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FE D E R A L R ESER VE B ANK O F ST. LO UIS.
MONTHLY REPORT ON
GENERAL, BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS
IN FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT No. 8
R E L E A S E D FOR P U B L IC A T IO N O N A N D A F T E R T H E A F T E R N O O N O F D E C E M B E R 2 6 , 1 9 1 9
W IL L IA M
C H A IR M A N

OF

THE

BOARD

MCC.
AND

M A R T IN ,
FEDERAL

RESERVE

AGENT

The resumption of soft coal mining operations has relieved the tension caused by the nation-wide strike
of the organized miners. W hile the shortage of coal and the measures to offset it necessitated certain tempo­
rary econom ic readjustments, the effects on business generally were less disturbing than had been antici­
pated. Some firms had sufficient stocks of coal on hand, some supplemented their use of coal with fuel oil,
and other were fortunately situated in parts of the District where natural gas is obtainable.
Labor difficulties are less noticeable within this District than they have been for several months past.
The strike appears to have cleared the atmosphere by emphasizing the fact, which has been increasingly
apparent to the more conservative and enlightened elements of capital and labor, that the interests of each
are bound up with the interests of all and that any breakdown in the production-consumption cycle will be
felt by all the community.
Iligh prices are exerting a restraining influence on buying. Stores which report increases in their sales
as compared with last year say, in many cases, that these increases are in the value of their transactions
rather than in the volume of merchandise sold.
A ccording to the Government’s estimate as of December 1st, the acreage of winter wheat planted in the
seven States in this District is approximately 35% less than last year. M oreover, the condition of the
wheat, due largely to the ravages of Hessian fly, is estimated to be from 3% to 22% below the condition
on December 1, 1918.
As a result of heavy rains in the southern part of the District much cotton still remains unpicked, hence
settlements with tenants have been postponed and normal spending has been deferred. The spot cotton
market is quiet— a not unusual condition at this season, when spinners are taking inventory of their stocks.
Collections continue to be good, though the extremely wet weather in the South and curtailment of* buy­
ing in mining districts have delayed payments somewhat.
A comparison of the statements of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis for November 14th and D e­
cember 12th shows a decrease of about $7,000,000 in discounts secured by war obligations and an increase
of about $10,000,000 in discounts otherwise secured.
There is a good demand for money, and deposits in the banks are increasing. Tim e and demand depos­
its show an aggregate increase since November 14th of approximately $12,000,000 for the 35 reporting banks
in this District.
M A N U F A C T U R IN G — A few plants, such as those manufacturing glass and clay products, were com ­
pelled to shut down on account of the fuel shortage. These are exceptional cases, however, and most factories
managed in one way or another to meet the difficulty. Restricted train schedules, which resulted in some
freight congestion, were perhaps the most serious element in the situation.
Manufacturers of boots and shoes say their business is steady. A s has been the case for the past several
months, they have larger orders on hand for future delivery than they have ever had before. The demand
is still strong for certain classes of goods, though many dealers are pretty well stocked up.
Clothing manufacturers say their orders are very large, some stating that the demand for futures ex­
ceeds normal. N ovem ber business was about on a par with that in October. Firms anticipate a good
business in 1920. There are still complaints of a shortage of skilled labor.
Due to building activity and to the accumulated demand resulting from curtailed production during the
coal strike, manufacturers of clay products say they have orders on hand to run them from sixty to ninety
days.
Manufacturers of electrical supplies say their business was in some cases as much as 100% beyond that
in Novem ber last year and 50% ahead of last month’s. There is an exceptionally good demand for all kinds
of electrical specialties. Production is hampered in a measure by inability to get raw materials.
Saw mills have been handicapped by a shortage o f logs, due to transportation difficulties, but now their
needs are being supplied in large measure.
W H O L E S A L E A N D JO B B IN G — The wholesale trade situation is considerably mixed. Some dealers
report large increases in the value of their sales as compared with N ovember last year, in some cases over
200% ; others engaged in the same line of business report decreases up to 33%. Orders on hand for
future delivery in most lines are reported to be larger than usual. The unfavorable wreather conditions in
parts o f the District, which have increased the stocks held by retailers, have naturally decreased the demand
from wholesalers. Business generally, however, is good and was not seriously affected by the coal strike.



Some wholesale dry goods houses report very large increases in the value o f their sales as compared
with last year, which is due in great measure to the desire on the part of buyers to avoid advancing prices.
One dealer in commenting on this situation sa y s: “ Our spring lines have been sold up and withdrawn from
sale. W e are offering certain lines of fall merchandise, such as blankets, underwear, hosiery, knit goods and
napped goods for delivery in the spring months and they are being taken freely. This shows the inclination
of the merchant to buy his merchandise ahead of time with a view of heading off any advance rather than
buying these goods when he actually needs them.” Another concern states that the prices that have been
made for fall are higher than those for spring.
W holesale drug houses generally report increases in value of their sales as compared with 1918. One
concern, however, reports a 10% decrease, due to the shortage of a certain product which forms a large part
of its business. N o basic changes in raw materials or in patented compounds are reported. Orders on hand
for future delivery are beyond normal in some cases.
Dealers in electrical supplies say their business is slightly less active than it has been. One concern
says the coal strike cut down its sales 25% .
Cotton factors complain of the exchange situation wrhich is unfavorable to exports. The high price o f
cotton is a favorable factor affecting them.
W holesale grocer companies for the most part report increases over October. During the coal strike,
however, buying was somewhat checked in mining towrns. Orders on hand for future delivery are still
below normal, one company reporting that it has none.
R E T A IL — Shorter store hours, part of the regulations to conserve coal, do not appear to have materially
interfered with retail purchases. H owever, in the rural districts, extremely wet weather, which caused bad
roads, has hampered buying. A s a result of this condition, stores catering to this class of trade have built up
their stocks considerably. O w ing to the realization on the part of the public that there was a strong demand
for merchandise, holiday buying began earlier than usual this season. Some firms say their November sales
increased over O ctober as much as 11%. Department stores report increases in their sales of from 25% to
30% over Novem ber last year, but this is largely accounted for by the higher prices. In most lines the
volume of sales is not materially larger than last year, in some it is less. In ready-to-wear clothing and in
some other lines buying is retarded by the high prices, but dealers believe that purchases will be made later
on when the needs become more pressing. They anticipate a good business in 1920.
A G R IC U L T U R E — A s was previously mentioned in this bulletin, the area sown to winter wheat has
been materially reduced from last year’s ow ing to the unfavorable weather which has interfered with seed­
ing. The acreage sown in 1919 and 1918, according to the Government’s Decem ber 1st estimate for the
several States in this District, and the condition o f the crop on December 1st, 1919 and 1918, are shown in
--- follow 0
the— _ .. ing ta ble:
Autumn
1919
(Preliminary)
Acres
............................................. 156,000
Arkansas.............................. ..
Illinois...................................................... ............................................ 2,404,000

Tennessee...............................................

Autumn
1918
(Revised)
Acres
346,000
3,434,000
2,882,000
1,057,000
38,000
4,300,000
822,000

T O T A L ................................................

12,879,000

.............................................

719,000

............................................ 2,580,000

Autumn 1919
Compared to
Autumn 1918
45%
70%
68%
68%
40%
60%
60%

Condition Dec. 1
1919 1918 Ten Year
Average
81% 99%
82% 100%
79% 101%
80% 98%
88% 91%
84% 103%
75% 94%

90%
91%
90%
90%
90%
90%
90%

The acreage for the seven States in this District has been reduced 4,552,000 from that of last year, or
about 35%. The condition of the wheat is much below last year and even below the ten-year average. The
poor condition is largely due to the ravages of Hessian fly, which is said to be worse this year in some parts
of the District than it has ever been.
Husking and cribbing of corn has been going on rapidly and many yields are better than had been ex­
pected. There has been considerable trouble in securing huskers, and in some sections they are being paid
as high as $7.50 a day with board and lodging. The movement of corn is slow. Farmers appear to be hold­
ing for better prices.
Heavy rains in the South have interfered with the picking of cotton and have lowered the quality o f
cotton still unpicked. In the higher sections of the District as much as 90% of the crop is already picked,
while in the valleys from two-thirds to three-fourths has been gathered. The Government’s estimate, as of
December 1st, places the yield of cotton in 1919 for the States of Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Ten­
nessee at 2,134,000 bales, which is 471,250 bales less than 1918 and 316,027 less than the 1913-1917 average.
The price per pound of lint cotton to producers December 1, 1919, was 35.7 cents, compared with the D e­
cember, 1918, price of 27.6 cents.
Although the yield o f tobacco is large, the quality is reported as variable. Prices are high.
B U IL D IN G — During November, permits issued for new buildings were considerably in excess of the
preceding month and much larger than for the corresponding month last yeari Comparative figures for
November are as follow s:
St. Louis............................... ............................................................................................................
Louisville.............................................................................................. ...........................................
Memphis................... ................ ........................................................................................................
Little Rock............................................................................................................................... ..




1919
Permits
Cost
590
$2,834,670
146
373,650
129
495,000
I ll
214,773

November
1918
Permits
Cost
265
$261,595
61
149,575
33
337,120
43
60,435

L IV E ST O C K — The report of the St. Louis National Stock Yards for November, 1919, shows increases
in all receipts and shipments as compared with the corresponding month last year. The comparative figures
are as follow s:
Cattle
November:
1919
191b
Receipts....................................... ........... 155,575
144,674
59,070
Shipments....................... .
40,703

Hogs
__________
Sheep
1919
1918
1919
1918
311,761
305,388
56,409
45,499
138,141
72,848
10,272
3,730

Horses and
1919
31,204
27,726

Mules
1918
24,819
24,242

W ith the exception o f a few scattered cases of disease, live stock is in good condition throughout this
District. It is expected that farmers will do considerable slaughtering this year.
R E C E IP T S A N D S H IP M E N T S O F IM P O R T A N T C O M M O D IT IE S A T ST. L O U IS as reported by
the M erchants’ E xch an ge:

NOVEM BER
________ Receipts_______________ ___________ Shipments_______
1919
1919
1918
1918
459,890
221,680
573,920
225,530
1,440,590
3,389,478
1,968,893
3,165,780
1,068,220
1,335,267
676,470
1,957,331
1,659,460
2,898,000
2,282,060
2,026,070
249,500
268,oO
O
191,240
188,520
629,140
354,300
367,810
617,840
4,813
12,316
7,677
10,006
23,164,600
5,271,300
27,606,000
5,587,000
24,200,700
2,098,200
29,608,200
3,005,900
2,256,900
194,000
8,962,500
3,029,900
2,616,300
7,896,200
3,888,500
2,733,600

Lumber, cars.

L A B O R — M ost of the soft coal miners in this District have returned to work and production is rapidly
returning to normal. Labor is well employed and at high wages. Many firms have paid bonuses to offset
the effect of the high cost of living on those \yhose salaries have not kept pace with prices. There does not
appear to be as much unrest as during the preceding months. There are no serious strikes in this District
at the present time. The outlook seems to augur well for the beginning of a new year.
B A N K IN G — There is still a good demand for money. Banks report that due to the fact that cotton is
m oving many cotton loans are being paid off. The coal strike did not make itself seriously felt in financial
circles in this District.
Rates in some instances are higher than in October. The high, low and customary interest rates pre­
vailing in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis and Little Rock, from November 16th to December 15th, as re­
ported by banks in those cities, were as fo llo w s ;
H.

St. Louis
L.
C.

H.

L.

Louisville
H*
L.
c . H.

Customers’ prime commercial paper:

L.
C.

5

Memphis Little Rock
H.
C. H*
C.
L.

6
6

5.
5

5y2
6

6
6

Si4
sy2

6
6

6
6
6

$l2
/

sy2

6
6

534

6
6

5*4

5

5H

5

5

5
5

4 y2 434
4H 4 U

5H

m

5“

6
6
6^2
6

5% 6
5*4 6
5U 6

sy2

5H

6

6
6
6
6

5/2

6
6
6
6

6
6
6
6

6

6

6

6

5r
/4

6

6

6

6

4 to 6 months.........................................
Prime commercial paper purchased in
open market:

4H

5*4

6

5

sy2

6

4H . 6

Bankers’ acceptances of 60 to 90 days:

5/2 .s y 2
6

Loans secured by prime stock exchange
collateral or other current collateral:

Commodity paper secured by warehouse
receipts, etc........................................................
Loans secured by Liberty Bonds and

5/2

5t4
/

6
6

6
6

6'/2
7

6

sy4

5y4

6

6

6**

6
6

6

7
?y2

6
6

6
6

5# 6
sy2 6
6
6
6
6

8
7y2
7y2
yy2

6
6
6
7

6

7'A

6y2

7

7

6

6^2

6

5

6
6

6“

6-7
7
7
7y2

Commercial paper dealers say their business was particularly good during the first tw o weeks of Decem­
ber, but that it is somewhat quieter now. The prevailing rate is 6% with a few choice offerings, at 5j4% .
The demand is mostly from country banks. City banks, which have not been heavy buyers, are purchasing
still less, since the call upon them for m oney to pay taxes.
IN N O V E M B E R the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted a total of $180,110,763.78 of paper
for 211 different member banks, which is a decrease of $40,175,255.93 from the amount of paper discounted
during O ctober and a decrease o f twelve in the number of banks accommodated.
On December 19, 1919, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis established the follow ing discount rates:
M EM BER BANKS’ COLLATERAL NOTES:

Secured by Certificates of Indebtedness................................... ....................
Secured by Liberty Loan Bonds or Victory N otes...................................
Secured by W ar Finance Corporation Bonds.............................................
Secured by Bills Receivable....................... .......................................................
R E D IS C O U N T S :
Secured by Certificates of Indebtedness........................................................
Secured by Liberty Loan Bonds or Victory N otes...................................
Secured by W ar Finance Corporation Bonds........................................... .
Commercial Paper..................... ............ . . .......................................................... ’
Agricultural or Livestock Paper........................................................................
Trade Acceptances*................................................................................................




15 days
and less

*

.

.
.
.
.
.
.

16 to 60
days

61 to 90
days

4 y2%
434%
5 34%
434%
434%
4y2%

4y2%
434%
5 34%
434%
4y4%
4y2%

91 days to
6 months

4*4%
4^%
534%
434%

4y2%

434%
5 34%

434%
434%
4y2%

5
^%

The condition of the banks in this District at the present time, and the changes during the past month,
are reflected in the follow ing comparative statement, showing* the principal resources and liabilities of mem­
ber banks in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis, Little R ock and E vansville:
Dec. 5, 1919

Nov. 7, 1919

35
$ 17,154,000
14,068,000
5,550,000
13,779,000

35
$ 17,154,000
14,935,000
7,105,000
19,097,000

50,551,000

58,291,000

30,644,000
151,300,000
303,613,000

28,187,000
144,605,000
293,983,000

Total loans and investments...... ........................,........................................ . ................................. 536,608,000

525,066,000

44,420,000
12,502,000
337,534,000
111,664,000
13,037,000

41,822,000
11,205,000
330,490,000
106,615,000
6,501,000

Number of Banks reporting.

Total United States securities owned.......... ...................... ................................................... ..

All other loans and

Cash in vauli
Net Demand
Time Deposi
Government

The volume of individual check transactions in this District during the past month is indicated by the
following comparative table, compiled from information received from the clearing houses in the cities
sh ow n :
Nov. 19
$168,099,000
38.625.000
53.091.000
11.734.000
5,526,000

Weeks ended— Nov. 12
St. Louis................................................................................................ $152,494,000
Louisville............................................................................ ....................
36,888,000
Memphis......................................... . . . . . ..............................................
39,505,000
Little Rock............................................................................................
10,008,000
Evansville...............................................................................................
5,745,000

Nov. 26
$152,713,000
28.432.000
44.478.000
10.406.000
4,409,000

Dec. 3
$145,924,000
40.477.000
40.709.000
11.381.000
4,415,000

St. Louis on December 13, 1919, as com statement:
R E SO U R C E S:

Nov. 14,1919
. $ 6,495,000
. 12,700,000

Dec. 13,1918

$

•$

2,970,000
16,340,000

2,249,000
26,328,000

19,195,000
6,870,000
75,135,000
4,737,000

19.310.000
6.623.000
74.195.000
5.971.000

28.577.000
233,000
52.983.000
3,306,000

105,937,000
4,844,000

106,099,000
3,367,000

85,099.000
2,632,000

Total Reserves................................................•..............................................................

110,781,000

109,466,000

87,731,000

.
.
.

43,055,000
21.192,000
28;581,000

36.126.000
31.270.000
31.971.000

54.494.000
23.991.000
6,926,000

.

92,828,000
1,153,000
17,076,000

99.367.000
1,153,000
17.138.000

85,411,000
1.153.000
5.568.000

. 111,057,000

117,658,000

92,132,000

691.000
69,108,000
531.000
247.000

691.000
68,236,000
576.000
290.000

42,ii2,666
268,000
1,480,000

292,415,000

296,917,000

223,723,000

4.038.000
2.589.000
2.158.000
68,575,000
54,926,000
3.944.000

4.060.000
2.589.000
5.676.000
67.280.000
53.137.000
3.855.000

3.798.000
7,663*000
56.432.000
30.098.000
2.496.000

129.603.000
138.282.000
16.256,000
1,647,000

129.948.000
142.710.000
15,692,000
1,918,000

96,689,000
115,110,000
5.217.000
2.909.000

T O T A L L I A B I L I T I E S ............................................................................................$292,415,000
$292,415,000

$296,917,000

$223,723,000

Gold with foreign agencies.
Gold with Federal Reserve
Gold Redemption Fund-----

.
.
.

Dec. 12,1919

Legal tender notes, silver, etc..................................................................................

Bills discounted— Secu
Bills discounted— All

U. S. Government Bonds.

.
Total earning assets.
Bank Premises....................................... . ........................ ..................
Uncollected items and other deductions from gross deposits.
5% Redemption Fund against F. R. Bank notes.........................
All other resources........................... .....................................................

.

T O T A L R E S O U R C E S ............................................................................................ .
L IA B IL IT IE S :
Government deposits........................... ..
Due to members— Reserve Account.
Other credits.

F. R. Bank Notes in actual circulationAll other liabilities....................... ................




.