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This monthly report on conditions is not to be released to the public until on and *after the morning of April 1918, so PLEASE HOLD IT CONFIDENTIAL UNTIL THE RELEASE BATH. William McC. Martin, Chairman of t h e Boapd.and Federal R e s e r v e Agent, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. REPORT ON CONDITIONS IN FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT NO. 8 FOR THE APRIL 1st ISSUE OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BULLETIN In general, business haa been active in tnis district during the past month, some lines reporting greater volume than last year. However, more conservatism is noted, and the production of non-ossentials is mora and more giving way to those things necessary for the prosecution of the war. The Continued mild weather has further improved the fuel and transportation situation, and this has greatly benefitted business. It has brought about a rather free movement of all kinds of commodities, wt)ich has helped both the producer and the dis tributor. The approach of spring is causing farmers to buy implements and other sup plies, and this has stimulated the country trade. Manufacturers of farm implements generally report a better business th^n at this period last year. The demand for tract ors is said to be unusually heavy. Wholesale millinery houses report a good trade for the coming spring. Dis tributors cf shoes and searing apparal state that the volume of orders for spring de livery surpasses that of last year. stocks to meet the requirenents. Many ara having difficulty in replenishing their Retail merchants alno report a good business. There seems to be a general demand for the better class of merchandise. Collections, as a rule, are reported to be satisfactory. A disturbing factor to business in this district has been the labor situa tion. There have been a number of strikes and threats to strike recently. The Government has intervened in several cases which affected the production of war articles,resulting 2 in settlements. . While the situation is improving, it is not as yet settled. The winter wheat is reported to be in good condition throughout the district, though rain is needed in sage quarters. Spring ploughing for oats, corn, etc.,is under way, and preparations for gardening have also begun. A great many in the cities are arranging for gardens, as well as those in the country, in order to help the food sup ply. A movement has been started in some of the"States in this district to get each* farmer to test his seed corn before pla.nti.3g, so as to injure a bumper corn crop, which is so much needed. The report of the St. Louis National Steck Yards fur February indicates an increase in the receipts of cattle, hcgs, horses and mules over the corresponding month last year, and a decrease in the receipts of sheep. It shows decreases in the sales of cattle and hogs, and increases in the sales of sheep, horses and mules, in comparison with February of last year. However,comparing the first two months of this year with the same period last year, the report showH decreases in both the receipts and sales of all live stock, excepting horses and mules, in which there have been substantial increases. The postal receipts for February in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis and Little Rock all show slight decreases from the previous Month, but substantial increases over February of last year, due no 3oubt in large measure to the increased postal rates. Reports for February from the leading in this district phew slight in creases in the auabsr of building permit r issued and the estimated cost of construction, as compared with the previous month, but anterial dec-eases in comparison with February a year ago. There is little building going o: - , this district except that which is r r absolutely necessary. The demand for moasy has cos tiuued st&ady during the past month, especially in the large centers. T&e bank rate to custscie'-s onntifjas at 6% in the centers, and slightly higher in the outlying districts. Very few of the backs in the large centers are ie the market for coMxercial paper, though there is a fair demand f^cm country bankn. 6% for all maturities. The rate is now practically Many cf the commercial paper brokers are now encouraging the issuance of paper maturing within three or four months. This is said to attract the banks more at this time, because it enables them to be more liquid and paper maturing within ninety days is immediately available for rediscount at the Federal Reserve Bank. The attention of bankers, brokers and others is now being directed to the Third Liberty Loan, which will be launched on April 6th,and preparations are well under way in this district to help make it a success.