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MONTHLY REVIEW Of Agricultural, Industrial, Trade and Financial Conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District Released for Publication On and After the Morning of February 28, 1930 R O L L A W E LLS , Chairman and Federal Reserve Agent FEDERAL RESERVE 4 S compared with the similar period immediately preceding, the past thirty days have been X -^ n ark ed by moderate improvement in com merce and industry in this district. In a large major ity of lines investigated, however, the volume of business transacted was measurably below that at the corresponding period last year or in 1928. The loss in volume extended to both the wholesale and retail sections of distribution, and was also noticea ble in most manufacturing lines. In retail trade and some wholesale classifications, the recession was ac counted for partly by the long spell of unfavorable weather. The temperature in January was consid erably below average, and for the district as a whole that month was the coldest since 1918. Precipitaiun was heavy, and during practically the entire month, ice and snow covered the ground through out the northern tiers of the district. Communica tions in the country were seriously interfered with by impassable roads in many sections, while in the urban centers prevailing weather conditions tended to discourage shopping. While inventories of merchandise are for the most part of moderate proportions, there is a gener al disposition among merchants to postpone replen ishing stocks until a more definite opinion can be formed of likely developments during the next few months. This is true particularly of retailers in the country, where uncertainty relative to spring farm ing programs has been emphasized by the recent decline in prices of cereals, cotton and some other farm products to the lowest levels of the season. Purchasing of commodities is confined very largely to an immediate requirement basis, and in turn manufacturers are making up only limited quanti ties of goods for which they have not actual orders on their books. This attitude of hesitancy is re flected in extremely conservative commitments for raw and semi-finished materials. Combined January sales of all wholesale lines investigated were 47.2 per cent larger than in De Icember, and 18.6 per cent below the January, 1929, total. The volume of retail trade, as reflected by C. M . STEW A RT, Assistant Federal Reserve Agent BANK OF ST. J. V I O N P A P IN , Statistician LOUIS sales of department stores located in the principal cities of the district, was 11.8 per cent smaller in January than a year ago. Withdrawals from check ing accounts in the chief cities in January were smaller by 2.7 per cent than in December, and 9.9 per cent less than in January, 1929. Most recent re ports indicate that special sales conducted by mer chants through the district for purpose of moving winter merchandise have met with less satisfactory response than during the past several seasons. Investigations by the Employment Service of the U. S. Department of Labor indicate that the em ployment situation as a whole in this district devel oped moderate improvement as contrasted with the closing weeks of last year and the first half of Jan uary. The number of idle workers, however, was larger than at the corresponding period a year ear lier. Resumption of activities at indusrtial plants, which were closed for inventory and repairs, has given employment to large numbers of skilled and common laborers. At numerous plants, however, operations were being conducted on part-time sched ules, and in a majority of industries there was a surplus of workers. There were unusually heavy releases of clerical help in retail stores and officers in the large cities. Decreases in building activity has reacted adversely on the volume of employment in the building trades and in manufacturies of build ing materials. Southern textile and lumber mill operations have not been at a sufficiently high rate to utilize the full supply of workers available. The long spell of extremely cold weather halted highway construction, river and levee improvements and city street and sewer work, resulting in heavy unemploy ment among workers engaged in these activities. Stimulated by weather conditions, the markets for bituminous coal maintained a high level of ac tivity. Demand from both industrial and domestic consumers was strong, and the trend of prices was higher, with the average well above that of the same time last year. The only weakness evident was in screenings, particularly the lower grades, and this was due to increased stocks resulting from the larger production of prepared sizes. While pur chasing was still on a hand-to-mouth basis as a rule, there was a disposition in some quarters to build up stock piles. The heavy movement during the last half of the month rapidly cleaned up the accumu lation of loaded cars at Illinois, Indiana, and west ern Kentucky mines. The augmented requirements for domestic sizes resulted in producers being be hind on orders in a number of instances. Buying by the railroads, public utilities and municipalities was in considerable volume, with reordering for needs presumably covered, representing a large part of the tonnage. For the country as a whole produc tion of bituminous coal for the present coal year to February 8, approximately 265 working days, totaled 449,510,000 tons, against 436,158,000 tons the year before and 407,456,000 tons in the coal year of 1927-1928. Freight traffic of railroads operating in this district showed considerable loss in volume as com pared with the corresponding periods a year ago and in 1928. Decreases in both comparisons was general through all classes of freight, and particu larly marked in the miscellaneous, merchandise and farm products categories. A relatively better show ing was made by coal and coke than the other clas sifications, the movement having been stimulated by cold weather. For the country as a whole, load ings of revenue freight for the first five weeks of the year, or to February 1, totaled 4,248,318 cars, against 4,518,609 cars for the corresponding period in 1929 and 4,375,157 cars in 1928. The St. Louis Terminal Railway Association, which handles inter changes for 28 connecting lines, interchanged 208,059 loads in January, against 187,464 loads in December and 240,596 loads in January, 1929. Dur ing the first nine days of February the interchange amounted to 62,703 loads, against 53,814 loads dur ing the corresponding period in January, and 81,306 loads during the first nine days of February, 1929. Passenger traffic of the reporting roads in January was about even with that of the same month a year ago. Estimated tonnage of the Federal Barge Line, between St. Louis and New Orleans, in January was 74,500 tons against 72,480 tons in December, and 131,916 tons in January, 1929. The decrease in the yearly comparison was due largely to the presence of heavy ice in the Mississippi River. Reports relative to collections during the past thirty days reflected considerable irregularity, with the average below that at the corresponding period last year. February first settlements with whole salers in the chief urban centers were generally be low expectations, and the number of requests for extensions was somewhat more numerous than has been the case in recent months. Boot and shoe interests, and hardware firms reported relatively better returns than some of the other principal lines. Retail collections in the country were reported slow, due partly to the inclement weather. City whole salers reported payments in smaller volume than at the same time in 1929. Slow collections are still complained of by building material interests, and some branches of the iron and steel industry. An swers to questionnaires addressed to representa tive interests in the several lines scattered through the district showed the following results: E xcellent January, 1930............. J .4 % December, 1929........... 1.4 January, 1929...............3.6 G ood 20.3% 24.3 ‘ 57.8 Fair 55.4% 61.4 33.8 P oor 22.9% 12.9 5.6 Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Re serve District during January, according to Dun’s, numbered 170, involving liabilities of $3,054,140, against 113 failures in December with liabilities of $4,935,058, and 1*71 defaults for a total of $3,052,720 in January, 1929. The average daily circulation in the United States in January, 1930, was $4,652,000,000 against $4,943,000,000 in December, 1929, and $4,748,000,000 in January, 1929. MANUFACTURING AND WHOLESALING 3 a a ', . d A / — "7 Q f o Y Automobiles — For the fifth successive month, distribution of automobiles in the Eighth Federal Reserve District decreased in January, according to reporting dealers, l'otal §ales, which were sharply below the January, 1929, aggregate represented the smallest volume for any single month in five years, with the exception of January and December, 1927. January is normally a month of light sales, and dur ing the past six years has invariably shown decreases under December. In the present instance, however the decline is somewhat larger than the average during the past half decade. Dealers attribute the larger than usual decrease partly to the extremely unfavorable weather conditions which obtained throughout the district during January. Another influence adversely affecting sales was the disposi tion on the part of prospective purchasers to await the automobile shows before making their selec tions. Decreases in both the month-to-month and yearly comparisons were spread generally through all classes of makes. Relatively the largest declines were noted among country dealers. Business in parts and accessories was also in smaller volume than a month and a year earlier. Demand for trucks was considerably less active than heretofore, partic ularly in the case of the heavier varieties. Require ments for heavy hauling were affected by the between-season period of construction operations. January sales of new passenger cars by 320 dealers scattered through the district were 21.9 per cent smaller than in December, and 27.7 per cent less than in January, 1929. Stocks of new cars in deal ers’ hands on February 1, were 9.2 per cent larger than on January 1, and 22.3 per cent larger than on February 1, 1929. No change took place in the used car market, dealers reporting considerable difficulty in affecting sales, even where material price con cessions are offered. Stocks of saleable second hand cars increased, the number in dealers' hands on February 1 being 12.3 per cent larger than on Janu ary 1, and 28.4 per cent greater than on February 1, 1929. The total value of used cars on February 1, was slightly smaller in both comparisons. January sales of parts and accessories by the dealers report ing were 11.3 per cent and 17.0 per cent smaller respectively, than thirty days and a year earlier. Deferred payment sales of dealers reporting on that detail in January constituted 55.0 per cent of their total sales, against 53.9 per cent in December and 56.2 per cent in January, 1929. Boots and Shoes — January sales of the five re porting interests were 140.8 per cent greater than for December, but 20.5 per cent smaller than in January, 1929. Stocks on February 1 were 12.8 per cent larger than on January 1, and 0.5 per cent larger than on February 1,1929. The increase in the monthto-month sales comparison is seasonal in character, but due to the unusually small volume of sales in December, the gain was considerably larger than the average during the past several years. Demand for overshoes during January was the best experi enced in a number of seasons, and clearance of this class of goods, both at wholesale and retail, above expectations. Purchasing for spring and early sum mer distribution is conservative, and retailers gen erally are backward about filling out stocks and assortments. No change in prices was noted as com pared with the preceding thirty days. Factory oper ations were at a lower rate than a year ago. Clothing — Sales of the reporting clotheirs in January were 101.4 per cent larger than in Decem ber, and 8.2 per cent smaller than in January, 1929. The gain in the month-to-month comparison was seasonal in character, and about the average amount during the past several years. Advance buying for late spring and summer is reported generally back ward, and below the volume at this time last year. The trend of prices was slightly lower. Drugs and Chemicals — Due to the extreme cold weather, sales of seasonal goods, notably reme dial drugs, alcohol and anti-freeze preparations, were in considerable volume. The increase in this general category, however, was more than offset by decreases in staple goods, and heavy chemicals used by manufacturers, with the result that January sales of the six reporting interests were 0.4 per cent smaller than in December, and 18.3 per cent smaller than in January, 1929. Stocks on February 1 were 0.7 per cent smaller than thirty days earlier, and 13.9 per cent larger than on February 1, 1929. Dry Goods — Business in this classification showed the usual seasonal betterment from January to February, but the January volume was sharply below that of the corresponding period a year ago. The decrease in sales under last year was ascribed to a number of causes, among them the unfavorable weather, price uncertainty and the decline in values of farm products, especially cotton. Prices of fin ished merchandise was lower, and while retail stocks are mainly small, there is hesitation about replenishing. January sales of the eight reporting interests were 34.7 per cent larger than in Decem ber, but 23.2 per cent smaller than for January, 1929. Stocks on February 1 were 2.3 per cent larger than thirty days earlier, and 9.2 per cent smaller than on February 1, 1929. Electrical Supplies — January sales of the five reporting interests were 27.4 per cent smaller than in December, and 6.9 per cent below the January, 1929, total. Stocks on February 1 were 13.7 per cent and 19.7 per cent larger, respectively, than thirty days and a year earlier. Losses in both sales com parisons were distributed generally through the entire line, but most pronounced in the building and radio material classifications. Flour — Production at the 12 leading mills of the district in January totaled 377,590 barrels, against 394,030 barrels in December and 399,051 barrels in January, 1929. Stocks of flour in St. Louis on February 1 were 2.8 per cent larger than on Jan uary 1, and 1.2 per cent smaller than on February 1, 1929. Flour buyers were disturbed by the sharp decline in wheat values, and business throughout the period was dull. Purchasing by the domestic trade was confined almost exclusively to immediate requirements, and export interest was at a low ebb. Due to the low prices of feeds, millers were unwill ing to materially reduce their prices on flour, with the result that dealers and the bakery interests re fused to cover on future requirements. Mill opera tion was at from 55 to 58 per cent of capacity. Furniture — January sales of the twelve report ing interests were 13.0 per cent smaller than in De cember and 2.4 per cent larger than in January, 1929. Stocks on hand on February 1 were 15.9 per cent larger than a month earlier, and 6.0 per cent smaller than on February 1, 1929. The trend in sales of household furniture and furnishings con tinued the decline of recent months. In the yearly comparisons the gain was due largely to the heavier sales of specialties, hotel and hospital equipment and metal furniture. Groceries — Inclement weather, which pre vented salesmen from completing their rounds, and a disposition to postpone commitments on the part of retailers, were influences in a decline of 2.8 per cent in sales of the 15 reporting firms in January as compared with the same month in 1929. The Janu ary total, however, was 2.5 per cent larger than that of December. Stocks on February 1 were 15.6 per cent and 47.0 per cent smaller, respectively, than thirty days and a year earlier. Hardware — January sales of the 11 reporting interests were 4.0 per cent larger than in December, and 7.7 per cent smaller than in January, 1929. Stocks on February 1 were 23.6 per cent larger than on January 1, and 14.3 per cent greater than on February 1, 1929. The increase reported in the month-to-month comparison was ascribed in large part to the heavy call for seasonal merchandise inci dent to the spell of cold weather accompanied by snow and ice. Advance business is reported in small er volume than at this time last year by a majority of the firms. Iron and Steel Products — Moderate improve ment from the low point of activity in December and early January was noted in this classification. The betterment centers chiefly in specifications on goods previously ordered, as new orders booked by mills, foundries and machine shops are still back ward, and measurably below the volume at the cor responding period a year ago. Important users of steel are disposed to postpone commitments, and the failure of the automobile industry to substantially increase operations has had an adverse effect on cold-rolled specialties and other commodities used largely in the manufacture of motor vehicles. Pur chasing of building materials continues to lag, which fact is partly due to the unusually cold weather which seriously interfered with outdoor work. Fabricators of structural iron and steel report a dearth of lettings, particularly of contracts calling for heavy tonnage. Reinforcing concrete bars were quiet, though in the immediate past betterment in demand for this material has developed. The move ment of sheets of all descriptions has been below the seasonal average of the past several years. Require ments of the general manufacturing trade are small er than heretofore, and large users of sheets are pur chasing only sufficient for immediate needs. The general run of wire and wire products, including nails, continued quiet. Ordering of fencing and woven wire products for spring consumption has been relatively light. Manufacturers of tin plate re port a pickup in ordering by the can industry, with advance sales about equal in volume to a year ago. Railroad equipment interests have increased their specifications on a variety of materials to apply on car orders recently released by the railroads. Some improvement is also noted in demand for track ac cessories and bridge materials. A number of stove foundries, which were idle during the first half of January, have resumed operations on part-time schedules, but report orders booked in January smaller than during the same month in 1929 or 1928. Farm implement manufacturers were for the most part working on higher schedules than during the preceding thirty days but report that dealers gen erally through the district are slow in covering on their spring and summer requirements. Jobbers of iron and steel goods reported a quickening in busi ness during the last half of January, but a slowing down in the general demand for their wares since the the first of this month. Tank plates and the entire line of oil country goods continued quiet, and purchasing by the cement, quarry, fire clay products, glass and furniture industries was below the usual seasonal average. Buying of pig iron in January was in considerable volume, but competition was re ported keen, resulting in price shading to secure business. Production of pig iron for the country as a whole in January was 2,838,543 tons, against 2,836,917 tons in December, and 3,433,028 tons in January, 1929. Steel ingot production in the United States in January totaled 3,786,319 tons, against 2,896,268 tons in December, and 4,490,354 tons in January, 1929. RETAIL TRADE The condition of retail trade is reflected in the following comparative statement showing activity at department stores in leading cities of the district: N e t sales com parison Stocks on hand Stock turnover Jan. 1930 Jan. 31, 1930 com p, to com p, to January Jan. 1929 ' Jan. 31, 1929 1930 1929 Evansville ..........................— 23.1% + 9 .8 % .16 .21 L ittle R o ck ..........................— 11.0 + 1.1 .16 .18 — 3.3 .20 .24 Louisville ............................— 17.5 Memphis ............................— 14.4 — 12.5 .23 .26 Q uincy ................................ + 1.9 + 1 0 .0 .18 .19 St. L ouis..............................— 10.3 — 3.3 .27 .29 Springfield, M o ................ — 10.2 +5.6 .08 .09 8th D istrict......................... — 11.8 — 4.0 .24 .26 N et sales com parison Stocks on hand Jan. 1930 com p, to Jan. 1930 com p, to Jan. 1929 D ec. 1929 Jan. 1929 D ec. 1929 M en’ s furnishings......... .— 13.7%* — 44.2% — 0.5$"* + ll.i% B oots and shoes.................— 17.8 — 29.0 — 9.0 — 11.4 Department Store Sales by Departments — As reported by the principal department stores in Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis, and St. Louis. Percentage increase or decrease Jan. 1930 compared to Jan. 1929 N et sales Stocks*4M|*J|ianclJ for month at end of mo.rth* Piece good s...................... .................... .— 1 2 .7 % ' + 6.8 % R eady-to-w ear accessories.................— 15.2 — 4.4 W om en and misses’ ready-to-w ear— 23.6 — 3.4 M en ’s and b oys’ wear..........................— 20.2 — 3.8 H om e furnishings................................. .— 23.1 . — 3.9 BUILDING The dollar value of building permits issued for new construction in the five largest cities of the dis trict in January was the smallest for any single month in more than seven years, and 62.4 per cent smaller than in December, and 75.3 per cent below the January, 1929, total. According to statistics compiled by the F. W . Dodge Corporation, construc tion contracts let in the Eighth Federal Reserve District in January totaled $13,062,764, against $17,387,230 in December, and $25,479,285 in Janu ary, 1929. For the country as a whole, production of portland cement in January totaled 8,498,000 bar rels, against 11,215,000 barrels in December, and 9,881,000 barrels in January, 1929. Building figures for January fo llow : N ew Construction Perm its *C ost 1930 1929 1929 1930 Evansville .. 193 260 $ 125 $ 210 172 L ittle R ock 26 36 97 Louisville .. 65 89 793 195 293 295 607 M em phis «... 134 St. Louis.... 130 202 141 1,675 Jan. totals 548 1*80 $ 853 $3,457 705 889 4,132 D ec. totals 2,273 N ov. totals 955 1,429 2,244 6,742 *In thousands o f dollars (000 om itted). _______ Repairs, etc. *C ost Permits 1929 1930 1929 1930 $ 30 f 2 0 28 16 54 34 118 45 35 39 47 25 124 43 83 23 147 243 228 218 523 343 632 $ 361 363 555 349 781 1,392 $367 881 771 CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY Public utilities companies in the five largest cities of the district report consumption of electri city by selected industrial customers in January as being 3.2 per cent larger than in December, but 10.4 per cent smaller than in January, 1929. An in crease in January was shown by railroad shops and coal mines, but this was more than offset in the yearly comparison by rather general decreases else where, notably among cement and other building material plants. Detailed figures follow : Jan. N o. o f D ec. Custom1930 1929 * K .W .H . * K .W .H . ers Evansville .... 40 1,540 1,536 L ittle R ock.. 35 1,390 1,521 Louisville .... 87 6,948 6,024 Mem phis ..... 31 1,791 1,656 St. L ou is......143 13,961 14,110 Totals......336 25,630 * In thousands (000 om itted). 24,847 Jan. 1930 com p, to D ec. 1929 + 0 .2 % — 8.6 + 15.3 + 8.2 — 1.1 - f 3.2 Jan. Jan. 1930 com p, to 1929 * K .W .H . Jan. 1929 1,605 — 4.0% 1,449 — 4.1 6,985 — 0.5 1,867 — 4.1 16,693 — 16.4 28,599 — 10.4 The following figures compiled by the Depart ment of the Interior show kilowatt production for lighting and industrial purposes for the country as a w hole: D ec. N ov. O ct. B y water pow er B y fuels 1929..............................2,757,827,000 5,758,637,000 1929..............................2,641,729,000 * 5,607,671,000 1929..............................2,730,226,000 5,978,090,000 T otals 8,516,464,000 8,249,400,000 8,708,316,000 AGRICULTURE Generally through the district early farm work is backward, due to the protracted spell of cold weather and to snow and ice, which prevented farm ers from entering their fields. In the south relative ly little plowing for cotton and other early crops had been accomplished at the middle of February, while in the northern tiers of the district virtually no field work was done. In many sections the condi tion of dirt roads hampered hauling of farm products to markets, and the sharp decline in values of cer tain important products was a further deterrent to heavy marketing. Gathering of the considerable portion of the corn crop still remaining in the fields made poor progress, and there were increasing re ports of damage to quality of corn left outside and in cribs. Serious flood damage occurred in sections of Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Arkansas, the overflows in these areas being at an earlier date and of greater extent than in a number of seasons. The greatest injury was wrought in the valleys of the Wabash and St. Francis rivers. Reports from scattered sections indicate rather widespread damage to fruit trees from ice and sleet, and some apprehension is felt relative to the peach crop, due to the unusually low temperatures prevail ing through January. No comprehensive survey of the orchard situation has been made, however, and it is too early to estimate the extent of damage. Wheat prices declined in early February to the low est level since last June. Corn was also lower, and cotton recorded a new low level for the crop year in the first week of February. The live stock mar kets on the other hand, were strong and on the up turn, hogs selling at the highest point since last August. Winter Wheat — Generally through January and the first week of February, fields were covered with snow, which afforded protection against the extreme low temperatures prevailing durirfg that period. Milder weather since has caused melting, and at the middle of February most of the crop was uncovered, and there were minor complaints of dam age from Indiana, Illinois and Missouri. Almost universally there has been abundant moisture, and soil conditions were rarely better at this particular time of the year. For the most part, reports indi cate that the crop is in good condition. Com — Progress of the season is disclosing in creased quantities of corn of poor quality. Grain ar riving at the principal centers averages high in moisture content, and there are numerous reports of damage from mould to corn in cribs and in the field. Weather has been against gathering corn in the fields, and in many sections a larger proportion of the crop remains unhoused than has been the case in a number of years. Recent reports indicate that seed corn is testing poorly throughout parts of Illi nois, Indiana and Missouri, particularly where frost caught the crop before it was properly matured. Generally through the district, prime seed corn is scarce. On account of the long spell of extremely cold weather, feeding of corn to livestock on farms in many localities has been the heaviest in twenty years. Live Stock — According to the annual survey of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, the number and value of livestock on farms in states lying whol ly or partly within the Eighth Federal Reserve Dis trict showed only minor variations from Janaury 1, 1929 to the same date this year. The aggregate number of cattle, sheep, swine and horses and mules on the first day of this year was 32,557,000 head, which compares with 32,334,000 head on January 1, 1929. The total value of these animals was placed at $1,027,293,000 as against $1,020,916,000 on Janu ary 1 a year earlier. The number and value of swine was lower this year than last, and the same was true of horses and mules. In both point of num bers and aggregate value, cattle showed a substan tial increase over the preceding year. There was a slight increase in the number of sheep, but a decline in total value as compared with a year ago. For the country as a whole the total value of live stock on farms on January 1 was $5,864,969,000, compared with $6,003,598,000 on January 1, 1929. The 1930 valuation, while below that of a year ago, was above any other year since 1921. The total value of each species was below a year ago. Receipts and shipments at St. Louis, as reported by the National Stock Yards, were as follows: R eceipts Jan. D ec. Jan. 1930 1929 1929 Cattle and calves........ 81,977 85,708 90,783 H ogs ............................342,603 317,662 409,468 H erses and m ules...... 12,011 4,591 10,976 Sheep ............................ 35,088 31,319 27,955 Shipments Jan. Dec. Jan. 1930 1929 1929 46,360 55,073 ^4,725 274,802 234,619 294,568 12,329 4,675 11,954 20,172 12,680 14,451 Cotton — Preparations for the new crop have not progressed far. Weather throughout January and early this month was decidedly inauspicious for outdoor operations. Some plowing was done in the southern tiers of the district, but virtually none north of the Arkansas River. Milder temperatures developed toward the middle of February, but melt ing snow and ice left the soil so muddy that a week or ten days of ideal conditions would be required to place it in condition to till. Some progress was made in completing the old crop harvest, but condi tion of cotton in the fields was such that much of it was abandoned. There is nothing as yet to indicate acreage prospects. Campaigns to curtail acreage have been started in Mississippi and elsewhere. Prices of cotton declined in early February to the lowest point on the crop. In the St. Louis market the middling grade fluctuated between 14}4c and 16j4c per pound between January 15 and February 15, closing at 15c on the latter date, against 16j4c on January 16, and 18*4c on February 15, 1929. Very little cotton remains in producers’ hands in this district, although cotton merchants hold fairly large stocks. Stocks of cotton in Arkansas ware houses on February 14 totaled 291,980 bales, against 339,084 bales on January 17, and 196,400 bales on February 14, 1929. Rice — Since the first of this month quite de cided improvement has developed in the market for both rough and polished rice, greater strength being shown than at any time since last fall. In Arkansas an unusually large amount of rice is still in farmers’ hands, the total being estimated at 25 to 30 per cent of the 1929 crop. There has been very little progress made in preparations for the 1930 crop, due princi pally to unfavorable weather conditions. Tobacco — Most recent reports indicate that the 1929 crop of burley tobacco will considerably exceed in pounds the estimates earlier in the season. Weight of the leaf marketed has exceeded expecta tions. Sales from the date of the opening of the markets to February 8 averaged $22.21 per hundred pounds, which compares with an average of $32.50 on the entire 1928 crop. The better grades and col ory tobacco have been relatively the cheapest. Com mon and medium grades brought relatively higher prices. In the dark fired districts heavy deliveries and rapid marketing have generally continued, and similar conditions to those in the burley sections prevail, in that yield in pounds is exceeding estimates previously made. Lugs are in strong demand and sell at high prices, and there has been spirited com petition for good to fine leaf. Low grades have been relatively quiet and cheap, which in conjunction with an increase in yield, have served to lower the average price level. T o February 8, average prices in the several markets averaged from 50c to $3.50 lower than for the 1928 crop. Commodity Prices — Range of prices in the St. Louis market between January 15, 1930, and Febru ary 15, 1930, with closing quotations on the latter date and on February 15, 1929: W heat u Close Low F eb. 15, 1930 $1.16 $1.19 1.29& 1.17 1.1954 1.23 $1.24 @ 1.25 1.35 1.43 1.25 1.1654 1.18 @ 1.18J4 1.28 H igh July ................. .... “ N o. 2 red winter “ N o. 2 hard...... .... “ C om .... “ .95% .... “ .97% N o. 2 mixed.... .... " .8 7 ^ N o. 2 white.... Oats N o. 2 white.... .... “ .4954 Flour S oft patent.... Spring patent.. .... “ 6.60 Middling cotton.. ..per lb.V* .1654 H ogs on h o o f...... ..per cwt.11.50 .90H •92 H .82 .85 .83 .87 .45 .4654 @ 6.25 6.25 5.95 6.25 .1454 9.25 8.00 @ @ .90*4 .93** .84 .88 $1.30 H 1.33 @ 1.46 @ 1.2854 .9 6 5 4® .9 5 5 4® .48 .51 @ 6.50 @ 6.30 .15 @ 11.50 7.00 6.10 6.75 @ 1*0256 1.04H .9754 .98 .5154 @ 7.25 @ 6.25 .1854 @ 10 .4 0 FINANCIAL Liquidation of loans at commercial banks and the Federal reserve bank continued in considerable volume during the past thirty days. Settlements were well diversified, both with reference to geo graphic location and the various borrowing interests. Demand for credit from commercial and industrial sources, while somewhat less active than thirty days earlier, was still in large volume, and only minor variations were noted in the rates charged customers by the commercial banks. Quite generally through the district, but more particularly in sections where tobacco is the principal crop, country banks further reduced their indebtedness to city correspondents, and in a number of instances these banks were seek ing investments for surplus funds. Due to the liber al movement of live stock to market, occasioned by the high prices prevailing, there was a substantial reduction in loans based on that class of property. Demand for funds to condition live stock for market, however, continues active. and on the latter date were 7.0 per cent smaller than on February 20, 1929. Composite statement follow s: There was also further curtailment in commit ments of flour milling and grain interests, with the total about 50 per cent smaller than at the peak last fall. Packers slightly increased their borrow ings to take care of increased inventories of finished products. Demand from manufacturers of building materials were measurably smaller than at the cor responding period last year or in 1928. Routine liquidation by mercantile interests in the large cities was fully up to the usual seasonal average, but new requirements about balanced payments, with the result that no material change was noted in this class of loans as contrasted with the preceding aonth. Owing to the lateness of the season, require ments for agricultural operations were at a mini mum. $643,617 $605,828 Total deposits............................... ...... .$598,415 Bills payable and rediscounts with 27,244 5,235 6,431 Feaeral Reserve B ank.................. . *In thousands (000 om itted). tD ecrease due to consolidation. These 25 banks are located in St. L ouis, Louisville, Mem phis, L ittle R ock , and Evansville, and their resources represent 53.1 per cent o f the resources o f all m ember banks in this district. Between January 15 and February 12, loans of the reporting member banks decreased 2.7 per cent, and on the latter date were 3.1 per cent below the total a.year earlier. Deposits of these banks, which declined steadily from the opening of the year until February 5, turned slightly upward in the second week of this month. Borrowings of all member banks from the Federal reserve bank continued the steady decline which has been in progress since last September, and on February 11 reached the lowest aggregate since January, 1928. St. Louis bank’s current interest rates were as follow s; Prime commercial paper, 5% to 6 per cent; collateral loans, Sy2 to 7 per cent; loans secured by warehouse receipts, 5% to 6^2 per cent; interbank loans, 5j4 to 6 per cent and cattle loans, 6 to 6li / per cent. *Jan. 22, 1930 t25 *F eb. 20, 1929 29 $238,548 281,873 $245,615 286,048 Total loans and discounts................ .$516,607 Investments U . S. Government securities..... . 36,301 . 112,624 $520,421 $531,663 37,440 111,735 80,041 118,588 Total investments.............................. ,.$148,925 R eserve balance with F. R , bank. . 44,397 . 5,760 Deposits s. N et demand deposits.................... . 369,811 Tim e deposits................................. . 228,574 Government deposits.................... 30 $149,175 44,786 5,804 $198,629 47,569 6,591 378,227 227,358 243 402,334 240,181 1,102 *F eb. 19, 1930 N um ber of banks reporting............ t25 Loans and discounts (m cl. rediscounts) Secured b y XJ. S. G ovt, obligations and other stocks and bonds..,........ .$232,247 A ll other loans and discounts... . 284,360 Debits to Individual Accounts — The following table gives the total debits charged by banks to checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of deposit accounts and trust accounts of individuals, firms, corporations and U. S. Government in lead ing cities of the district. Charges to accounts of banks are not included. *Jan. 1930 East St. Louis & Natl. Stock Yards, 111..$ 49,027 8,187 E l Dorado, Ark.... . Evansville, In d ....., 27,445 F ort Smith, A rk.. . 15,075 Greenville, Miss...„ 5,898 6,321 Helena, A rk......... . Little R ock, Ark..„ 81,154 Louisville, Ky.......,. 199,021 M emphis, Tenn...... 177,420 Ow ensboro, K y.... . 9,834 Pine Bluff, ^Vrk.... . 12,097 Quincy, 111............. . 12,597 St. Louis, M o ...... . 796,378 5,104 Sedalia, M o ........... 16,755 Springfield, Mo.... **Texarkana, A rk.*T ex........... . 16,196 *Jan. 1929 $ 41,613 8,979 30,698 14,866 5,382 6,675 90,075 184,018 200,507 7,987 13,494 13,555 825,542 4,586 15,333 $ 67,964 9,835 51,477 14,488 5,434 5,137 84,662 235,280 197,065 9,573 13,390 13,170 848,284 4,798 18,204 14,618 18,403 Jan. 1930 com p, to D ec. 1929 Jan. 1929 + 17.8% — 8.8 — 10.6 + 1.4 + 9.6 — 5.3 — 9.9 + 8.2 — 11.5 4*23.1 — 10.4 — 7.1 — 3.5 + 11.3 + 9.3 — 27.9% — 16.8 — 46.7 + 4.1 + 8.5 + 2 3 .0 — 4.1 — 15.4 — 10.0 + 2.7 — 9.7 — 4.4 — 6.1 + 6.4 — 8.0 + 10.8 — 12.0 Totals....... .1,438,509 $1,477,928 $1,597,164 — 2.7 — 9.9 *In thousands (000 om itted ). **Includes one bank in Texarkana, T exas not in Eighth District. Federal Reserve Operations — During January the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted for 196 member banks, against 205 in December, and 173 in January, 1929. The discount rate, which had been uniformly at 5 per cent since July 19, 1928, was lowered to Ay2 per cent, effective February 11. Changes in the principal assets and liabilities of this institution as compared with the preceding month and a year ago appear in the following table: Bills discounted...... Bills bought............. U . S. securities...... Municipal warrants.. Condition of Banks — Loans and discounts of the reporting member banks on February 19, 1930 showed a decrease of 0.7 per cent as contrasted with Total deposits............................. January 22, 1930. Deposits decreased 1.2 per cent Ratio o f reserve to deposits and F . R. N o te Liabilitie; between January 22, 1930 and February 19, 1930 *In thousands (000 om itted). (Compiled February 21, 1930) *D ec. 1929 *Feb. 21, 1930 ..$20,093 18,584 .. 19,266 30 *Jan. 21, 1930 $14,932 12,576 19,266 30 ..$57,973 .. 85,099 .. 81,973 $46,804 89,316 83,119 $70,969 60.207 85,450 69.8% 75.3% 57.0% *F eb. 21, 1929 $41,088 10,397 19,484 BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN THE UNITED STATES PRODUCTION — Industrial production showed an in crease of about 4 per cent in January, according to the Board’s index, which makes allowance for the usual seasonal variations. This increase reflected principally a larger out put of automobiles, steel, cotton textiles, and shoes. Output of copper, cement, lumber, anthracite coal and flour declined and the increase in bituminous coal output was smaller than is usual for the season. In the first two weeks of February steel plants increased their rate of operation further, but continued to be less active than in the corresponding period of last year. Building contracts awarded showed little received by the Federal Reserve System, were about 2 per cent lower than in the corresponding month of last year, this difference being about the same as shown the month before. WHOLESALE PRICES — Wholesale prices of com modities in January continued to move downward. In general, fluctuations were small until the latter part of the month, when decreases occurred in the prices of grains, •cotton, wool, iron and steel and petroleum. The prices of M onthly averages o f w eekly figures for reporting member banks in leading cities. Latest figures are averages of first tw o weeks in February. change in January, a substantial increase in public works and utilities being in large part offset by a decrease in resi dential construction. In the first half of February the daily average of contracts was lower than in January. EMPLOYMENT AND PAYROLLS — The number of wage earners employed at factories declined further be tween the middle of December and the middle of January, and wage payments showed a larger reduction. In automo bile and steel plants there was an increase in employment in the month ending January 15, 1930, and in recent weeks further increases have been reported for these industries. There were decreases in January in the number of wage earners employed in the machinery, car building and repair ing, lumber, and cement industries. During the three week PEftcorr MO IFACTORY EMPLOY!MENTANC I PAYROLL5 no Payrolls* A of February the prices of hogs, pork, and cattle increased, while the prices of wheat, cotton, pig iron, petroleum and textiles continued to decline. BANK CREDITS — Liquidation of member bank credit in January and the early part of February was in substantially larger volume than in the corresponding period of 1929. Declines were reported in loans on securities and in all other loans, which continued to decrease in February contrary to the usual seasonal trend. There was little change in the banks’ holding of investments. The volume of reserve bank credit outstanding declined by about $140,000,000 between the middle of January and the middle of February. This decline was due in part to the reduction in member bank reserve balances which accompanied the ptncsMT 12U IATES IN MEW YORK MONEY 1 /v 110 rA too 100 Am - v tmpbyment 80 70 70 1925 1926 1927 1928 1929 1930 'Y - - y \ rciaJPaperfit BankDiscount/A rt* 'once Bote I I ! 60 A in 90 90 A AT i 1926 t___________ 1 1927 , 1928 1929 1930 In d e* num bers of fa ctory em ploym ent and payrolls, without adjustment for seasonal variations. (1923-25 average = 1 0 0 ). Latest figures, January: Em ploym ent, 9 3.1 ; payrolls, 94.2. M onthly rates in the open market in N ew Y o r k : com m ercial paper rate on 4 to 6 m onth paper. A cceptance rate on 90-day bankers’ accept ances. Latest figures are averages o f first tw enty days in February. period ending February 3, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on the basis of preliminary returns, reported a slight in crease in factory employment. DISTRIBUTION - - Shipments of freight were in about the same volume in January as in December. Aver age daily loadings of miscellaneous freight and merchandise in less than carload lots decreased slightly during the month, but by a smaller amount than is usual at this season. During the first two weeks in February there was some in crease in shipments, largely seasonal in nature. Depart ment store sales in January, according to preliminary figures decline in the banks’ loans and investments; in part to the continued return flow of currency from circulation; and in part to gold imports, largely from Brazil and Japan. Money rates in the open market eased further. Rates on commer cial paper declined to a range of 4 ^ -4 ^ per cent, and rates on 60-90 day bankers’ acceptances declined from 4 to 3% and later to 3M per cent. Discount rates at the Federal Reserve Banks of New York, Chicago, Boston, and Kansas City were reduced from 4 Y to 4 per cent, and rates at z Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Dallas from 5 to 4j^ per cent.