151
91
119
232
91
86
92
191
161

—15.6
— 3.6
—18.4
— 9.3
0.0
—10.1
—10.3
— 7.7
4.7
4.3
22.0
28.0

$ 15,610,419
34,602,500
1,557,615
7,706,539
2,266,828
2,085,051
4,790,027
1,308,833
1,118,598
1,340,804
2,417,470
4,497,057

$ 3,950,610
6,239,259
2,122,521
5,653,108
2,317,926
1,716,140
5,185,636
1,661,606
1,496,211
1,272,345
1,014,291
2,017,785

1,673

1,708

— 2.09b

$ 79,301,741

$ 34,647,438

Number
City and District
Boston, First.......................................
New York, Second..............................
Philadelphia Third............................
Cleveland, Fourth...............................
Richmond, Fifth..................................
Atlanta, Sixth.....................................
Chicago, Seventh................................
St. Louis, Eighth.................................
Minneapolis, Ninth.............................
Kansas City, Tenth............................
Dallas, Eleventh
........
San Francisco, Twelfth.....................
Totals.........................................

Liabilities
1923

1922

Per Cent of
Increase or
Decrease
295.1
454.6
— 26.6
36.3
— 2.2
21.5
— 7.6
— 21.2
— 25.2
5.4
138.3
122.9
128.9%

Business failures in October were more numerous than in any other month since March, taking the
country as a whole, and the aggregate of liabilities involved was the greatest since December 1921. Dun’s
Review reports 1,673 failures in October 1923, with liabilities totaling $79,301,741, compared with 1,226 fail­
ures involving $28,698,649 of liabilities in September 1923, and 1, 708 failures involving $34,647,438 of liabili­
ties in October 1922. However, in commenting upon the amount of liabilities involved, Dun’s Review states
that five large failures accounted for more than half the total. Even with the marked expansion in the
October liabilities, the total reported for ten months this year is 20 percent less than for the same period
of last year, and the number of insolvencies for ten months shows a decrease of 25 percent from the number
reported through October 1922.
In the Fifth District there were 91 bankruptcies in October 1923, compared with 66 in September of this
year and 91 in October 1922. In liabilities involved October 1923 witnessed a total of $2,266,828, compared
with $964,349 reported in September 1923 and $2,317,926 reported in October 1922.
The average liability per failure in October 1923 was $24,910 in the Fifth District and $47,401 in the
nation as a whole, compared with average liabilities in October 1922 of $25,472 in the Fifth District and
$20,285 in the nation.
LABOR— There has been no material change in labor conditions in the Fifth District since our last
month’s Review was written. The supply of and the demand for labor appear to be approximately balanced,
except for farm and dairy work for which competent workmen are very scarce. The weather continued
favorable for outside work all through October and the early part of November. New construction work
continues to get under way in sufficient volume to absorb the labor released as projects begun earlier in the
year are finished, and manufacturers seem to be gradually taking on additional workers. The Industrial
Employment Survey in Richmond, for example, shows that 67 firms increased the number of their employees
from 18,200 in September to 18,481 in October, a gain during the month of 281 workers.
A strike involving three or four hundred engineers and firemen has developed on the Virginian Rail­
way. The officials of the road have been able to maintain a degree of service in spite of the walk-out, and
negotiations looking toward a settlement are under way.
COAL— According to the Department of the Interior reports, issued weekly through the Geological
Survey, daily production of bituminous coal has been running around the 1,800,000 ton mark for the past
six weeks, and coal has been gradually flowing into storage, production being slightly greater than consump­
tion. The present rate of output is just below that in 1922, and is considerably below that in 1917 and 1920,
but now exceeds that in 1918. The Survey says that production during the first 266 working days of 1923
amounted to 478,024,000 net tons, this total being larger than production during the corresponding periods in
1917, 1919, 1921 and 1922, but is slightly less than in 1920, and considerably less than in 1918. Total
production during October is estimated at 49,171,000 net tons, an increase over September of 2,955,000 tons.
Final returns on the shipments of anthracite in October indicate that the total output was 8,724,000 net
tons. This was about three times the output in September, when production was greatly reduced by the
strike of anthracite miners. Cumulative production in 1923 to the end of October stood at 79,998,000 net
tons. This exceeds by a large margin the output in each of the nine preceding years, except 1917 and 1918,
when production was stimulated by wartime activities.




4

TEXTILES— The textile industry appears to be facing a serious situation, due to the recent advance in
raw cotton. Cotton prices have risen approximately 10 cents per pound since the first of August, but the
mills have found the dry goods trade exceedingly reluctant to buy goods at correspondingly higher prices.
Prior to 1920 and 1921, jobbers and retailers usually rushed into the market to buy goods when raw cotton
was rising, and mills secured more orders than they could fill, but since the disastrous experiences resulting
from the rapid decline in prices in the two years mentioned mills have found orders falling off when cotton
prices advanced rapidly and materially. There has been practically no curtailment in operations by Southern
mills thus far this season, but curtailment is being seriously considered by many of the mills and they state
that unless the trade shows a greater willingness to absorb textiles at replacement costs it will be necessary
to restrict output until the lessened supply of yarn and cloth raises prices to a remunerative point. The Fifth
District mills used 208,938 bales of cotton during October, compared with 196,604 bales consumed in Sep­
tember, the October consumption being distributed as follows: 112,543 bales used by North Carolina mills,
85,288 bales used in South Carolina, and 11,288 bales consumed in Virginia, higher figures being reported
for all three states than during September. Consumption of cotton during October in the Fifth District
amounted to 38.6% of national consumption.
COTTON— The estimate of cotton production has changed materially since our October 31st Review
was written, the Department of Agriculture having issued an extra condition report as of October 25th which
greatly reduced earlier predictions. In last month's Review we cited the Department’s report based on the
condition as of September 25th, which had estimated the year’s crop at 11,015,000 bales, but on November
2nd, the Department reduced its estimate to 10,248,000 bales, a reduction of 767,000 bales. The reasons
given for the reduction were generally unfavorable weather and heavy rains in the southwest, exceptional
damage to grown bolls by weevils, leaf worm ravages and the heaviest abandonment on record. In the Fifth
District, the outlook for the year is considerably better than for the South as a whole, South Carolina’s
crop being estimated at 740,000 bales in comparison with 495,000 bales ginned last year, North Carolina’s crop
being estimated at 1,010,000 bales in comparison with 852,000 bales last year, and Virginia’s crop estimated
at 53,000 bales compared with a production of 27,000 bales in 1922.
Largely as a result of the reduction in the Department of Agriculture’s estimate for the year and of
ginning reports which were regarded as bullish, cotton prices have been steadily advancing since the middle
of October. In our Review last month we traced average prices paid for spot cotton in the Carolinas through
the week ending October 13th, when the average price had declined to 27.12 cents per pound. Private crop
and ginning reports foreshadowed the reductions later to be made by the Government reports, however, and
between October 13th and October 20th the average price rose to 28.22 cents per pound. The week ending
October 27th witnessed an average of 29.52 cents per pound, and the week ending November 3rd averaged
30.14 cents. The week ending November 10th averaged 31.59 cents per pound, and since that time there has
been a further advance as a result of the Census Bureau’s ginning report issued on November 8th and the
October consumption report issued on November 14th.
The Census Bureau’s ginning report to November 1st placed the number of bales ginned at 7,554,578 in
comparison with 8,146,000 bales ginned to the same date last year, and traders regarded the figure as dis­
tinctly bullish.
Cotton consumed in the United States during October amounted to 541,825 bales, in comparison with
483,852 bales consumed in September of this year and 533,950 bales consumed in October 1922. The re­
lease of this report by the Census Bureau was a distinct surprise to the trade, talk of curtailed running time
having led cotton dealers to expect lower figures than materialized. The same report estimated cotton on
hand in consuming establishments at 1,102,583 bales compared with 1,381,945 bales on hand a year ago, and
cotton in public storage and at compresses 3,485,839 bales in comparison with 4,287,119 bales at the end of
October 1922. Exports in October totaled 781,722 bales compared with exports of 798,664 bales in Octo­
ber 1922, and spindles active during October numbered 34,378,662 compared with 33,837,435 in October
last year. The cotton growing states had the largest number of active spindles on record during October.
TOBACCO— The Virginia bright tobacco markets opened October 1st, and during the month sold
9,517,282 pounds for producers, at an average price of $20.41 per hundred pounds. Weather conditions
during October were unfavorable for ordering the tobacco and therefore sales have been even smaller than
the backward season would cause. Last year 22,588,578 pounds were sold during October, at an average
of $30.31 per hundred. It is generally agreed that the quality of tobacco produced in Virginia this year is
below last year’s quality, and in addition October this year received the usual poor tobacco that comes on the
floors as soon as the markets open. According to estimates of warehousemen the October sales graded 21
percent good, 32 percent medium, and 47 percent common, while last year the October sales graded 48 percent
good, 32 percent medium, and 20 percent common. Danville led all markets in October in both volume of
sales and average price, 5,164,287 pounds having been sold for an average of $22.91 per hundred. Virginia
dark markets opened November 1st, and no sales figures are yet available.




5

North Carolina auction warehouses sold 68,617,235 pounds of tobacco for producers during October,
at an average price of $21.52, compared with 62,328,030 pounds sold in October 1922, at an average of $29.48.
Wilson led all the markets in sales with 14,478,250 pounds, but tobacco offered on the Farmville market
brought the highest average price, $25.07 per hundred. The quality of tobacco produced in North Carolina
this year averages low, but the yield per acre is approximately n o pounds more than in 1922. Warehouse­
men are unanimous in the comment that the quality of tobacco sold during October was from average to poor.
The Co-operative Tobacco Marketing Association shows approximately 40,000,000 pounds of members’
tobacco delivered prior to November 10th in North Carolina, out of a total of 72,852,178 pounds delivered
in the three states in which the Association operates.
AGRICULTURAL NOTES— The harvesting of crops in Virginia has been practically completed, and
the average yield of all crops for 1923 is estimated to 4.1 percent greater than the average during the past ten
years, according to the November report of the Virginia Crop Reporting Service. All crops made a poor
start owing to the dry weather in the spring and early summer, but favorable weather during the latter part
of the season caused rapid improvement in condition and excellent yields. The production of corn, wheat,
oats, cotton, peanuts and apples is larger than last year, while tobacco, potatoes and hay production is less.
The corn crop turned out very well in all parts of the state. The total production is estimated to be 53,563,000
bushels in comparison with 53,312,000 bushels last year and a ten year average of 51,585,000 bushels. The
average farm price is $1.00 per bushel compared with 77 cents last year. The estimate of the Virginia tobacco
crop is 125,250,000 pounds, which is 31,500,000 pounds below the yield last year and 12,002,000 pounds be­
low the ten year average. This year's yield per acre is above the average, but the acreage planted was smaller
than usual. The quality of tobacco is not as good as last year since in most sections the growth was very
rapid, resulting in a heavy, coarse leaf. Total production of Irish potatoes is estimated at 14,136,000 bushels
compared with 16,585,000 bushels last year. Shipments of the early crop amounted to 9,094,000 bushels.
The late crop on the Eastern Shore, the greater part of which is used for seed, is very good and the quality is
excellent. Sweet potatoes made excellent yields this year, total production being 5,500,000 bushels. It is
estimated that 70 percent of the total production will be marketed, 2,700,000 bushels having been shipped
prior to October 27th. The production of apples was much greater than had been expected. The com­
mercial crop is estimated to be 1,797,000 barrels compared with 1,100,000 barrels last year, and the quality
of the fruit is exceptionally good. The peanut crop is yielding unusually well and the quality is said to be
above the average. Expected yield this year is 123,740,000 pounds compared with 78,000,000 pounds last
year. Virginia’s cotton crop, estimated at 53,000 bales, is the largest ever grown in the state.
North Carolina has this year become the second largest cotton growing state in the country, according to
the Department of Agriculture’s November 2nd report, this year’s expected yield being 1,010,000 bales
compared with 852,000 bales produced in 1922, which was the state’s record crop previous to that date. In
tobacco yield, North Carolina this year has gathered the largest crop since 1920, when the crop was the
largest in the state’s history. The 367,000,000 pounds produced this year is about 25 percent more than was
grown last year and 12 percent more than the five year average. This large yield was made at the expense
of quality, however, the general practice followed in cultivating the present crop having been to leave the
plants thicker in the row and to top it higher than usual. The corn crop of the state is estimated at 56,835,000
bushels for 1923, which is approximately 13 percent better than last year’s yield, and the average price on
November 1st was 16 cents per bushel higher than the average on the corresponding date a year ago. Among
the Southern states, North Carolina’s corn crop is exceeded by only two states, Tennessee and Texas. The
wheat crop is estimated to be 6,633,000 bushels this year, the largest yield since 1920 when almost 8,000,000
bushels were grown. Other small grain crops in North Carolina were generally good, especially in the heavier
producing counties, and the harvesting and threshing seasons were favorable for satisfactory handling of
the crops. Prospects appear favorable for good planting this fall.
All principal crops in South Carolina show increases in production over last year except sweet potatoes
and sorghum for syrup, according to the report of the Division of Crop and Live Stock Estimates. Corn
production totaled 32,600,000 bushels compared with 29,908,000 bushels in 1922; wheat production was
1.903.000 bushels compared with 1,322,000 bushels; the oat crop totaled 10,224,000 bushels compared with
9.743.000 bushels; Irish potatoes yielded 3,136,000 bushels compared with 2,553,000 bushels; and tobacco
yielded 73,000,000 pounds compared with 57,600,000 pounds. The sweet potato yield was 9,118,000 bushels
compared with 9,568,000 bushels in 1922, and sorghum syrup amounted to 1,640,000 gallons compared with
1.774.000 gallons made last year. South Carolina’s cotton crop is estimated at 740,000 bales in comparison
with 495,000 bales gathered in 1922.
West Virginia’s corn crop this year is estimated at 20,128,000 bushels, compared with 20,536,000 bushels
in 1922. The potato crop is estimated at 5,760,000 bushels, compared with 4,851,000 bushels last year. The
tobacco yield in the state is 7,740,000 pounds, compared with 7,425,000 pounds in 1922. Production of
other crops in West Virginia this year is as follows: buckwheat, 660,000 bushels; apples, 8,190,000 bushels;
sweet potatoes, 390,000 bushels; sorghum syrup, 872,000 gallons.




6

BUILDING OPERATIONS FOR THE MONTHS OF OCTOBER, 1923 AND 1922.
Permits Issued
New Construction
CITIES

0

New
1923 1922

z

MR L N
AYA D
1 Baltimore.............
2 Cumberland.........
3 Frederick..............
V G IA
IR IN
4 Lynchburg............
5 Norfolk.................
6 Richmond.............
7 Roanoke................
W S V G IA
E T IR IN
8 Bluefield...............
9 Charleston............
10 Clarksburg...........
11 Huntington...........
12 Parkersburg.........
N R HC R L A
O T A O IN
13 Asheville...............
14 Charlotte...............
15 Durham................
16 Greensboro...........
17 High Point...........
18 Raleigh.................
19 Wilmington..........
20 Winston-Salem
S U HC R L A
O T A O IN
21 Charleston............
22 Columbia..............
23 Greenville.............
24 Spartanburg.........
D T O C L M IA
IS . F O U B
25 Washington..........
Totals
♦Not included in totals.

Cent
Increase or Perof
Decrease
Increase
Total
or
Valuation
Decrease

Alterations

Repairs
1923

1922

1923

1922

1,276 1,176 $ 3,130,428 $ 3,214,560
12
17
133,532
99,460
1
3
1,150
1,520

1923

1922

498
35
4

456
25
4

12
186
160
137

17
94
157
77

34
11
112
46

34
58
110
47

10,385
339,110
1,755,086
419,430

15,010
314,730
733,525
147,585

12,780
1,105
73,705
16,827

32,739
38,110
121,400
10,251

54
85
28
148
*35

48
80
31
106

15
31
21
42
*17

12
26
15
18

386,250
275,059
35,515
366,860
67,450

66,360
152,963
163,865
365,670
50,000

15,475
19,585
21,110
22,885
4.450

58
53
13
73
56
47
8
74

35
36
25
35
39
40
19
56

53
17
3
44
15
6
7
119

38
8
2
35
4
2
4
109

254,984
258,865
101,150
378,210
146,875
233,395
11,800
266,835

112,235
245,335
95,167
224,330
161,150
167,589
70,500
483,451

11
30
20
31

14
27
27
34

17
71
23
48

13
110
20
51

60,965
109,614
100,185
82,040

230

451

567

426

1,931,580

2,051

$ 724,560
6,460
75

$ 595,920 $
3,790 —
6,250 —

4

1.2# 1
44,508
31,402 — 22.9
2
5,805 — 78.4
3
24,584 — 51.5
12,625 — 3.6
973,866 113.9
176.4
278,421

4
5
6
7

21,315
13,562
6,605
5,055
20,000

314,050 358.2
76.9
128,119
— 113,845 — 66.8
5.1
19,020
1,900
2.7

8
9
10
11
12

29,960
13,400
5,400
22,427
10,325
9.450
9,750
44,915

17,000
11.500
2,850
19,461
2,150
1,000
13.500
45,067

155,709 120.5
15,430
6.0
8.7
8,533
156,846
64.3
—
6,100 — 3.7
74,256
44.0
— 62,450 — 74.3
— 216,768 — 41.0

13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20

42,875
82,075
64,005
40,690

8,972
15,891
14,286
15,947

4,600
26,854
5,525
8,950

3,209,636

341,516

156,617

1,933 2,591 2,338 $10,823,051 $10,357,988

$1,461,256

—
—

22,462
16,576
44,941
48,347

47.3
15.2
64.6
97.4

21
22
23
24

—1,093,157 — 32.5

25

$1,190,071 $

736,248

6.4%

—Denotes decrease this month

The number of building permits issued in the Fifth Reserve District during October was greater than
the number issued in either August or September of the present year, or in October of last year. The in­
crease over the August and September figures is noteworthy, the usual seasonal movement being downward
as fall advances. Reports received from twenty-five building inspectors show a total of 2,051 permits for
new work in October, estimated to cost $10,823,051, compared with 1,933 permits for similar work issued in
the same cities in October 1922, with estimated valuation of $10,357,988. For repairs and alterations, Octo­
ber 1923 witnessed 2,591 permits with estimated valuation of $1,461,256, compared with 2,338 permits and
a valuation of $1,190,071 in October last year. Combined valuation of both new work and repairs or altera­
tions totaled $12,284,307 in October 1923 compared with $11,548,059 in October 1922, an increase this year
of $736,248, or 6.4%. Increases in valuation of permits for new work of more than 100% were reported
by Richmond and Roanoke, Virginia, Bluefield, West Virginia, and Asheville, North Carolina. More than
half of Richmond’s total for the month was furnished by one permit for a very large bank and office building.
On the whole, residence and apartment construction continues to make up most of the work being planned.
Raleigh, North Carolina, appears in our table this month for the first time.
With so much construction work under way and projected, it follows that dealers in building materials
are doing a large volume of business, but many of them contend that profits are not in keeping with the
volume of their trade, this applying particularly to lumber dealers and producers. There is much talk of
the high costs of construction work, but dealers in materials do not expect any further reductions in prices in
the near future, and the number of permits being issued would appear to indicate that the public is not dis­
posed to curtail building in Order to force costs downward.




7

FIGURES ON RETAIL TRADE
A* Indicated By Reports from Twenty-seven Representative Department Stores
for the Month of October, 1923.
Baltimore

Richmond

Washington

Other
Cities

District

Percentage increase in net sales during
Oct., 1923, compared with Oct., 1922............

6.4

23.8

15.7

12.6

12.1

Percentage increase in net sales from
July 1, through O ct 31, compared
with sales during the same four months
of 1922 .............................................................

3.4

20.1

7.2

10.7

7.4

Percentage increase in net sales during Oct.
1923, compared with average sales during
the corresponding month of 1920,1921 and
1922................................................................

6.4

27.3

10.0

0.2

8.9

Percentage increase in stocks on hand at
the end of Oct., 1923, over stocks on
hand at the end of O ct, 1922.......................

5.6

26.0

3.0

20.3

8.2

Percentage increase in stocks on hand at
the end of O ct, 1923, over stocks on
hand at the end of Sept, 1923..— ..............

8.4

8.8

10.1

9.4

9.2

Percentage of average stocks on hand at
the end of each month since July 1,
to average net sales each month during
the same period, four months.......................

448.8

386.4

452.8

558.7

456.7

Percentage of outstanding orders at the end
of Oct., 1923, to total purchases of
merchandise during the year 1922...............

6.1

8.3

6.1

8.0

6.5

Retail trade in October, as reflected in the dollar value of sales in twenty-seven department stores in the
Fifth Reserve District, was 12 .1% better than trade in the same stores during October 1922, and 46.4%
better than in September 1923. Every store except one reported larger sales in October than in October
last year, the exception being a relatively small store in North Carolina. In cumulative sales since July 1st,
sales this year show an average increase of 7 .4 % over sales during the same four months last year, and
October 1923 sales were 8.9% higher than average October sales in 1920, 1921 and 1922. In all of the
sales increases mentioned Richmond stores led by a wide margin, but this is largely due to store expansion
during the year, as indicated in the 26.0 % increase in stock on hand at the end of October in comparison with
stock on hand a year ago. If the difference in stock on hand be taken into consideration, the Washington
stores showed the largest gains in sales in October in comparison with October 1922.
Stocks on hand in the twenty-seven reporting stores, at selling prices, were 8.2% greater at the end of
October than on the corresponding date last year, and 9.2 % greater than stocks at the end of September this
year. The increase in stocks during the past month in comparison with the preceding month is of course
seasonal, and probably most of the increases in Baltimore and Washington in comparison with last year are
due to price advances during the year, but in Richmond and the group of Other Cities larger stocks are
being carried.
The percentage of average stock on hand at the end of each month since July 1st to average monthly
sales during the same period, four months, was 456.7 % at the end of October, Richmond showing the most
rapid turnover with a percentage of 386.4% and the Other Cities the slowest movement with a percentage of
558.7%. Outstanding orders for merchandise at the end of October amounted to 6.5% of total purchases
during the calendar year 1922, Richmond reporting the highest percentage, 8.3 %.

WHOLESALE TRADE
Reports were received this month from one hundred and twelve wholesale firms, divided as follows: 45
groceries, 15 dry goods jobbers, 15 shoe dealers, 17 hardware jobbers, 7 furniture factories and 13 drug firms.
In comparison with September 1923, sales in October were 7.8 % greater in the grocery trade, hardware sales
gained 11.2 % , furniture sales rose 34.7%, and drug store sales increased. 10.4% , but dry goods sales de­
clined 2.9% and shoe sales fell off 4.3% . In comparison with October 1922, October this year shows large
gains in all lines except shoes, in which a decline of 6.1% was reported. In groceries, October 1923 sales




8

Percentage Increase (or Decrease) in Net Sales During Oct., 1923, as Compared With Sept., 1923
and Oct., 1922.
Groceries
Number of reporting firms in each line....

Dry Goods

45

15

Net sales (selling price) during Oct., 1923,
compared with Sept, 1923...........................

7.8

— 2.9

Net sales (selling price) during O ct, 1923,
compared with Oct, 1922..............................

18.2

19.8

Shoes
15

Hardware

Furniture

17

Drugs
13

— 4.3

11.2

34.7

10.4

6.1

19.1

39.7

15.9

—

—Denotes decrease.

were 18.2% greater than sales in October 1922, dry goods sales showed an increase of 19.8% during the
year, hardware sales rose 19 .1% , furniture sales gained 39.7, and drug sales increased 15.9% . All of these
increases in sales to retailers indicate an improvement in the willingness of merchants to stock the goods
needed in their stores. The reports from the wholesalers indicate that there is now more freedom in buying
than has been the case recently, although merchants are still cautious and are little disposed to anticipate
their needs very far in advance.
One hundred and eleven firms commented on collections in their October reports, and 41 stated they
were good, 59 classed them as fair, and 11 stated they were slow. The proportion of the firms reporting col­
lections as slow or poor was approximately the same as for September, but the number reporting them good
increased from 27 out of 113 firms in September to 41 out of 1 1 1 firms in October. We show herewith for
comparison the classifications made this month, together with the totals reported in July, August and Sep­
tember of this year and in October last year.
Lines

Good
16

7
5
6
2

Shoes
Drugs

_ - 5

41
27
28
20
27

September




Collections Reported As
Fair
Slow
Poor
21
8
0
8
0
0
8
2
0
10
1
0
0
0
4
8
0
0
11
0
59
8
75
3
70
1
15
76
16
1
0
77
13

(Compiled November 20, 1923)
9

Total

45
15
15
17
6
13
h i

113
114

113
117

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

Production of basic commodities and retail trade increased during October and the volume of freight
shipments and wholesale trade continued large. The level of wholesale prices and the volume of employment
showed little change.
PRODUCTION. The Federal Reserve Board’s index of production in basic industries advanced 3
percent in October, after having declined for four months. The increase for the month, while due in part
to the resumption of anthracite coal mining, also reflected increases in textiles, lumber, and sugar, and most
other industries included in the index. Employment at industrial establishments showed practically no
change between September and October.
Contract awards for new buildings increased throughout the country considerably more than is usual at
this season, and were 25 percent larger than in September. Residential projects formed a larger proportion
of the total than in any earlier month of the year.
Crop estimates by the Department of Agriculture on November 1st indicated a substantial reduction from
the September forecast in the yield of cotton, but larger yields of corn, potatoes and apples.
TRADE. Heavy movement of miscellaneous merchandise and live stock resulted in October in the
largest railroad shipments of any month on record. Wholesale trade was 12 percent larger than a year ago
and sales in all leading lines except shoes showed increases. Department store sales were 13 percent larger
than last October and sales of mail order houses were the largest of any month since 1919.
PRICES. Wholesale prices declined less than one percent in October, according to the index of the
Bureau of Labor Statistics, and stood approximately at the level of a year ago. The principal changes for
the month were declines in the prices of fuel, clothing, metals, and animal products, while wholesale prices of
crops, particularly cotton, increased. During the first half of November the prices of wheat, hogs, pig iron,
and hides receded, and prices of cotton and cotton goods, cement, and copper advanced.
BANK CREDIT. Since the middle of October there has been a slight advance in demand for credit
for commercial and agricultural purposes at member banks in leading cities. Considerable decreases in bor­
rowings for these purposes in the New York and Chicago districts were partially offset by increases in other
districts. Loans secured by stocks and bonds increased somewhat, while investments continued to decline
and reached the low point for the year.
The total member bank accommodation at Federal Reserve banks declined between October 17th and No­
vember 21 st, and on the latter date was the lowest since the middle of the year. The total volume of Federal
Reserve bank credit outstanding, however, remained relatively constant because of increased purchases of
bills in the open market. The volume of Federal Reserve note circulation declined by about $50,000,000
during the period, while other forms of money in circulation increased.
Money rates showed an easier tendency and during the early part of November the open market rate on
commercial paper in New York declined from 5—5)4 to 5 percent.




10




11




12