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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS MONTHLY REVIEW OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT NO. 8 Released for Publication On and After the Morning of June 30, 1924 W IL L IA M McC. M A R T IN CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT e c e s s i o n a r y tendencies, in some lines quite sharply defined, featured general business in this district during the past thirty days. In virtually all basic industries there was curtailment of production, while in both the wholesale and retail departments of distribution sales fell below these of the corresponding period last year and the preceding month this year. Generally through the list of com m o dities the trend of prices was lower, but except in relatively few instances concessions granted failed to stimulate buying. The latter fact was particularly true in the case of raw materials, which are being taken on an extremely conservative basis and only in quantities sufficient for immediate needs. Price con siderations at the moment are apparently less a factor in the situation than the spirit of uncertainty and caution, and inability to interest consumers in goods offered. The general policy of conservatism, however, has resulted in small stocks in all positions and with an almost entire absence of speculative accumulation of merchandise, business is in excellent shape to res pond to any improvement in demand conditions. Unseasonable wreather and uncertainty relative to the outcom e of crops constitute the chief factors in the present decline in business activity. From all directions reports tell of the delayed movement of spring and early summer merchandise. L ow tempera tures and incessant and heavy rains, the latter extend ing far into June, have interfered seriously with the usual routine agricultural operations which should be making headway at this time of year. Farmers have been unable to get into their fields to cultivate crops, and growth and development of the principal products are from one to four weeks late. Extensive replanting of cotton, corn and some other crops has been neces sary, and in some sections the seed has not been put in, due to the soggy and unworkable condition of the soil. Because of these circumstances, the usual stimu lation to business felt at the approach of the spring farming season and early harvests is entirely lacking. Farm supplies and merchandise generally for dis tribution in the rural districts are m oving slowly and in light volume. Ordering by country merchants is on a hand to mouth basis, and even in the smaller towns and cities there is a disposition to postpone commitments until something more definite is known as to the probable outcom e of crops. This hesitation is reflected in reduced sales by wholesalers in the large distributing centers, and is in turn affecting production by manufacturers. The period under re view has been marked by a slight increase in unem ployment in the large cities, due to reduced operations at industrial plants, and additional idle workers were reported in the coal, lead and zinc mining districts. Answers to questionnaires addressed to leading business interests throughout the district com m ent R upon the extreme caution among buyers of all classes and their disinclination to purchase beyond immediate requirements. A corollary of this condition has been increasing competition among sellers, manifested prin cipally in more intensive salesmanship and granting of price concessions. Special sales, held much earlier in the season than is ordinarily the case, have been conducted by both wholesalers and retailers, the res ponse to which has been moderately satisfactory. Stocks of goods which should have moved earlier in the year were materially reduced, but profit margins were sharply reduced, and in some instances elimin ated entirely. Another phase stressed by reporting wholesale interests is the small size of the average orders received. The steady flow of such orders has assisted the current turnover, but the cost of filling them perceptibly affects profits. The labor situation in the district was less favora ble than during the preceding thirty days. Surplus common labor due to the slower pace of industrial activity is being absorbed by farms and road building, but not to the extent which would be the case if weath er conditions were more auspicious. Lateness of the wheat harvest is a factor in the farm labor situation, and the supply of farm hands is adequate for all demands. As contrasted with a year ago, the movement of farm products to market during the period under review developed rather spotted conditions. Receipts of wheat, rye and hay were smaller, but there was a good increase in arrivals of corn and oats. Due to the lateness of the season, shipments of fruits and garden truck were below normal for this time of year. Prices of cereals, which declined sharply during the last week of May and early June, took a turn upward follow ing the publication of the Government’s June 1 condition report. The continued wet weather has had a buoyant effect on corn prices, values of both the options and spot corn having advanced 10c to 12c per bushel since the middle of May. Except for a slight improvement in sentiment, based on gradually dwindling reserves of numerous important industries, the coal situation underwent no change from the recent dull conditions. There was a further decline in production, accounted for in the main by lack of orders received at the mines. The revival in purchasing looked for about June 1 failed to materialize, and consumers, both large and small, have not deviated to any appreciable extent from the policy of hand to mouth buying which has obtained since last fall. The decline in industrial activity is reflected in reduced consumption of steam ing coal, and operators continue to comment upon the inroads made in their business by fuel oil and electric power competition. Dealers in the large cities have reduced their accumulations slightly during the past several weeks, but are slow to contract for their requirements through the balance of the year. They explain this attitude by the backwardness of house holders in placing their orders for the com ing fall and winter. The trend of prices continued downward until June 1 when circular quotations were advanced by many of the companies and most of the leading inde pendent producers from 10c to 20c per ton. Similar conditions of apathy were reported in the coke trade. The demand from domestic users is quiet, and cur tailed operations at furnaces and foundries is reflected in a slowing down in the demand for metallurgical coke. Production of bituminous coal for the country as a whole during the calendar year to June 14 was 211,490,000 net tons, which compares with 249,931,000 tons for the corresponding period a year ago. A s compared with the corresponding period last year, traffic of railroads operating in this district again showed a rather sharp decline, but the May business was well in excess of that for the same month in 1922, with one large southwestern system showing the heaviest M ay traffic in its history. For the country as a whole loadings of revenue freight during the week ending May 31 totaled 819,904 cars, a decrease under the preceding week of 98,309 cars, and a decrease of 112,780 cars under the same week in 1923. A s com pared with the corresponding period in 1922 the total for the week of May 31 showed an increase of 80,345 cars. The Terminal Railway Association of St. Louis, which handles the interchange of 28 connecting car riers, interchanged 199,542 loads in May, against 196,111 loads in April, 204,656 loads in March and 207,094 loads in May, 1923. Passenger traffic of the reporting roads decreased 2 per cent in May as com pared with the same month in 1923. Tonnage moved by the Mississippi River section of the Federal barge line between St. Louis and New Orleans amounted to 68,600 tons during May, against 81,528 tons in April and 77,552 tons in May, 1923. Taking into account the very unfavorable weather and general slow ing down in business activities during the period under review, the record of collections made an unusually favorable showing. This was ascribed chiefly to abundant supplies of money and the fact that merchants for the most part are carrying small stocks and have less than the usual amount of their funds tied up in inventories. In the large wholesale and jobbing centers merchants report May 1 settlements well up to expectations, and in a num ber of instances better than a year ago. There are still some backward spots in the farming regions, and in the coal mining areas collection efficiency con tinues below normal. Replies to 408 questionnaires addressed to representative interests in the various lines throughout the district show the follow ing resu lts: Excellent Good Fair Poor 23.2% 58.9% 15.2% May, 1924....... 2.7% April, 1924....... 1.7 29.4 56.3 12.6 May, 1923....... 2.8 36.8 53.8 6.8 Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Reserve District during May, according to Dun’s, numbered 62, involving liabilities of $174,163, against 79 defaults with indebtedness of $1,033,327 in April, and 63 failures for $760,293 in May, 1923. T he per capita circulation o f the United States on June 1 was $42.78, against $42.33 on M ay 1 and $42.34 on June 1, 1923. M A N U F A C T U R IN G A N D W H O L E S A L E Autom obiles There was a further decrease in the production of automobiles and trucks in the country as a whole during May, the loss as compared with the preceding month being 16.2 per cent, while a loss of 20.6 per cent was recorded under the total of May, 1923. Com panies reporting direct or through the Autom obile Chamber of Commerce built 279,385 passenger cars in May, against 336,968 in April, and 350,073 in May, 1923. The output of trucks in May was 32,326 against 34,977 in April and 42,373 in May, 1923. The total number of passenger cars and trucks manufactured during the first five months of 1924, however, was 1,747,145 against 1,658,320 for the corresponding period last year. A general slowing do^yn in distribution, both at wholesale and retail, was noted during the past thirty days. Sales of 230 dealers scattered through the district showed a decrease of 5.8 per cent under the same month last year, and of 8.5 per cent under the April total this year. Unfavorable weather is given as the principal reason for the recession in buying, particularly in the country, where dealers say that the continuous rains and muddy roads have made it extremely difficult to dispose of automobiles. Busi ness in accessories decreased in about the same ratio noted in new cars, and there continue complaints rela tive to the slowness with which tires are moving. The used car business was reported quieter than at any time in more than eight months, price concessions and inducements in the shape of equipment and terms failing to stimulate buying. B oots and Shoes Sales of the 11 reporting interests in May were 1.7 per cent under the corresponding month in 1923, and 9.2 per cent under the April total this year. As was the case during the tw o preceding months, the loss as compared with last year was chiefly in orders for future shipment. Buying is almost exclusively on an immediate basis, each week developing an increase in the proportion of small orders to be filled by express or parcels post. T he volume of this piecemeal current buying is quite large, but the cost of filling the orders is such as to reduce profits. The demand for wom en's and children’s shoes continues relatively better than for men’s wear, and generally sales in the cities are better than in the country. There was no change w orthy of note in prices of either finished goods or raw materials during the past thirty days. Factory operation was at approximately 72 per cent of capacity. The total number of pairs of shoes manufactured in this district during M ay was 6 per cent less than during the preceding month, and for the country as a whole, May production was 9.6 per cent under the April total. Clothing An increasing tendency is noted to sacrifice pro fits in order to maintain present production schedules or to m ove stocks on hand. There are few buyers in the market, however, especially from the rural dis tricts, where demand has contracted to a notable de gree. Fall booking of reporting firms are from 40 to 60 per cent lower than last year and jobbers are unable to arouse interest in new commitments on anything like a normal scale. The entire w oolen line is in only moderate request with prices weak and declining. In many instances, however, production has declined to lower levels than present consumption and stocks are everywhere low. The rainy, cool weather has retarded sales of all summer fabrics, and at the same time prompted vigorous selling campaigns at rather large price concessions. M en’s hats are m oving tardily, par ticularly straws, sales of which are the most disap pointing in years for the season to date. May sales of the 11 reporting firms were 38 per cent under those of the same month a year ago, but 0.4 per cent in excess of the April, 1924, total. Drugs and Chemicals May sales of the 11 reporting interests were 6.2 per cent less than during the same period in 1923, and 5.8 per cent under the April total this year. A consid erable part of the decrease as compared with a year ago was accounted for by reduced sales of spraying materials, insecticides and heavy chemicals used by manufacturers. Smaller sales were also the rule in the soda fountain supply departments of reporting interests, the unusually cool weather having had a detrimental effect on this business. The demand for remedial drugs and sundries continues good, there being a disposition to place orders at the recent slight price reductions in a number of staple drugs and pro prietary medicines. The retail drug business was re ported somewhat less active than heretofore, particu larly in the South. D ry G oods Buying in all sections of the line continues on an extremely conservative basis, and mainly in small lots for prompt shipment. Cotton goods held relatively firm, the decline in the raw staple being in a large measure offset by curtailment of production and gen erally small stocks. The movement of seasonal goods continues backward, and special efforts to move such merchandise have been made by a number of im por tant wholesale establishments. The downward trend in silks continued, and with the 25 per cent decline in raw silk since May 1, many grades can now be pur chased at prices lower than at any time since 1916. W ith the exception of styled piece goods and garments, the movement of print cloth and w om en's ready to wear clothing is disappointing. Staple hosiery contin ues quiet, but there is a fair demand for certain fancy descriptions. Some reordering of underwear is re ported, but advance business is the lightest at this season in several years. May sales of the 11 reporting interests were 12.5 per cent under those of the same month in 1923, but 1.5 per cent in excess of the April total this year. Electrical Supplies Unseasonable weather and ultra conservatism on the part of buyers of all classes are given as the chief reasons for a decrease in sales of the 12 reporting interests during M ay of 15.1 per cent as contrasted with the same month in 1923, and a loss of 4.7 per cent under the April total this year. Sales of electric fans and fan motors are considerably under normal for this time o f year, but the demand for electrical household appliances continues brisk. Some falling off in the volum e of electric installations was reported, and there was a slow ing down in the movement of copper wire, pole hardware and the general line of goods taken by public utility companies. A ll sorts of mining supplies are quiet, and there was less vigor to demand from the oil fields. The trend of prices was slightly downward, with specific reductions in bare and insulated copper wire. Sales and shipping directions from the autom o tive industry continued to decline. Fire-Clay Products Decreased activities in certain basic lines have perceptibly affected the demand for refractories pro ducts, with thfe result that operations at manufacturing plants in the district have been considerably curtailed. Demand from public utilities was less than heretofore and purchasing by iron and steel manufacturers has contracted with the banking and blow ing out of addi tional stacks and ovens. Ordering by cement pro ducers is still on a large scale, reflecting the con tinued activity in building. Demand from the oil centers is barely holding its own, but municipal buy ing continues in volume sufficient to sustain interest in vitrified projects. Jobbers' purchases have been on a hand to mouth basis, and stocks in their hands are reported at the lowest level in three years. Prices were unchanged. May sales of the 5 reporting interests were 26.6 per cent under those of the same month in 1923, and 17.9 per cent under the April total this year. Flour Production of the 11 leading mills of the district during May was 322,106 barrels, which compares with 311,312 barrels in April, 358,055 barrels in March and 302,791 barrels in May, 1923. Business during late M ay and the first week of June continued quiet and entirely on an immediate shipment basis. New orders were small in size, and came mainly from the regular customers of the mills. Shipping directions were generally fair, and there was a particularly good run of requests to forward soft flours from Southern buyers. Throughout the period under review, export business was stagnant, with bids scarce and too far out of line to result in workings. W ith the upturn in wheat about June 12, flour prices advanced slightly and the market displayed a somewhat better under tone, though actual sales showed only moderate im provement. Mill operation was at 65 per cent of capacity. Furniture Sales of the 28 reporting interests during May were 30.7 per cent under those of the same period in 1923, and 12.7 per cent below the April, 1924, total. Reports from all sections of the district reflect ex treme apathy in this line. Dealers are buying chiefly on a replacement basis, and are carrying the smallest stocks in years. The better and more expensive grades of household furniture are particularly quiet, the small current demand centering chiefly in low priced goods. The trend of finished furniture was easier, and there were specific reductions in the prices of raw materials, notably glass, lumber and iron and steel goods. Part of the backwardness on the part of dealers was ascribed to their desire to postpone purchasing until after the summer markets at Chicago and Grand Rapids, open ing June 23, at which new styles are displayed and prices announced. Factory operation dropped again, averaging less than 55 per cent of capacity. Groceries During the first week of June Cuban raw sugar touched new low price levels for the year, but bu y ing by retailers together with augmented demand from consumers, because of abundant berry and cherry crops, served to produce a turn which stimulated fur ther retail buying. There has been no abnormal accu mulation of sugar, however, either at wholesale or retail. A favorable factor has been the heavy m ove ment of canned goods caused by the backwardness of spring garden truck. Coffee, from cheap to choice, continues in good demand at firm prices, due to small retail stocks and a continuance of the Brazilian export limitation. A slight improvement in rural buying is noted, and city sales were about steady with the pre ceding month. Demand in mining sections is lagging. Candy is m oving in normal volume, though season ally dull. May sales of 21 reporting interests were 6.4 per cent in excess of those of the same month a year ago, but 0.3 per cent under the April, 1924, figure. Hardware Uncertainty relative to crops and heavy and con tinuous rains have served to hold down buying in the country to a minimum, with the result that M ay sales of the 12 reporting interests fell 16.7 per cent below the total of the same month in 1923, and 2.5 per cent under the April aggregate this year. The demand for building hardware, which has been the chief activity in the hardware line during recent months, showed a rather sharp falling off. Hand implements, spraying apparatus, and the general run of goods for use on farms are reported dull, and price concessions have been made in order to stimulate the belated m ove ment. Sales o f binder twine and other harvest mater ials are considerably below those of the corresponding period last season. W ith the exception of camping supplies and fishing tackle, the general movement of sporting goods was disappointing. Curtailed opera tions were reported in several important manufactur ing lines. Iron and Steel Products There was a further recession in activities at mills, foundries and machine shops in this district during the period under review, and for the country as a whole production of pig iron and steel ingots declined sharply in May as compared with the preced ing month. In spite of the almost universal curtail ment, demand has dropped below output, many of the leading reporting interests showing current shipments in excess of new orders booked. Purchasing by all classes of consumers has fallen off, and there is a very decided tendency to postpone commitments into the future. This is true both of finished and semi-finished goods and raw materials. Sales of pig iron were unusually light for this time of the year, and con tracting for last half requirements is the smallest in more than a decade. During the past three weeks a fair volume of inquiries has appeared, but mainly for the purpose of feeling out the market, as the tonnage actually closed has been insignificant. Prices of pig iron declined further, No. 2 Southern, 1.75 to 2.25 per cent silicon, falling to $18 per ton, furnace, while Northern iron of the same grade was freely offered at $20. Further weakness was noted in the scrap iron and steel market, with all items on the list touching new lows on the present downward movement. Scat tering price reductions were recorded on standard steel products, among the articles affected being bars, bolts, and nuts, plates and some wire products and tubing. Manufacturers of farm implements, stoves and other goods largely consumed in the country report that their business has been adversely affected by the low ering of crop conditions. There has been a rather sharp curtailment in takings by the automobile manu facturers, and buying by the railroads is considerably less active than was the case earlier in the year. W are housemen are ordering on a hand to mouth basis, and report the demand for their goods the quietest in months. Job foundry operations have been further reduced, with several of the larger plants pouring only tw o or three melts per week. Additional open-hearth furnaces have been blow n out by steel manufacturers, and rolling mills are operating at less than 50 per cent of capacity. M ay sales of stove manufacturers, 7 re porting, were 22 per cent under the same month in 1923, and 23.7 per cent less than the April total this year; railway supplies, 5 reporting, decreased 44 per cent under the same month in 1923, and 6 per cent under April this year; farm implements, 6 reporting, decreased 32.5 per cent under May last year and 16 per cent under the April, 1924, total; jo b foundries, 5 reporting, decreased 16.5 per cent under May, 1923, and 8.2 per cent under April this year; manufactur ers of boilers, stacks, elevators, radiators, wire rope and miscellaneous products, 14 reporting, decreased 22.8 per cent under May, 1923, and 14.2 per cent under April, 1924. Lum ber Sustained building activity in St. Louis and other large cities of the district accounted for a good retail demand and a brisk delivery of lumber from yards at those centers. Country yards, on the other hand, are doing a light business while the farmers are preoccu pied with their crops. W holesale buying has run in smaller volume since the first of June, but since mill costs are being closely pressed by prices, the market has remained practically stationary. There is the usual slack-businses run of price concessions and minor changes in the market standing of items in the various woods. On the bulk of lumber production, however, prices have held steady with the levels cur rent during the preceding thirty days. W eather has been extremely unfavorable for logging operations in the South, and many of the small sawmills have shut down. Generally, there is a tendency to hold down production until market conditions warrant in creased outputs. Furniture manufacturers and the automotive industry are purchasing more sparingly than heretofore. Consumption of Electricity In spite of the current business recession, elec tricity consumed for industrial purposes continues to surpass former seasonal records in tw o of the report ing centers and for the district as a whole. Increases over last year represent heavier loads taken by cement, brick and auto truck manufacturers, while decreases for the same period represent curtailment by steel companies, liquid air manufacturers and ice plants. The seasonal upturn, however, is represented largely by increased operations at ice plants. Detailed figures follow : April, May, No. of 1924 1924 custom *K.W.H. *K.W.H. ers 950 1,058 Evansville ....40 752 692 Little Rock....11 4,070 4,244 Louisville ....67 1,340 1.450 Memphis .... 31 11,915 12,888 St. Louis. ... 75 20,332 19,027 Totals....224 *In thousands (000 omitted). May, 1924 comp, to Apr. 1924 + 11.4% — 8.0 + 4.3 + 8.2 + 8.2 + 6.9 May, May, 1924 comp, to 1923 *K.W.H. May, 1923 1,060 — 0.2% 758 — 8.7 3,868 + 9.7 +29.5 1,120 13,322 — 3.3 20,128 + 1.0 The follow ing figures, compiled by the Depart ment of Interior, give kilowatt production for both lighting and industrial purposes for the entire country : 1924 By water power By fuels February ................................1,562,947,000 ~ 3,270,796,000 March ..................................... 1,711,935,000 3,269,257,000 April ....................................... 1,846,368,000 2,904,507,000 Totals 4,833,743,000 4,981,192,000 4,750,875,000 R E T A IL Business in this section of distribution during the past thirty days was largely a reproduction of the picture of the period immediately preceding, except that greater selling pressure was in evidence. Cool, wet weather, which prevailed through the third week of June served to retard activities in every line investi gated except chain grocery stores. The movement of men's summer clothing has been disappointing, and sales of straw hats the smallest at this season in more than a decade. Cheap work suits, harvest hats and supplies used in the fields are not being bought in the usual seasonal volume. Certain classes of styled goods for wom en's wear are meeting with good demand, and other varieties offered at lower prices are m oving well, but the general line of w om en’s apparel is dull. Liber al price concessions have stimulated some buying of camping supplies, but otherwise sporting goods, including g o lf and baseball supplies, are m oving in less volume than at this time last year. Jewelers report the usual buying of wedding and graduation gifts, but total sales were about 10 per cent below those of the same month in 1923. Continued dullness is re ported by furniture dealers. Building activity has served to sustain interest in hardware, but supplies for the farm are being sparingly bought. May sales o f 3 interests operating 1,578 chain grocery stores in this district exceeded those of the same month a year ago by 8.1 per cent. Department stores, by aggressive selling campaigns, have main tained volume, if not profits, M ay sales of the 21 largest department stores in the district being only 3.9 per cent under those of the same month last year. These price concessions, together with smaller stocks have made possible the best rate of turnover shown for any month this year. Detailed department store figures fo llow : Annual rate of Net sales comparisons Stocks on hand stock turnover May, 1924 Five months ending May 31, 1924 For 5 months ending comp, to comp, to . May 31, 1924, to same period, 1923 May 31, 1923 May 31, 1924 May, 1923 1.80 — 7.6% Evansville .......— 8.4% — 1.2% 2.34 4- 0.2 H 0.9 Little Rock......+ 7.4 2.70 Louisville ........+ 1.2 - f 0.8 -f 3.9 2.29 — 4.3 + 0.3 Memphis ..... 2.21 — 3.6 — 1.3 Quincy ....... ....+ 0.4 3.30 + 7.2 — 0.4 St. Louis......... — 6.6 2.80 -f 4.4 — 0.8 3.9 8th District3.01 + 3.0 + 3.9 Entire u. s. ... — 1.5 A G R IC U L T U R E The outstanding feature in reports covering agri cultural conditions during the past thirty days was the lateness of the season. In the main weather was unfavorable for growth and development of crops and for general farm operations. T he month of May was wet and cold, and the early weeks of June, while bring ing higher temperatures also brought a continuance of the unusual precipitation. M uddy fields and roads prevented farmers from accom plishing much needed cultivation of grow ing crops and delayed seeding of corn and planting of vegetables. In many sections the soggy condition of the soil and lack of sunshine caused the rotting of seeds in the ground and necessi tated replanting, in some instances as many as two to four times. Scattered hail and wind storms of great severity did material local damage, and injury to crops in some rich river and creek bottom s was wrought by floods. Despite weather handicaps, early crops were gen erally successful, both in point of yields and prices obtained. The output of strawberries in commercial sections of the district was large, and adequate mar keting arrangements and transportation permitted of prompt and satisfactory movement. Shipments of spring truck were behind the usual seasonal schedule, but have increased steadily in volum e during the past several weeks. Cherries were an abundant crop gener ally through the district, but prices were under those of last season. T he condition of winter wheat in States of the district, according to the report of the U. S. Depart ment of Agriculture, declined rather sharply during May, and in all instances was below the 10-year aver age on June 1. In Illinois the June 1 condition was 64 per cent of normal, against 70 per cent on May 1, with an indicated yield of 33,368,000 bushels against 60,534,000 bushels harvested last year. The indicated outturn in Missouri is 21,808,000 bushels compared with 37,882,000 bushels in 1923. The deterioration is ascribed chiefly to unfavorable weather, but there are numerous reports of damage from insects pests, though as a rule Hessian fly and cinch bug damage is less severe than last year. The harvest will be later than usual due to the cool weather in April and May. W heat — Oats The U. S. D ep’t of Agriculture, in its report as of June 1, 1924, gives condition of winter wheat and oats in the Eighth Federal Reserve District as follow s: Winter Wheat Condition *Production Farm price June 1 Forecast 1924 per bu. Harvested 10-yr. from condition 5*yr. av. May 15 1924 av. June 1 May 1 1923 1918-22 1924 1923 Bu. Bu. Bu. Bu. % % cents cents ...64 80 33,368 33,950 60,534 51,377 100 116 ...77 81 26,567 25,904 34,188 98 122 33,707 Kentucky .,...63 84 3,773 3,743 7,688 8,320 112 130 ...68 78 21,808 24,027 37,882 45,106 99 113 U. S. Total..74.0 81.6 509,319 553,013 572,340 624,653 * Production Oats Condition Forecast 1924 Farm price Acreage June 1 from Harvested per bu. % o( 10-yr. condition 5-yr. av. May 15 1924 Acres 1924 av. June 1 1923 1918-22 1924 1923 % % Bu. Bu. Bu. cents cents Illinois .........106 4,092 86 88 142,524 135,100 146,005 44 44 1,774 89 87 59,207 48,692 59,088 44 46 Indiana .......102 Missouri .....110 1,518 70 83 32,941 34,500 42,189 56 54 U. S. Total... 101.9 41,625 83.0 88.8 1,231,728 1,299,823 1,302,516 46.3 45.3 *In thousands (000 omitted). Advices relative to the corn crop are almost uni versally pessimistic. Generally where planted the crop has a poor stand, and in the lowlands where moisture has hindered cultivation, weeds have made consider able headway. In many sections where cultivation should have been well under w ay at the middle of June, there was still much corn to be planted, and in some cases corn land was unplowed. On both sides of the Mississippi River considerable replanting has been necessary. Every day of sunshine is being taken advantage of to make up the delayed planting and cultivation, and there still remains sufficient time to accomplish much in this direction. H owever, it is generally conceded that ideal grow ing conditions to harvest and a late frost experience are needed to pro duce a normal crop. The June 1 condition of oats in this district was below the 10-year average, except in Indiana where it exceeds the average by 2 points. Generally, cutting of oats has been delayed by rains, which has resulted in a good immediate shipment demand and fair upturn in prices. The condition of hay is close to normal, the abund ant moisture having aided the growth of this crop. Many counties in the Northern tier of the district report the best clover prospects in a number of years. Cutting of all hay, however, is backward and dry weather is much needed for haying operations. Reports relative to fruit prospects in the district are varied and irregular. In the North the peach crop is largely a failure due to the severe winter. In the South the outlook is better, particularly in the com mercial areas. Apples promise well, though the aver age condition on June 1 was below that at the cor responding date last year. The drop has been heavy during the past three weeks, due to cool weather and storms, and blight has seriously injured the Jonathan crop in Arkansas. The condition of blackberries, rasp berries and melons indicates a yield slightly above normal. Commercial vegetable crops and gardens are from two to three weeks late and are in need of warm weather and less abundant moisture. The recent ex cessive rainfall has interfered with spraying and culti vation, and there are numerous complaints of the presence of insects and parasites in gardens and or chards. In spite of continued rains over the entire tobacco producing section, fair progress is reported in trans planting the 1924 crop. Unofficial estimates as of the middle of June indicate that 60 per cent of the burley, 70 per cent of the aircured and green river, and from 80 to 85 per cent of the fired dark tobacco crop in Kentucky and Tennessee had been planted, with ini tial growth mainly satisfactory. There were scattered reports of disease appearing in plant beds, but on the whole healthful conditions exist, and indications are for normal acreage in the chief producing areas. D eliv eries during the period under review were large, w^eather considered. Prices are generally satisfactory. An exception to the general belated conditions is rice, seeding of which has been completed with the crop generally up to an excellnt stand and from 15 to 30 days ahead of the corresponding period last year. Virtually the entire crop is being flooded, and the abundant rainfall has reduced the costs and labor involved in this operation. Unofficial estimates place the acreage in Arkansas at from 10 to 18 per cent in excess of last year. Farmers in the rice area generally more adequately financed than at any time since 1920. The movement of old crop rice continues satisfactory, with indications that stocks will be cleaned up by the end of June. Prices held steady. The condition of cotton in all States of the district on May 25 was below that of the corresponding date last year, also the 10-year average. Weather condi tions through M ay and the first half of June were unfavorable for growth and development of the plant, and the crop is reported from three to four weeks late. Soil conditions, however, are for the most part excellent, and conditions considered, fields are fairly clean. Much replanting has been necessary, particu larly in the most northern producing counties. There are some reports of boll weevil and other insect pests. Cotton The condition of cotton in the Eighth Federal Reserve District and the United States is given by the Department of Agriculture as follow s: Area planted (in cultiva Area picked, Yield per tion end of 1923, acre, 1923 June) 1923, revised revised revised Acres Lbs., lint 1924 1923 1922 1921 10-yr. av. Acres Arkansas ....58 66 76 70 74 3,120,000 3.026.000 98 Mississippi ..69 70 75 60 75 3,392,000 91 3.170.000 Missouri ....52 54 90 75 77 394,000 355,000 171 Tennessee ....54 70 79 69 75 1,221,000 1.172.000 92 U. S. Total..65.6 71.0 69.6 66.0 72.8 38,709,000 130.6 37,130,000 Condition, May 25. Com m odity Prices Range of prices in the St. Louis market between May 15, 1924, and June 14, 1924, with closing quota tions on the latter date, and on Tune 15, 1923: Close Wheat High Low June 14, 1924 June 15, 1923 $ 1 .0 1 ^ July .................. $1.11** $1,095* September ...... .... “ 1 3/ 1.04 .15 s 1.13% 1.07?* December ........ ..... “ 1.165/6 1.07 1.16& 1.10** No. 2 red winter.. “ 1.18 1.08 1.18 1.30 No. 2 hard........ ..... 1.02% $1.12 @ 1.13% $1.13 @ 1.14 “ 1.13*4 Corn .76 July ................. .... •81% “ .81*4 .83% September ...... .75% .8 0 ^ .8 0 ^ .775^ December ........ .... “ .74 .74 .7 m . 665* “ .85 .76% No. 2.................... .... .85 .86 No. 2 white.... .... “ .86 .85 @ .86 .8014 .88 Oats .49 .45 July ................. .48 .435* .49% No. 2 white.... .... “ .53% .53% .45% Flour Soft patent...... ...per bbl. 6.50 5.25 5.50 @ 6.50 5.50 @ 6.50 6 7y, 6.75 @ 6.95 .0 Spring patent... ..... “ 6.95 6.05 @ 6.30 .31% .29 % Middling cotton.... ...per lb. .30 .29 4.75 5.50 @ 7.25 4.50 @ 7.25 Hogs on hoof........ ...per cwt. 7.75 NOTE—May wheat closed at $1.04% ; May corn at 7 8 % c and May oats at 47$i. Live Stock M ovement Receipts and shipments at St. Louis, as reported by the National Stock Yards, were as follow s: Cattle and Calves......... Hogs .............................. Horses and Mules......... Sheep .............................. *In thousands (000 omitted). May 1924 ...102 ...392 ... 2 ... 33 ^Receipts Apr. May 1924 1923 87 98 420 388 3 4 26 54 *Shipments Apr. May May 1924 1924 1923 61 47 48 280 234 268 2 3 4 9 17 15 Com m odity Movement Receipts and shipments at St. Louis, as reported by the Merchants' Exchange, were as fo llo w s : May 1924 .................. ............. 3,077 Flour, bbls.... .............. 399 Hides, lbs..... ............. 6,512 ............. 5,718 Lead, pigs...... ............. 255 Lumber, cars. ............. 21 ............. 3,420 ............. 22,322 Wheat, bu..... ............. 1,731 Zinc, slabs.................. 260 *In thousands (000 omitted) ^Receipts_______ April May 1924 1923 379 504 3,587 1,617 381 394 5,234 4,583 6,567. 6,434 257 210 22 23 2,870 2,534 20,323 20,914 1,481 2,212 239 326 _____ * Shipments______ April May May 1924 1924 1923 20,405 21,643 24,046 2,054 1,858 1,086 421 426 485 8,853 6,738 8,579 11,216 12,743 14,956 202 195 106 14 14 16 2,545 2,317 2,147 27,681 28,861 33,543 1,471 1,393 2,303 293 217 251 B U IL D IN G The value of building permits issued in the five largest cities of the district during May fell sharply below the record total of April, but was only 3.8 per cent under the aggregate of May, 1923. Building oper ations in the large centers continued at an active pace during the period under review, with residential con struction still occupying an important place in the general activity. Reports from the smaller towns and rural districts in the South reflect extensive home building, particularly of small residences. Road build ing has been badly hampered by excessive rainfall, but it is planned to push forward the highway con struction programs as soon as weather conditions will permit. The trend of prices of building materials was slightly downward, and many manufacturers have caught up with their orders, with some reporting moderate accumulations. Production of portland cement for the country as a whole during May totaled 13,777,000 barrels, against 11,726,000 barrels in April and 12,910,000 in May, 1923. Building figures for M ay follow : New Construction Permits *Cost 1924 1923 1924 1923 . m m TFT $ 189 $ 278 W Evansville Little Rock..... 79 92 215 225 552 Louisville . 415 1,593 1,784 . 428 477 Memphis 1,691 2,007 St. Louis. .1,021 974 3,379 3,701 .2,013 2,234 $7,383 $7,679 .2,429 2,139 9,502 7,512 .2,057 1,797 8,047 7,725 *In thousands of dollars (000 omitted). Repairs, etc. Permits *Cost 1924 1923 1924 1923 TT 104" ?"l7 $ 20 74 114 142 76 163 199 115 139 91 62 30 146 727 747 761 465 1,231 1,283 $1,031 669 1,463 1,210 661 949 1,053 $728 855 918 F IN A N C IA L Generally abundant funds and a lower trend in interest rates, coupled with a slackening in the de mand for credit from commercial and industrial sources, featured the banking and financial situation in this district during the past thirty days. Commer cial banks, particularly in the large cities, report liqui dation of loans in good volume, with renewals and new borrow ing in many instances below the aggregate of payments by their customers. W holesalers in a number of important lines say that May settlements were somewhat above expectations, and find them selves with surplus funds on hand. Due to the late ness of the season, demands from the country to finance agricultural operations are below normal for this time of the year in typical grain areas. Banks in the cotton producing sections, however, are receiving heavy calls, especially in territory where replanting has been necessary during the past several weeks and additional seed and feed for farm animals has had to be purchased. Milling loans have been well cleaned up during the past month, and there has also been extensive liquidation of loans based on grain and live stock. The demand from stock raisers is less active than heretofore. Additional heavy advances to produc ers by the cooperative tobacco marketing associations have resulted in excellent liquidation on areas where tobacco is the chief crop. This bank’s quota of the issue of 2% Pe* cent “ U. S. Treasury Certificates of Indebtedness dated June 16 and due Decem ber 15, 1924, was largely over subscribed. The discount rate of this bank, which had held unchanged at 4 y2 per cent since April 6, 1922, was reduced to 4 per cent, effective June 19. Between M ay 15 and June 14 accom m odations granted to mem ber banks by this institution increased $135,965 and there was a decrease of $2,120,000 in Federal reserve note circulation. Commercial Paper Sales of reporting brokers in M ay were 3.5 per cent larger than for the same month in 1923, but 11.8 per cent under the April total this year. Generally offerings from all sources are light, with prime names especially scarce. The reduction in rates has had a tendency to curtail purchasing by country banks, buy ing being* confined almost exclusively to financial institutions in the larger centers. Rates ranged from 4 to AT2 per cent, with an occasional sale of strictly / prime paper at per cent. This compares with 4 % to 4 y2 per cent, the range prevailing during the preceding thirty days. Savings Deposits Number of ♦Amount of savings deposits June, 1924 June, 1924 banks June 11, May 7, June 6, comp, to comp, to reporting 1924 1924 1923 May, 1924 June, 1923 $ 9,090 Evansville .... 4 $ 9,053 $ 8,994 + 0.4% + 1.1% Little Rock.. 5 7,670 7,625 7,178 + 6.9 -f 0.6 Louisville .... 7 26,372 26,806 23,719 +13.0 + 1.6 Memphis ..... 4 19,322 18,826 + 19.9 16,112 + 2.6 St. Louis.......12 76,374 75,669 72,602 4- 5.2 + 0.9 Totals.....32 $139,262 *In thousaands (000 omitted). $137,545 $128,605 + 1-2 4- 8.3 Condition of Banks The follow ing statement shows principal resources and liabilities of reporting member banks in Evans ville, Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis, and St. L o u is : Investments Other Cash iri vault.. Bills payable and rediscounts with Federal reserve bank *May 14, *June 13, 1924 1923 t34 36 .$ 8,168 . 145,625 . 304,145 Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts) ♦June 11, 1924 . t34 $ 9,199 147,231 312,642 $ 11,727 140,983 299,806 .$457,938 $469,072 $452,516 . 14,309 . 22,805 5,049 . 13,763 . 1,865 , 92,023 14,810 22,361 4,378 14,111 3,313 92,049 15,336 23,450 9,024 23,994 10,490 87,635 .$149,814 . 39,937 7,504 , 355,464 . 197,049 . 1,849 $151,022 41,089 7,676 358,761 201,493 4,222 $169,929 40,535 8,225 359,942 181,536 8,819 8,860 1,114 1,600 12,853 All other.................................................. 4,656 3,847 ♦In thousands (000 omitted). fDecrease due to consolidation. Total resources of these 34 banks comprise approximately 54 per cent of the resources of all member banks in this district. Debits to Individual Accounts ♦For four weeks June 18, May 14, 1924 1924 E. St. Louis and Nat’l Stock Yards, 111..$ 37,038 El Dorado, Ark...... ...... 7,263 Evansville, Ind........ ...... 25,084 9,601 Fort Smith, Ark...... ...... Greenville, Miss...... ...... 3,114 3,525 Helena, Ark...,......... ...... Little Rock, Ark.... ...... 49,014 Louisville, Ky......... ...... 140,057 Memphis, Tenn........ ...... 103,277 Owensboro, Ky........ ...... 4,975 Quincy, 1 11............... ...... 9,868 St. Louis, Mo......... ...... 647,761 3,989 Sedalia, Mo............. Springfield, Mo........ ...... 6,946 $ 38,787 7,473 26,721 10,362 3,012 3,963 54,635 155,373 119,527 5,234 10,367 592,947 4,083 7,699 June 20, comp, to comp, to 1923 May, 1924 June, 1923 $ 40,380 12,099 29,691 10,929 2,962 3,611 47,632 150,821 114,520 5,098 10,574 652,817 — — —— 4.5% 2.8 6.1 7.3 4- 3.4 — 11.1 — 10.3 — 9.9 — 13.6 — 4.9 — 4.8 4- 9.2 — 2.3 ” 147776 — 9.8 ...$1,051,512 $1,040,183 *In thousands (000 omitted). 4- Ll — 8.3% — 40.0 — 15.5 — 12.2 4- 5.1 — 2.4 4- 2.8 — 7.1 — 9.8 — 2.4 — 6.7 — 0.8 — 53.0 — 4.4 Federal Reserve Operations During May the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted for 268 of its 633 member banks, which compares with 275 accommodated in April. Comparative statement of this bank follow s: R ESOU RCES Total reserves.... Non-reserve cash.. Bills discounted: U. S. Government securities: Bonds ...................................... ♦May 14, 1924 $ 63,685 2,426 ..$ 65,847 .. 24,700 .. 7,580 $ 66,111 22,127 7,636 $ 59,537 18,878 3,526 ..$ 98,127 .. 12,849 Gold settlement fund with F. R. ♦June 11, 1924 ..$ 61,736 Y 4,111 $ 95,874 14,078 $ 81,941 15,953 ..$110,976 .. 4,112 $109,952 3,972 $ 97,894 5,147 5,533 17,520 6,963 17,086 15,265 20,846 ..$ 23,053 1,743 $ 24,049 3,418 $ 36,111 9,077 5,136 1,830 6,150 5,002 360 s .. .. .. Total U. S. Government securities....$ ..$ 5,701 1,265 6,966 TOTAL RESOL L IA B IL IT IE S F. R. Notes in actual Deposits: Member banks-reser U. S. GovernmentOther deposits........ Deferred availability All other liabilities.. MEMO—Contingent liability on bills purchased for foreign correspondents. Ratio of total reserves to deposit and 6,966 $ 11,512 ..$ 31,762 .. 30,878 .. 1,920 200 $ 34,433 37,200 1,898 141 $ 56,700 37,320 991 189 ..$179,848 $187,596 $198,241 ..$ 62,627 $ 65,331 $ 73,910 68,333 2,115 378 69,283 1,681 749 70,337 1,157 766 .$ 70,826 „ 30,533 . 5,072 10,072 718 $ 71,713 34,685 5,075 10,072 720 $ 72,260 36,413 4,951 9,665 1,042 ,.$179,848 All other resources..... $187,596 $198,241 1,958 1,260 „ . 83.2% $ ♦June 13, 1923 $ 55,447 4,090 80.2% 1,288 67.0% *In thousands (000 omitted). COST OF L IV IN G Cost of living in the United States on May 15 had decreased three-tenths of one per cent from the level of April 15, according to the National Industrial Conference Board. The m ost important change within the month was a decrease of approximately 2 per cent in fuel prices. This decline was occasioned largely by decreases for bituminous coal in regions where it is an important domestic fuel. In the East, where anthra cite is used almost exclusively for domestic purposes, there were no decreases reported for anthracite, and decreases for anthracite in other parts of the country were not important. The purchasing value of the dollar, based on the cost of living in May, 1924, was 62 cents as contrasted with one dollar in July, 1914. (Compiled June 23, 1924) B U SIN E SS C O N D IT IO N S IN T H E U N IT E D S T A T E S Production The Federal Reserve Board’s index of production in basic industries, adjusted to allow for seasonal variations, declined about 11 per cent in May to a point 19 per cent below the peak reached a year ago. Particularly marked decreases were shown for production of iron and steel and mill consumption of cotton. Output of anthracite, cement and tobacco products, on the other hand, was slightly larger than in April. Prices Wholesale prices, as measured by the index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, declined 1 per cent during May to a level about 8 per cent below the high point reached in the Spring of 1923. Prices of all commodity groups, with the exception of food, declined in May. During the first half of June quotations on wheat, corn, rye and milk, increased, while prices of hogs, beef, cotton and lumber declined. Index of 22 basic commodities corrected for seasonal variation. Latest figure, May=103. Factory employment declined 4 per cent in May, the number of employees being reduced in almost all reporting industries. The largest reduction of working forces occurred in the textile, metal, automobile, and leather industries. The value of building contracts awarded in May was 13 per cent less than the month before and for the first time since the beginning of the year fell below the corresponding month in 1923. The Department of Agriculture forecasts as of June 1 indicated smaller yields of wheat, oats and barley as compared with the harvests of 1923. The condition of the cotton crop on May 25 was 5 per cent lower than a year ago and 7 per cent below the average condition for the past ten years. Trade Railroad shipments showed a slight increase in May, but were 8 per cent smaller than a year ago. Carloadings of all classes of freight, with the exception of grain and livestock, were smaller than in May, 1923. Wholesale trade decreased slightly in May and was 6 per cent less than in May, 1923. Sales of dry goods, shoes, and hardware were much smaller than a year ago, while drug sales were slightly larger. Retail trade at department stores and mail order houses declined during May more than is usual at that season and was smaller than last year. Department store stocks were 4 per cent smaller in May than in April and 3 per cent larger than a year earlier. Latest figure, M ay=147. Bank Credit Decreased demand for credit for current business require ments between the middle of May and the middle of June was reflected in a smaller volume of borrowing for commercial purposes at member banks in leading cities. Further purchases of corporate securities by these banks and larger loans on stocks and bonds, however, resulted in an increase for the month in their total loans and investments. There was an unusually large increase in net demand deposits of these banks, which carried the total of these deposits to the highest figure on record. At the Federal Reserve Banks between May 21 and June 18 there was a further decline in discounts for member banks and in acceptances purchased in the open market. Government security holdings, on the other hand, increased and total earn ings assets were somewhat larger than a month ago. The prevailing ease in the money market was reflected in a further decline from 4*4 to 3^>-3^4 per cent in rates on prime commercial paper in New York. The June 15 issue of six month Treasury Certificates bore a rate of 234 Per cent compared with 4 per cent on a similar offering last December. Discount rates at the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco were reduced from 4^2 to 4 per cent during June, and the rates in Boston, New York and Philadelphia were reduced to Zy2 per cent. Latest figure, M ay=93, Weekly figures for member banks in 101 leading cities. Latest figure, June 11.