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MONTHLY REVIEW
CREDIT, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS

WILLIAM W.

H O X T O N , C h a ir m 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

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA

SEPTEMBER 30, 1931

EVERAL barometers of business reached the trict continues unsatisfactory, especially in view
lowest levels in a number of years in the of steadily falling cotton prices in recent weeks
Fifth Federal reserve district in August, but there which make it doubly hard to secure forward
were also indications of some seasonal pick-up in orders, but cotton consumption in the mills of the
trade. Rediscounts at the Federal Reserve Bank of district in August materially exceeded consumption
Richmond increased between the middle of August in August 1930, and the district consumed a larger
and the middle of September, in keeping with a sea­ percentage of all cotton used in the United States
sonal trend, and the volume of Federal reserve last month than in the same month a year ago.
notes in actual circulation also rose moderately with Building permits issued in the leading Fifth dis­
the beginning of fall crop marketing. Reporting trict cities in August provided for 17 per cent less
member banks in leading cities experienced little work than the permits issued in August 1930, which
demand for loans, but deposits declined slightly, in turn was approximately 27 per cent below the
the banks increased their investments in stocks and total for August 1929, and contracts actually
bonds and their cash in vaults, and their borrowing awarded in August for construction in the district
at the reserve bank. Debits to individual accounts totaled only a little over half the aggregate awards
figures in the four weeks ended September 9, 1931, in August last year. Retail trade as reflected in
showed the lowest total for any four weeks in department store sales in August averaged 8.4 per
many years, but in spite of this fact the 1931 total cent less than sales in August 1930, a larger decline
was only 12.7 per cent below the total reported for than has been reported in most recent months, but
the four weeks ended September 10, 1930, when wholesale trade showed seasonal improvement last
price levels in many lines were materially higher month, although falling below the level of trade in
than they are this year. Savings deposits in mutual August last year. Both wholesale and retail per­
savings banks and time deposits in member banks centages, which are based on dollar figures, are
are higher than a year ago, indicating a large affected to some extent by price changes during
potential purchasing power on the part of the bank­ the past year. In agriculture, the upper section of
ing section of the public. Commercial failure the Fifth district is in much better condition than
figures for the twelve Federal reserve districts for at this time last year, but the Carolinas are not so
August show that the Fifth district made the best favorably situated. In 1930 crop yields in Mary­
record in the country in number of insolvencies in land, Virginia and W est Virginia were cut dras­
comparison with the number reported in August tically by the drought, but the Carolinas were not
1930, and the liability record was also not unsatis­ seriously affected by it. This year all sections of
factory, although it compared quite unfavorably the district have fine crops, but prices are on the
with liabilities in August last year, when very low whole even lower than they were last year. Cotton
totals were reported. The employment situation prices are the lowest since before the World War,
in the Fifth district is quite bad, and shows no signs and cotton is of paramount importance in the two
of early improvement, but indications are that it Carolinas. Tobacco prices are also low in com­
is better than in some other sections of the country. parison with most other post-war years, but are
Coal production in August showed a seasonal in­ much better than cotton prices. The best feature
crease over July production, but was less than pro­ of the agricultural situation is the increase in
duction in August 1930. In the two latest months acreage planted to food and feed crops, which tends
for which figures are available, June and July, to make the farmers less dependent upon their cash
W est Virginia took the lead in bituminous coal crops and reduces the credit they need for their
production. The textile situation in the Fifth dis­ operations.

S




MONTHLY REVIEW

2

Reserve Bank Statement
000 omitted
Sept. 15 Aug. 15 Sept. 15
1930
1931
1931
$19,473
$23,032 $19,008
Rediscounts held---------------10,279
4,010
2,628
Open market paper...................
31,558
16,983
31,558
Government securities---------60
0
700
Other earning assets................
54,636
46,735
57,918
Total earning assets---------68,782
64,526
72,910
Circulation of Fed. Res. notes.
60,132
63,582
60,017
Members’ reserve deposits---91,282
91,037
91,596
Cash reserves..........................
65.13
70.80
64.88
Reserve ratio..........................
ITEMS

During the month between August 15 and Sep­
tember 15, rediscounts for member banks held by
the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond usually
show some increase, borrowing by merchants to
discount bills for early fall merchandise somewhat
exceeding liquidation of agricultural paper. In
keeping with this seasonal influence, rediscounts
held by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose
by $4,024,000 between August 15 and September 15
this year, and this rise brought about an increase in
total earning assets amounting to $3,282,000, al­
though there was a decline in the Bank’s holdings
of open market paper amounting to $1,382,000 dur­
ing the past month. The period under review w it­
nessed a seasonal increase in the volume of Federal
reserve notes in actual circulation totaling $4,128,000, the rise being due to increased demand for
currency as a result of early crop marketing. Ag­
gregate reserve balances of member banks at the
reserve bank dropped slightly last month, probably
due to decreased deposits in member banks, but the
decline in reserves was not greater than a daily
fluctuation in balances. The changes mentioned in
the reserve bank’s statement practically offset each
other during the month, and there were only minor
changes in the Bank’s cash reserves and ratio of
reserves to note and deposit liabilities combined.
In comparison with condition figures reported a
year ago, September 15, 1930, the figures for Sep­
tember 15, 1931, show relatively unimportant
changes in nearly all items. The volume of redis­
counts for member banks held by the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond rose by $3,559,000 during
the year, and Government securities held increased
by $14,575,000, but there was a decline of $7,651,000
in the portfolio of open m arket paper. These
changes resulted in a net increase of $11,183,000 in
total earning assets held on September 15 this year
in comparison with those held on September 15,
1930. The circulation of Federal reserve notes out­
standing on September 15, 1931, was $8,384,000
greater than the amount outstanding a year earlier,
and there is some evidence that at least a part of
this increase is due to conversion of bank deposits
into cash by some commercial bank customers.
Member bank reserve deposits at the Federal Re­
serve Bank of Richmond were $3,565,000 lower on
September 15 this year than at the same time last
year, the decrease being due partly to lower de­




posits in member banks and partly to a reduction
in the number of member banks during the year.
The several changes in the statement already men­
tioned, with others of less importance, resulted in
an increase of $314,000 in the Bank’s actual cash
reserve during the year, but the radio of reserves
to note and deposit liabilities combined declined
5.92 points.

Member Bank Statement
ITEMS
Loans on stocks and bonds (in­
cluding Governments) ...........
All other loans............................
Total loans and discounts---Investments in stocks and bond’
s
Reserve bal. with F. R. Bank....
Cash in vaults...........................
Demand deposits.........................
Time deposits..............................
Borrowed from F. R. Bank____

000 omitted
Sept. 16 Aug. 12 Sept. 17
1931
1930
1931
$157,408 $158,700
247,706 248,448
405,114 407,148
233,384 227,548
41,063
39,371
12,781
14,552
328,098 333,702
259,630 263,281
3,368
8,358

$179,297
287,315
466,612
192,854
41,020
10,692
347,892
256,080
4,124

The figures in the accompanying table show the
principal items of condition reported by all member
banks in thirteen of the largest cities in the Fifth
reserve district on three dates, September 16 and
August 12, 1931, and September 17, 1930, thus af­
fording opportunity for comparison of the latest
available figures with those of the preceding month
this year and the corresponding month last year.
The number of reporting banks was larger on the
1930 date, but the decrease is due to consolidations
between reporting banks and the figures for the
three dates are therefore comparable.
During the month between August 12 and Sep­
tember 16 this year, the reporting banks slightly
reduced their loans, by $2,034,000, but at the same
time their investments in bonds and other securi­
ties rose by $5,836,000. Aggregate reserve bal­
ances of the fifty-one banks at the reserve bank
declined $1,692,000 between August 12 and Septem­
ber 16, partly due to decreases in both demand and
time deposits, against which reserves are carried.
Demand deposits dropped $5,604,000 during the
period under review, and time deposits declined
$3,651,000, a total deposit decline of $9,255,000. Cash
in vaults rose between the middle of August and
the middle of September by $1,771,000. The several
changes in the statem ent previously enumerated
caused the reporting banks to increase their use of
reserve bank credit, and their rediscounts at the
Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond rose by $4,990,000 between August 12 and September 16.
In comparison with condition figures for Septem­
ber 17, 1930, those for September 16, 1931, show a
decline in total loans during the year amounting to
$61,498,000, of which $21,889,000 was in loans on
stocks and bonds and $39,609,000 was in all other
loans. P art of the funds released by the reduction
in loans was invested in stocks and bonds, and this
item rose by $40,530,000 during the year. Demand

MONTHLY REVIEW
deposits declined $19,794,000 between September
17, 1930, and September 16, 1931, but time deposits
rose by $3,550,000 during the same period. Lower
deposits this year naturally resulted in lower re­
serve balances carried by the reporting banks at
the reserve bank, this item declining $1,649,000
during the year. Cash in vaults at the middle of
September this year exceeded cash in vaults a year
ago by $3,860,000, larger cash holdings having been
adopted by many banks this year as a precaution­
ary measure. On September 16 this year, 17 of the
reporting banks were borrowing a total of $8,358,000 from the Federal reserve bank, an increase of
$4,234,000 over aggregate borrowings by 13 of the
fifty-six banks which are included in the figures for
September 17, 1930.

Debits to Individual Accounts
CITIES

000 omitted
Total debits, four weeks ended
Sept. 10,
Aug. 12,
Sept. 9,
1931
1930
1931

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.~

$ 9,644
297,256
14,141
29,172
33,853
14,822
6,765
4,833
22,839
13,049
10,730
6,708
12>377
13,585
9,192
36,922
3,389
.14,508
102,837
20,831
7,500
177,236
8,811
23,708

$ 10,182
373,602
18,590
30,885
34,588
16,009
7,078
5,907
19,411
14,769
11,958
6,796
12,995
11,961
9,777
{42,326
3,770
21,941
401,393
22,480
7,006
189,371
8,291
26,312

$ 18,104
345,025
19,209
34,742
36,383
16,250
8,479
6,353
24,388
15,810
14,872
8,217
17,600
14,525
9,533
43,968
4,618
14,160
119,423
25,416
7,719
182,616
10,776!
26,548

District Totals____

$894,708

$1,007,398

$1,024,734

The debits to individual accounts figures shown
in the table for three equal periods of four weeks
include all checks drawn against depositors’ ac­
counts in the banks of twenty-four leading trade
centers of the Fifth Federal reserve district.
Figures for the four weeks ended September 9,
1931, are included, and for comparison the cor­
responding figures for the preceding four weeks
this year, ended August 12, 1931, and the same
four weeks last year, ended September 10, 1930,
are also listed. These figures serve as an approxi­
mate measure of general business, if proper allow­
ance be made for price changes between the periods
under review.
There was an average decline in debits during
the past four weeks amounting to 11.2 per cent in
comparison with the figures for the preceding four




3

weeks. The period ended September 9 this year
showed the lowest total for any four weeks in
many years, falling below a billion dollars as the
total for the first time. Only five of the twentyfour cities reported higher figures for the more
recent period, although usually about half of the
cities show some increase in debits at this season
of the year, when crop marketing gets under way
and some early fall trade begins. The five cities
which reported higher figures for the past month
were Durham, Lynchburg, Richmond, Spartanburg
and Wilmington.
Debits in every one of the twenty-four reporting
cities except Raleigh were lower during the four
weeks ended September 9, 1931, than during the
like period a year ago, the average decline being
12.7 per cent. This decline can be attributed in part
to the lower prices prevailing in many lines this
year.

Savings and lim e Deposits
Twelve mutual savings banks in Baltimore re­
ported an increase in deposits during August, al­
though in most years there is a slight decline in
savings in that month. At the close of business
August 31, 1931, these twelve institutions had de­
posits aggregating $210,116,559, compared with
$209,935,480 on July 31, 4931, an increase of $181,079. The August 31, 1931, figure was $14,451,792
higher than the aggregate of $195,664,767 on de­
posit at the end of August last year. Among the
member banks, fifty-one regularly reporting banks
had time deposits aggregating $259,630,000 on Sep­
tember 16, 1931, a lower figure than $263,281,000
reported on August 12 this year but higher than
$256,080,000 reported by the same banks on Sep­
tember 17, 1930.

Commercial Failures
According to figures compiled by Dun's Review,
there were 64 business failures in the Fifth Federal
reserve district in August 1931, with liabilities total­
ing $2,595,092, compared with 119 failures and
liabilities totaling $1,187,400 in August 1930. Fail­
ures in the United States numbered 1,944 last
month, with aggregate liabilities amounting to
$53,025,132, compared with 1,913 failures and $49,180,653 liabilities in August last year. The Fifth
district record last month in the number of failures
showed the greatest percentage decline in com­
parison with the same month last year of all
Federal reserve districts, but in aggregate liabilities
involved the Fifth district compared quite unfavor­
ably with most of the other districts. However,
this was partly due to unusually low liabilities in
August ,1930 rather than to exceptionally high
figures this year. In fact, the August 1931 liabili­
ties in the Fifth district were exceeded by August
liabilities in 1924, 1923 and 1921, and were only 11
per cent above average August liabilities in the
past ten years.

4

MONTHLY REVIEW

Employment
Employment conditions in the Fifth district show
no tendencies to clear up, but on the contrary ap­
pear to be slowly growing worse, a not unnatural
development with the finishing up of summer un­
dertakings and the approach of cold weather. It
is confidently expected th at persons unable to find
employment will be more numerous during the com­
ing winter than last winter, and that they will need
more help from public and private agencies this
year. A number of committees have been ap­
pointed by state, city and county authorities and
charged with more or less responsibility in the m at­
ter of relieving any distress which may develop­
ment, but on the whole plans are rather nebulous
and the problem of financing the relief work is giv­
ing much concern.

Coal Production
Bituminous coal produced in the United States
in August totaled 30,534,000 net tons, a seasonal
increase over 29,790,000 tons mined in July this
year but less than 35,661,000 tons brought to the
surface in August 1930. .Total production of
bituminous coal this calendar year to September 12
(approximately 216 working days) amounted to
263.044.000 net tons, a decrease of 16.8 per cent
under 316,342,000 tons mined in the corresponding
period last year. The August 29 report of the
Bureau of Mines, Department of Commerce, gave
coal production figures by states for the month of
July 1931. W est Virginia with 8,825,000 tons held
first place in production over Pennsylvania, which
mined 7,963,000 tons. Total production in the Fifth
district was 9,786,000 net tons, or 32.8 per cent of
National production for July, compared with 10,848.000 tons, or 31.2 per cent of National produc­
tion, mined in the Fifth district in July 1930.
In most retail yards summer prices still prevail
at practically the same levels of a year ago. In
Richmond retail coal prices for standard grades
were exactly the same during the past three sum­
mers. All retail yards are adequately stocked and
can make immediate deliveries on prepared sizes of
coal.

Textiles
Steadily declining cotton prices have tended
further to keep the volume of forward orders re­
ceived by Fifth district textile mills at a low level,
but nevertheless a considerable volume of hand-tomouth business is being done, and the district mills
consumed 197,404 bales of cotton in August 1931,
in comparison with only 156,712 bales consumed in
August last year, an increase of 26 per cent while
the National increase was only 21 per cent. Last
month North Carolina mills used 102,058 bales,
South Carolina mills used 86,642 bales, and Virginia
mills 8,704 bales. Fifth district consumption figures
in August 1931 were 46.36 per cent of National con­
sumption, compared with 44.44 per cent of National




consumption attained by the Fifth district in August
last year.

Cotton Statistics

Cotton prices paid on ten leading Southern spot
markets continued to decline between the middle
of August and the middle of September, dropping
to an average of 5.79 cents per pound on September
18, the latest date for which official figures are
available. This was the lowest average price re­
ported since the Federal Reserve Bank of Rich­
mond began tabulating spot cotton prices in 1920.
The September 18 price represents a decrease of
$22 a bale in comparison with the average price on
September 19, 1930, and is fully $60 a bale below
the price in September 1929.
Condition figures on the 1931 cotton crop, the sec­
ond report of the year, were issued by the Depart­
ment of Agriculture on September 8. This report
estimated probable production in 1931 at 15,685,000
bales, based on the September 1 condition of 68 per
cent of a normal on 40,889,000 acres remaining in
cultivation. The production estimate compares with
a forecast on August 1 of 15,584,000 bales and a
crop in 1930 of 13,932,000 bales. The September
report placed Virginia’s 1931 crop at 41,000 bales,
compared with 38,000 bales forecast on August 1
and final ginnings of 42,000 bales in 1930. North
Carolina’s probable production was given as 715,000
bales, compared with 713,000 bales forecast on
August 1, 1931, and 775,000 bales grown last year.
South Carolina’s September 1 estimate of 929,000
bales compares with the August 1 estimate of 835,000 bales and a 1930 crop of 1,001,000 bales. The
Department of Agriculture’s report raised the
figures for the Fifth district states to a total of
1,685,000 bales, an increase of 99,000 bales over the
August 1 forecast, but 133,000 bales below final
production in 1930. The decrease in 1931 production
in the Fifth district is entirely due to acreage re­
duction.
Ginning figures on this year’s crop, released by the
Census Bureau on September 8 and including gin­
nings to September 1, indicate that the crop is much
later than the 1930 crop, which, however, was un­
usually early in maturing. The crop this year had
favorable weather for continued growth and was
not opened prematurely by hot, dry weather. Gin­
nings this year prior to September 1 totaled 565,160
bales, compared with 1,879,919 bales ginned before
the correspoding date last year and 1,568,434 bales
ginned to September 1 in 1929.
Cotton consumption in the United States in August
1931 totaled 425,819 bales, compared with 450,518
bales used in July this year and 352,626 bales in
August 1930. Manufacturing establishments held
839,850 bales on August 31, compared with 994,979
bales held on July 31 and 1,014,818 bales on August
31, 1930. Public warehouses and compresses held
4,426,154 bales in storage at the end of August this
year, compared with 4,524,426 bales so held a month
earlier and 3,456,371 bales on August 31 last year.

MONTHLY REVIEW
August exports totaled 211,030 bales, compared
with 259,059 bales sent abroad in July 1931 and
366,036 bales exported in August 1930. Spindles
active at some time during August numbered 25,622,526, compared with 25,836,262 in July this year
and 25,814,188 in August 1930.
Cotton growing states consumed 341,542 bales in
August, compared with 353,611 bales used in July
and 284,035 bales in August 1930. Last month's
consumption in the cotton growing states amounted
tc 80.21 per cent of National consumption, a higher
percentage than 78.49 per cent in July this year but
below 80.55 per cent in August 1930. Of the 341,542 bales of cotton consumed in the cotton growing
states in August, the Fifth district mills used 197,404 bales, or 57.80 per cent, a higher percentage
than 55.17 per cent of Southern consumption at­
tained by Fifth district mills in August last year.

Tobacco
South Carolina auction tobacco markets opened
early in August, and during the month sold 24,473,743 pounds of growers’ tobacco for a total of $2,593,896, an average of $10.62 per hundred pounds.
The price was slightly higher than the average of
$9.65 per hundred pounds paid for 24,084,756 pounds
in August 1931, but in both years farmers held much
tobacco off the auction floors because of dissatisfac­
tion with the prices paid. The m arket at Mullins
led in sales last month with 7,761,494 pounds, Lake
City ranking second with 4,663,473 pounds and Timmonsville third with 4,110,119 pounds. On a basis
of the September 1 condition, the South Carolina
tobacco crop for this year is estimated to be 76,300,000 pounds, a reduction from the August 1 forecast
of 81,750,000 pounds and much below the 1930
record production of 96,250,000 pounds. This year’s
production is slightly higher than the five-year
average of 73,843,000 pounds.
North Carolina tobacco warehouse sales to Septem­
ber 1, 1931, show 19,885,161 pounds of producers’
sales, at an average of $12.44 per hundred pounds,
only the seven markets on the border which are
included in the South Carolina belt being open in
August. In August 1930, the same markets sold
18,486,642 pounds for an average of $10.98 per hun­
dred. While the grades offered last month were
reported as poor, the average quality is slightly
better than last year. During August the North
Carolina tobacco crop suffered considerable damage
from too much rain, and the forecast of production
was reduced from 517,560,000 pounds on August 1
to 502,265,000 pounds on September 1. The crop in
1930 totaled 584,000,000 pounds, a record for the
State, and the five-year average is 450,863,000
pounds.
Virginia markets were not open in August. To­
bacco improved during the first three weeks of
August, but excessive rains during the latter part
caused considerable damage, so the September
forecast of 117,815,000 pounds is only 1 per cent
above the August report. Flue-cured production




5

is expected to be 69,080,000 pounds, which is prac­
tically the same as the August forecast, but is less
than the 1930 crop of 75,316,000 pounds. The yield
per acre will be considerably heavier than last year,
but the acreage is much smaller. Although there
was considerable damage to this type bn account of
heavy rains in August, the quality is expected to be
much better than the poor crop of last year. Firecured tobacco improved during the month as the
rainfall was not as heavy in this section as in the
flue-cured section. The growth is generally large
and the quality is expected to be better than last
year. The forecast of production is 34,116,000
pounds, compared with 23,330,000 pounds last year.
The sun-cured type also showed improvement dur­
ing August and the production is estimated to be
4.819.000 pounds, compared with 3,380,000 pounds
harvested last year. The burley crop is still poor.
Although the acreage was increased, the production
forecast of 9,800,000 pounds is practically the same
as the 1930 crop.

Agricultural Notes
Cotton and tobacco crops are smaller than in 1930
in the Fifth district because of reduced acreage, but
all other major crops show larger yields this year.
Most of the increases in production are in M ary­
land, Virginia and W est Virginia, due to very poor
yields last year because of the severe drought.
Maryland crops suffered somewhat during the
first part of August from dry weather, but heavy
rains during the latter part of the month overcame
the lack of moisture and brought crops out m a­
terially. Corn prospects declined slightly during
August, chiefly because of a storm on August 22
which blew down much of the crop in the eastern
section of the State. However, the storm damage
serves chiefly to make harvesting more difficult,
and a good crop of corn is in prospect. Production
of 20,400,000 bushels is forecast, compared with
only 7,276,000 bushels harvested in 1930. The oats
crop is estimated at 2,112,000 bushels, which is
slightly lower than the August 1 forecast, but is
larger by about 400,000 bushels than the 1930 yield.
The late crop of Irish potatoes got off to a poor
start, and suffered from dry weather early in
March. Stands are spotted in many sections. P ro­
duction of Irish potatoes is now forecast at 3,360,000
bushels, compared with 2,427,000 bushels harvested
last year. A very good crop of sweet potatoes is in
prospect and a yield of 1,776,000 bushels is forecast,
nearly three times the 1930 yield of 660,000 bushels.
Maryland expects to grow 34,000,000 pounds of to­
bacco this year, which will be the largest crop on
record for the State. A hay crop of approximately
508.000 tons is expected, compared with 344,000
tons cured last year, and the heavy rains in August
brought pastures up to a very high condition.
Virginia crops improved during August as a re­
sult of favorable weather conditions, and the soil
was in excellent condition for fall plowing. This
year there will be an abundance of food and feed

6

MONTHLY REVIEW

crops throughout the State, and farm income should
be greater than last year, but prices for most agri­
cultural products are so low that total income re­
ceived by the farmers will be below the five-year
average. The corn crop of Virginia is one of the
best ever grown in the State, and is forecast at
45.518.000 bushels, compared with 17,227,000 bushels
harvested last year. The oats crop turned out un­
usually well this season and a yield of 4,959,000
bushels is expected, compared with 2,831,000 bushels
in 1930. An Irish potato crop of 14,756,000 bushels
compares favorably with 13,989,000 bushels dug in
1930, but is below the forecast issued on August 1.
Shipments of early potatoes totaled 18,309 cars,
compared with 21,319 cars shipped of the 1930 crop.
Although the sweet potato crop of 5,130,000 bushels
is much larger than the 1930 crop of 2,960,000
bushels, this year’s yield is considerably below the
five-year average. Peanut vines made heavy
growth during August but the yield of nuts is not
expected to be in keeping with the vines, as wet
weather usually reduces the number of nuts per
vine. Total production of peanuts is forecast at
120.930.000 pounds, compared with 83,790,000
pounds last year. Hay production totaling 976,000
tons will be nearly twice the 1930 yield of 512,000
tons, but this year’s crop is slightly below the fiveyear average, due to reduced acreage. The rains
of August improved pastures materially, and a
heavy growth of grass throughout the State assures
excellent fall grazing. The commercial apple pro­
duction of Virginia is forecast at 4,200,000 barrels
this year, compared with 1,300,000 barrels gathered
in 1930 and a five-year average of 2,718,000 bar­
rels. The size of the apples is generally above
average, and the quality is generally quite good,
with some sections ranking as excellent. Prices
are so low for the poorer grades of apples that it
is probable most of them will be sold in bulk to
save expense of packing.
West Virginia crops generally improved during
August, and on September 1 higher condition
figures were reported than on August 1 for corn,
apples, tobacco, cowpeas, sorghum for syrup, and
pastures. Oats, potatoes and sweet potatoes failed
to hold their own during August. Corn prospects
indicate a yield of 15,624,000 bushels this year, com­
pared with 5,772,000 bushels harvested in 1930. The
present high condition of oats indicates a crop of
4.004.000 bushels, compared with the 1930 yield of
2.972.000 bushels. The Irish potato crop declined
during the month of August, but the forecast of
3.549.000 bushels is above 2,800,000 bushels har­
vested in 1930. The sweet potato crop of 210,000
bushels is larger than 150,000 bushels dug last
year, but is not up to the five-year average of 254,000 bushels. W est Virginia tobacco improved dis­
tinctly during August and a crop of 6,083,000 pounds
is now expected, compared with 5,040,000 pounds
harvested in 1930. Hay production of 890,000 tons
is predicted this year, compared with only 446,000
tons last year. General rains and warm weather




in August improved pastures and the September 1
condition of 86 per cent compares with 33 per cent
last year, when W est Virginia pastures were the
poorest in the United States. A commercial apple
crop of 1,877,000 barrels is expected to move into
commercial channels this year, compared with 680,000 barrels in 1930 and a five-year average of 1,334,000 barrels. Apples are plentiful in all sections of
the State and are sizing up well with good color.
North Carolina has one of the best corn crops in
many years, the forecast of 59,198,000 bushels ex­
ceeding 51,865,000 bushels harvested in 1930 and
the five-year average of 48,754,000 bushels. The
oats crop of 8,181,000 bushels is also above either
6.521.000 bushels threshed in 1930 or 5,570,000
bushels the five-year average production. A peanut
crop of 255,360,000 pounds is forecast on the basis
of the September 1 condition, compared with 191,700.000 pounds in 1930 and a five-year average of
207.819.000 pounds. The acreage in peanuts in
North Carolina was greatly increased this year.
The hay crop is forecast at 990,000 tons, compared
with 748,000 tons in 1930, and pastures on Septem­
ber 1 showed an average condition of 89 per cent,
compared with only 58 per cent a year earlier. Both
the Irish and sweet potato crops in North Carolina
are larger this year than last year, Irish potatoes
being forecast at 10,544,000 bushels and sweet pota­
toes at 11,845,000 bushels. Prospects for apples im­
proved slightly during August, and a commercial
yield of 277,000 barrels is forecast on September 1,
compared with only 100,000 barrels last year and a
five-year average of 199,000 barrels.
South Carolina crop prospects on September 1
averaged 3 per cent better than a year ago and 21
per cent above the average September 1 condition
for the past ten years. The State is making fine
crops for the third successive year, and much a t ­
tention is being given to food and feed crops.
Grain crops harvested in June were excellent and
this year’s corn crop is the best for seven years.
A corn crop of 27,093,000 bushels is forecast, com­
pared with 25,806,000 bushels harvested in 1930.
This year’s sweet potato crop of 4,510,000 bushels is
less than 5,200,000 bushels dug in 1930. A hay crop
of 190,000 tons compares with 171,000 tons cured
last year, and this year’s yield of sorghum syrup
totaling 600,000 gallons compared with 455,000 gal­
lons last year. Present prospects are for a yield of
peanuts totaling 9,800,000 pounds, compared with
8.400.000 pounds gathered in 1930. The 1931 wheat
crop yielded 720,000 bushels, and the crop of 1930
threshed out 474,000 bushels. This year’s crop of
oats totaled 10,935,000 bushels and the 1930 yield
was 9,016,000 bushels. Tree fruits were abundant in
South Carolina this year, the peach crop being the
largest ever made in the State. Farm ers canned a
great deal of fruit this season.

MONTHLY REVIEW

Building Permits Issued, Fifth District Cities,
August 1931 and 1930
CITIES

Permits Iss’d
1931

Baltimore, Md.______ 1,034
Cumberland, Md'.____
6
Frederick, Md..............
3
Hagerstown, Md_____
16
Salisbury, Md______
15
Danville, Va...............
12
Lynchburg, Va...........
32
Norfolk, Va___ _____ 119
Petersburg, Va______
7
Portsmouth, Va..........
41
Richmond, Va............. . 112
Roanoke, Va...............
51
Bluefield, W. Va____
9
Charleston, W. Va
24
Clarksburg, W. Va
19
Huntington, W. Va,
126
Asheville, N. C ____
29
Charlotte, N. C_____ j 50
Durham, N. C.............
17
Greensboro, N. C
.. 39
High Point, N. C.___
23
Raleigh, N. C______
20
Rocky Mount, N. C
4
Salisbury, N. C..........
9
Wilmington, N. C.......
17
Winston-Salem, N. C...
66
Charleston, S. C.___
48
Columbia, S. C............
52
Greenville, S. C ..........
27
Rock Hill, S. C............
13
Spartanburg, S. C,
19
Washington, D. C....... 1,330
Totals ............... ..... 3,289

1930

Total Valuation
1930
1931

1,415 $ 886,320
11,600
24
485
9
20,220
13
14,650
22
7,380
15
43,925
44
237,753
113
6,500
13
30,284
41
460,847
134
142,035
44
8,468
7
42,592
36
33
26,525
28
16,200
34
45,710
121,452
89
23
32,325
42
38,296
11
71,940
24
113,725
19
3,400
8
25,335
19 150,700
110
22,860
28
33,515
49
58,977
25
36,805
22
6,975
18,625
31
501 3,375,650
3,026 $6,102,074

$2,350,640
34,669
5,880
11,070
44,225
19,905
48,977
420,400
21,196
19,292
802,268
77,535
21,300
08,218
22,005
44,550
22,315
172,249
81,813
46,220
13,050
46,696
47,410
120,025
24,700
107,475
68,540
93,835
20,058
127,925
18,650
2,396,620
$7,349,711

Building permits issued in thirty-two cities of the
Fifth Federal reserve district were more numerous
in August than in August 1930, but most of them
were for minor operations and the total estimated
valuation of the work provided for was less than
last year. Permits issued last month for all classes
of work totaled 3,289, compared with 3,026 permits
issued in August last year, an increase of 8.7 per
cent, but last month’s valuation of $6,102,074 was
17 per cent less than the August 1930 valuation of
$7,349,711. Ten of the thirty-tw o reporting cities
showed higher valuation figures for the 1931 month,
but only two of them, Washington, D. C., and Wil­
mington, N. C., reported figures in line with their
population figures.
Contracts awarded in August for construction work
in the Fifth district, including both rural and urban
projects, totaled only $12,548,985, compared with
$23,676,552 awarded in August 1930, according to
figures collected by the F. W. Dodge Corporation.
Of the awards in August this year, $4,195,990, or
33.4 per cent, was for residential work, while last
year residential contracts totaled $4,249,542, or only
17.9 per cent of all awards.

Retail Trade, 34 Department Stores
Department store sales in the Fifth Federal re­
serve district in August compared favorably with




7

Richmond Baltimore Washington Other Cit. District
August 1931 sales, compared with sales in August 1930:
—12.3
— 8.1
— 6.6
—11.4
— 8.4
Total sales Jan.-Aug. 1931, compared with Jan.-Aug. 1930:
— 5.6
— 4.9
+ 12
—12.3
— 3.5
Aug. 31, 1931, stocks, compared with stocks on Aug. 31, 1930:
—14.3
— 8.2 i — 8.3
—15.4
— 9.9
Aug. 31, 1931, stocks, compared with stocks on July 31, 1931:
+ 4.2
+ 2.6
+ 1.4
+ 1.1
+ 2.1
Number of times stock was turned in August 1931:
.259
259
269
212
256
Number of times stock was turned since January 1, 1931:
2.474
2.445
2.566
1.755
2.403
Percentage of Aug. 1, 1931, receivables collected in August:
26.6
21.5
28.0
23.9
24.4

July sales, but averaged 8.4 per cent less than sales
in August 1930, according to reports from thirtyfour leading stores in thirteen cities of the district.
Total sales this year, through August 31, were 3.5
per cent less than sales from January 1 through
August a year ago.
Stocks on the shelves of the reporting stores in ­
creased 2.1 per cent during August, but on August
31 stocks averaged 9.9 per cent less in retail selling
value than stocks on hand on August 31, 1930. The
increase in stock in August was seasonal, and was
caused by the receipts of early fall merchandise.
The reporting stores turned their stocks .256 times
in August, and since January 1 stocks have been
turned an average of 2.403 times, a higher figure
than 2.125 times for the corresponding eight months
last year.
Collections during August in 32 of the 34 report­
ing stores averaged 24.4 per cent of receivables out­
standing on August 1, a higher figure than 23.6 per
cent collected in August a year ago. Collections
last month were seasonally slower than in July of
this year.

Wholesale Trade, 64 Firms
23

9

Groceries Dry Goods

6

Shoes

14

Hardware

12

Drugs

August 1931 sales, compared with sales in August 1930:
—19.2
i —23.0
— 3.4
—11.3
— 5.5
August 1931 sales, compared with sales in July 1931:
— 5.2
' +24.5
+49.4
+ 6.0
— 5.3
Jan.-Aug. 1931 sales, compared with sales in Jan.-Aug. 1930:
—>17,1
—22.8
— 5.9
—25.1
; — 5.9
August 31, 1931, stocks, compared with August 31, 1930, stocks:
— 2.0(8*) —29.4(4*) —23.1(5*) —12.7(7*) ______
August 31, 1931, stocks, compared with July 31, 1931, stocks:
+ 3.2(8*)
.9(4*) — 4.3(5*) +2.5(7*) ______
Percentage of Aug. 1, 1931, receivables collected in August:
58.4(14*) 31.4(6*)
23.2(6*)
28.3(11*) 52.4(8*)

Sixty-four wholesalers and jobbers in five lines
reported on their August business. There was
some seasonal increase in sales last month, in­
creases in comparison with July sales being re­
ported in dry goods, shoes and hardware, but
grocery and drug sales declined about 5 per cent
last month. In comparison with August 1930 sales,
sales last month were lower in dollar amounts in

MONTHLY REVIEW

8

every line, the decreases ranging from 3.4 per cent
for shoes to 23.0 per cent for dry goods. Total
sales from January 1 through August this year were
lower in every line than sales during the cor­
responding eight months of 1930, the declines rang­
ing from 5.9 per cent for both shoes and drugs to
25.1 per cent for hardware.
Stocks of groceries and drugs increased slightly
during August, while dry goods stocks remained
practically the same and shoe stocks declined. On

August 31 stocks in all four lines for which figures
are available were lower than on August 31, 1930,
but the decline in groceries was slight.
Collections in shoes and hardware were some­
what better in August this year than in August
1930, but the other three lines showed smaller per­
centages of outstanding receivables which were col­
lected during the month.
(Compiled September 21, 1931)

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

Volume of industrial production and factory employ­
m ent, which usually increases a t this season, showed
little change from July to August, and the Board’s
seasonally adjusted indexes consequently declined. The
general level of wholesale prices rem ained in August
a t about the same level as in the two preceding months,
but declined somewhat in the first three weeks of
September.

D is tr ib u tio n

P r o d u c tio n a n d E m p lo y m e n t

The general level of wholesale prices increased from
70.0 per cent of the 1926 average in June and July to
70.2 per cent in August, according to the Bureau of
Labor Statistics, reflecting increases in the prices of
livestock, m eats, dairy products, and petroleum , offset
in large p art by decreases in the prices of grain, cot­
ton, and cotton textiles. During the first three weeks
of September, prices of livestock, m eats, hides, and cot­
ton declined, while prices of dairy products continued
to increase.

Industrial production, as m easured by the Board’s
seasonally adjusted index, declined from 83 per cent
of the 1923-1925 average in July to 80 per cent in
August, which compares with the previous low level
of 82 per cent fo r December, 1930. Output of steel,
which ordinarily increases in August, declined further
to 31 per cent of capacity, reflecting in p art curtail­
m ent in automobile production; lum ber output also
decreased, contrary to seasonal tendency.. A ctivity at
textile mills and shoe factories showed about the usual
seasonal changes, and production in these industries
continued to be in substantially larger volume than a
year ago. In the latter part of August, output of
crude petroleum decreased 30 per cent, the reduction
being in East Texas, following earlier curtailm ent in
Oklahoma fields; in the middle of Septem ber produc­
tion increased somewhat.
Volume of factory employment which usually increases
a t this season, showed little change from the middle
of July to the middle of August. The num ber em­
ployed in the clothing and shoe industries and in can­
ning factories increased, while employment a t steel
mills, automobile plants, foundries, and car building
shops declined.
Value of building contracts awarded, as reported by
the P. W. Dodge Corporation, continued to decline in
A ugust and fo r the first eight months of 1931 was 31
per cent less than in the corresponding period of 1930,
reflecting decreases of 18 per cent in contracts fo r
residential building, 30 per cent fo r public works and
utilities, 54 per cent fo r factories, and 56 per cent fo r
commercial building.
Departm ent of A griculture crop estim ates based on
September 1 conditions were about the same as esti­
m ates made a month earlier. High yields per acre and
large crops were indicated fo r cotton, w inter wheat
and tobacco, while crops of spring wheat and hay were
expected to be unusually small, chiefly on account of
dry w eather. The corn crop was estim ated a t 2,715,000,000 bushels, 600,000,000 bushels larger than last
year, but 50,000,000 bushels sm aller than the five-year
average.




Daily average freight-car loadings declined somewhat
in August, contrary to the seasonal movement, while
departm ent store sales increased, but by an am ount
slightly sm aller than is usual in August.

P ric e s

B a n k C r e d it
Volume of reserve bank credit, which had increased
by $240,000,000 during the month of August, increased
fu rth er by $70,000,000 in the first p art of September,
and in the week ending September 19, averaged $1,265,000,000. The demand fo r the additional reserve
bank credit arose chiefly from an increase of $295,000,000 in the volume of currency outstanding; there
were also fu rth er transfers to the reserve banks by
foreign correspondents of funds previously employed in
the acceptance m arket, offset in large p art by a growth
of $60,000,000 in the country’s stock of m onetary gold.
Following the suspension of the gold standard act by
G reat B ritain, more than $100,000,000 in gold was
added to the am ount held by the Federal reserve banks
under earm ark for foreign account and there was a
corresponding decrease in the country’s stock o f mone­
tary gold.
Loans and investm ents of reporting member banks
in leading cities, a fte r declining in July and the first
half of August, showed little change in the three-week
period ending Septem ber 9. There was a fu rth er de­
cline in loans on securities while the banks’ holdings
of investm ents increased somewhat. In the following
week, the banks added $227,000,000 to th eir holdings
of United States Government securities when an issue
of $800,000,000 of United States Government bonds
was brought out, while holdings of other securities were
reduced by $40,000,000. Loans on securities continued
to decline, and all other loans were also reduced, con­
trary to the usual seasonal tendency.
Money rates in the open m arket continued a t low
levels. On September 22 the rate on bankers’ accept­
ances advanced from % of 1 per cent to 1 per cent.
Yields on high-grade bonds increased during the last
half of August and the first p art of September.