View original document

The full text on this page is automatically extracted from the file linked above and may contain errors and inconsistencies.

MONTHLY REVIEW
Of Agricultural, Industrial, Trade and Financial
Conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District
RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION ON THE MORNING OF JUNE 30, 1936

FEDERAL

RESERVE

District Summary
Agriculture:

June 1, 1936, comp,
with output
1935
Av. 1928-32

Estimated produc. of Winter Wheat+- 0.2% +
_

,

4.5%

May, 1936 comp, with
Apr. 1936 May, 1935

Live Stock:
Receipts at National Stock Yards.—+ 7.4% — 2.0%
— 14.7
Shipments from aforesaid Yards...... — 9.0
Production and Distribution:
Sales by mfrs. and wholesalers.......... -f 8.6
Department store sales.......................— 1.7
Car loadings......................................... +- 3.1

— 18.4
+ 10.3
-f- 20.8

Building and Construction:
Bldg. permits, incl. repairs { CosT^^ + 7 7
Value construc. contracts awarded....— 2.1

+ 34 8
-j-102.4

Miscellaneous:
n
• 1 1 -t
S Number.......... +60.0
Commercial failures | Liabilities....... + 6 2 .2
Consumption of electricity................. -f 6.9
Debits to individual accounts............-j- 9.2

— 11.1
+ 76.0
-+ 9.2
+- 9.3

June 10/36 comp, with

Member Banks (24) :
May 13/36 June 12/35
Gross deposits...................................... — 0.5% -+ 11.3%
+- 6.7
Loans.................................................... — 0.4
Investments......................................... .— 8.7
-j" 3.3

drouth conditions of
greater or lesser severity and the customary
slowing down in certain manufacturing
lines incident to the hot weather, industry and trade
in the Eighth District during May, and the first
half of June, reflected a continuance of the steady
improvement wT
hich has characterized recent
months. In a number of types of productive activity
operations reached approximately the highest levels
since the predepression era. The betterment ex­
tended to both durable goods and commodities for
ordinary consumption and as has been the case
throughout this year, was most pronounced in the
former category. A particularly favorable exhibit
was made by the iron and steel industry, operations
at steel mills and foundries in the first half of June
being at the highest rate for any like period since
1931. This situation reflects heavier demands by the
railroads, in construction projects, farm implement
and tractor, refrigeration, and some other important
consuming groups, as well as broad miscellaneous
needs. The movement of lumber, cement, quarry

N

o t w it h s t a n d in g




BANK

OF

ST.

LOUIS

products, glass and other building materials was in
considerable volume, and substantially greater than
during the corresponding interval in 1935. Employ­
ment conditions as a whole underwent noticeable
improvement, being affected by absorption of work­
ers in agricultural and other seasonal occupations.
Distribution of wholesale merchandise in May,
as indicated by firms reporting to this bank, exceeded
by a large margin the volume of the preceding
m onth; in all lines investigated, except boots and
shoes, and groceries, increases were recorded over
May a year ago. Outstanding gains in the compari­
son with last year were achieved in the drug and
chemical, hardware, electrical supplies and furni­
ture classifications. Retail trade showed about the
expected decrease from April, but was in measurably
larger volume than in May, 1935. Retail sales of
automobiles declined slightly from April to May,
but the May total was approximately one-fourth
greater than for the same month a year ago. A
noteworthy feature in the retail trade generally,
according to the reporting interests, is the broader
diversity of merchandise being bought, an instance
being sport goods and vacation supplies, sales of
which this season have been in larger volume than
in any year since 1930.
In agriculture during the past thirty days the
dominating influence was dry weather, which in
many localities reduced prospects for certain crops,
principally vegetables and fruits. Taken as a whole,
however, Eighth District prospects are for average
or better yields of the principle productions. Winter
wheat improved from May to June, and indications
are for an output slightly above a year ago and 4.5
per cent greater than the 5-year (1928-1932) aver­
age. Corn planting has been completed and stands,
while spotted, are in the main favorable. Tobacco
planting has been delayed somewhat by the drouth.
Cotton has made good to excellent progress, with
cultivation unusually thorough and up to the sea­
sonal schedule. Prospects for fruits, particularly
peaches, apples, pears and cherries, continue among
the most discouraging in recent years, and a great
Page 1

many of the vegetable crops will be short. Rains
since June 1, have benefited the situation generally.
As reflected in sales of department stores in
the principle cities, the volume of retail trade in
May was 1.7 per cent smaller than April, and 10.3
per cent greater than in May, 1935; cumulative total
for the first five months this year was 9.8 per cent
in excess of that for the comparable period in 1935.
Combined sales of all wholesaling and jobbing inter­
ests reporting to this bank in May were 8.6 per cent
larger than in April, and 18.4 per cent less than the
May, 1935, total; cumulative total for the first five
months fell 6.2 per cent under that of the like inter­
val a year ago. The dollar value of permits issued
for new buildings in the five largest cities in May
was 31.7 per cent smaller than in April and 17.3
per cent greater than in May, 1935; aggregate for
the first five months this year exceeded that of the
same period in 1935 by 42 per cent. Dollar value of
construction contracts let in the Eighth Federal
Reserve District in May was 2.1 per cent smaller
than in April, and 102.4 per cent larger than in
May a year a g o ; for the first five months this year
cumulative total was 75.5 per cent greater than for
the like period in 1935.
According to officials of railroads operating in
this district, the volume of freight traffic handled
during May, and the first two weeks of June, was
the heaviest for any like period since 1931. As con­
trasted with a year ago, there were slight decreases
in the movement of live stock, but increases in all
other classifications, with particularly favorable
exhibits being made by grain and grain products,
ore, forest products and miscellaneous freight. Stim­
ulated by the heaviest vacation travel in recent
years, passenger business of the reporting roads
continued the steady upward trend which has been
in effect for the past several months. For the year
to the end of May, the cumulative total of merchan­
dise L.C.L., showed a moderate decline as com­
pared with a year ago, which fact is ascribable part­
ly to heavier shipments by trucks. Tonnage handled
by the Federal Barge Lines in May between St.
Louis and New Orleans w^as 5.8 per cent greater
than in April and 31.4 per cent larger than in May,
1935; and incidentally the heaviest for any month
in the history of the service.
Reports relative to collections generally indi­
cate a continuance of the high rate of efficiency
which has prevailed throughout the present year.
Wholesalers in the principle distributing centers
report that numerous customers are anticipating
their bills. City retail collections, as indicated by
department store reports, continue satisfactory.
Page 2



Questionnaires addressed to representative interests
in the several lines scattered through the district,
showed the following results:
Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

1.5%
May, 1936................. 2.9% 47.8% 47.8%
April, 1936................. 2.7
53.4
42.5
1.4
May, 1935................. 6.3
41.0
44.4
8.3
Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Re­
serve District in May, according to Dun and Bradstreet, numbered 40 and involved liabilities of
$480,000, against 25 defaults with liabilities of
$296,000 in April, and 45 insolvencies for a total of
$272,000 in May, 1935.

Detailed Survey
MANUFACTURING AND WHOLESALING
Stocks
Net Sales
May 31, 1936
May,, 1936
5 months 1936
compared with
comp, with same
comp, with
May 31, 1935
Apr. ’ 36 May ’ 35
period 1935
— 20.0%
+ 25.1 %
Boots and Shoes......... + 18.4% — 39.9%
+ 13.0
+ 11.9
+ 9.2
Drugs and Chemicals.. — 4.2
+ 2.0
— 6.3
+ 0.8
+ 5.9
+ 0.9
+ 12.7
+ 9.2
Electrical Supplies..... + 14.7
— 6.6
+ 16.8
+ 4.2
+22.3
— 12.7
— 5.2
— 9.3
— 0.7
+ 3.9
+ 5.1
+ 14.6
+ 10.0
Lines of
Commodities

All above lines........ + 8.6

— 18.4

— 6.2

+

1.5

Automobiles — Combined passenger car, truck
and taxicab production in the United States in May
was 460,565 against 502,775 in April, and 364,662 in
May, 1935.
Boots and Shoes — The decline of approximate­
ly 40 per cent in May sales of the reporting firms
under the same month a year ago is attributable to
an extraordinarily heavy volume in May, 1935. In
that month an increase of 42.7 per cent over the pre­
vious year was recorded, and an increase of 61.8
per cent over April, 1935. The increase in the
month-to-month comparison was seasonal,but some­
what larger than average. Ordering since the last
week in May, has been in considerable volume, and
indicates a fair increase for the entire month over
the corresponding period last year. Prices of both
finished goods and raw materials showed no appre­
ciable change compared with the past month.
Clothing — Reversing the usual seasonal trend,
sales of the reporting clothiers in May, showed an
increase of 35.5 per cent over the preceding month,
and the total was 12 per cent greater than in May,
1935. Inventories increased further, stocks on June
1, being 16 per cent and 37 per cent greater, respec­
tively, than a month and a year ago. The movement
of summer apparel,both men’s and women’s,through
retail channels has responded to the more season­
able weather, and a fair volume or reordering was
reported, particularly by retailers in the south.
Moderate betterment in sales of work clothing,
especially in rural areas, has taken place since April.

Drugs and Chemicals—A moderate decline was
shown in sales of the reporting firms in this classi­
fication during May, under the preceding month, but
for the eleventh consecutive month, the total was in
excess of that for the same month a year earlier. A
slight falling off in demand for heavy drugs and
chemicals from the general manufacturing trade was
noted, but this was counterbalanced by heavy order­
ing of seasonal merchandise, including soda foun­
tain supplies and equipment. Purchasing of insecti­
cides continues in considerable volume, reflecting
the unusually heavy numbers of insect pests
throughout this area.
Dry Goods — In practically all sections of the
district, business in this classification followed the
customary seasonal precedent, May sales of the re­
porting interests showing a moderate increase over
the month before, as well as a substantial gain over
the May, 1935, total. Inventories decreased in both
the month-to-month and yearly comparisons. Or­
dering since June 1, has shown a noticeable pickup,
the volume during the first half of the month indi­
cating an increase over the corresponding period a
year ago. Purchasing, however, is mainly for prompt
shipment, volume of advance buying being below
the average at this period during the past decade.
Electrical Supplies — Firms in this classifica­
tion report continuance of the steady expansion in
business which has been in effect for the past
eighteen months or more. May sales of the report­
ing group recorded increases over a month and a
year earlier, and the total was the largest for the
month since these records began in 1924. Outstand­
ing in the betterment has been the movement of
household appliances, including refrigeration and
washing machines, etc. As in earlier months this
year, electrical installations in new homes and other
classes of buildings have figured importantly in
volume of business.
Flour — Production at the twelve leading mills
of the district in May totaled 178,866 barrels, against
191,390 barrels (revised figure) in April, and 185,595
barrels in May, 1935. More activity was noted than
during the preceding thirty days, consumer stocks
being mainly light; there was more of a disposition
than heretofore to replenish depleted inventories.
However, following tbe usual precedent, numerous
buyers were holding off awaiting more definite
knowledge relative to the new wheat crop. A slight
expansion in export inquiry was noted in certain
quarters, but bids from abroad were mainly out of
line with millers' views and relatively little flour
was worked for foreign shipment.




Furniture — Sales and shipments of furniture
in May, according to the interests reporting to this
bank, were the largest for any month this year, and
incidentally the sales volume was the largest for
the month since 1929. Outstanding in the upturn is
improved demand for household furniture and fur­
nishings, in both the large cities and the country.
General business improvement is reflected in heavier
purchasing of office furniture and equipment.
Groceries — Some slowing down in ordering of
both staple goods and luxuries was noted during
May, most pronounced in the areas affected by the
drouth. Country merchants were disposed to pur­
chase with more caution until more definite infor­
mation to prospective crop yields is available. Taken
as a whole, prices showed only minor changes as
compared with the preceding thirty days.
Hardware — The increases in May sales of the
reporting firms over the preceding month and a year
ago extended generally through all lines, but in the
comparison with a year ago were most outstanding
in the case of builders’ hardware and tools, paints,
varnishes, roofing and kindred commodities. Three
leading interests report demand for sport goods this
season has been the best since predepression times.
Iron and Steel Products — Activities at mills,
foundries, machine shops and other ferrous metal
working plants in this district during May, and the
first half of June, continued at the high average
rate which obtained during the similar period imme­
diately preceding. Less than the usual seasonal
slowing down in certain lines was noted and in some
instances was entirely absent. Recessions where
they occurred were offset by increased production
at mills specializing in commodities for the rail­
road and building industries. Operations at mills
producing ingots at mid-June were 4 points higher
than a month earlier and at the highest points of
the year. Some slowing down at stove foundries
occurred during May, but since the first week in
June, schedules have been increased in response to
additional orders booked for fall delivery. Tractor
and farm implement interests report the volume of
orders during the first five months this year, the
largest since the 1929 peak. Releases by the auto­
motive industry have receded slightly since June 1,
but this recession has been more than offset by
structural, railroad, agricultural and miscellaneous
specifications. Announcement of advances in sheets,
plates and some other steel products, effective July
1, had a stimulating effect on ordering of the items
affected in order to take advantage of the lower
prevailing prices. Shipments of pig iron to melters
Page 3

in the district during May, were about on a parity
with the preceding month, but measurably greater
than in May, 1935. Producers have continued cur­
rent pig iron prices into the third quarter, and a
number of important consumers have entered the
market to cover their requirements for that period.
Iron and steel jobbing and warehouse interests re­
port a steady volume of trade and purchasing well
diversified. Demand for sheets, including galvanized
material and tin plate, is reported brisk and well
above a year ago. Operations at fabricating plants
were steady. While structural steel awards declined,
backlogs are sufficient to sustain the present rate
of activity through the next two or three months.
Scrap iron and steel prices continued to decline
through May and early June, but in the immediate
past the downturn was halted, and symptoms of
strengthening were apparent in certain grades. For
the country as a whole, according to the Magazine
“ Steel” , production of pig iron in May amounted
to 2,659,643 tons, a gain of 250,169 tons, or 10.4 per
cent over the 2,409,474 tons of the preceding month
and comparing with 1,735,577 tons produced in May,
1935. Steel ingot production in the United States
in May, totaled 4,046,253 tons, against 3,942,254
tons in April, and 2,633,661 tons in May, 1935.

ments showing activities in the leading cities of the
district:
Stock
Stock
on Hand Turnover
Net Sales
May, 1936
5 mos. 1936 May 31/36 Jan. 1, to
comp, with May 31,
compared with
to same
Apr. 1936 May 1935 period ’ 35 May 31,’ 35 1936 1935
1.13 1.12
— 6.8 %
El Dorado, Ark......... + 17.0% + 0.7% — 3.4%
.96
1.04
+ 4.5
Fort Smith, Ark......... + 0.5
+22.0
+15.8
1.19
.95
— 6.7
Little Rock, Ark....... + 15.7
+17.1
+15.9
1.75 1.53
— 1.3
Louisville, K y........... + 1.0
+17.6
+12.2
1.32 1.22
—
1.8
Memphis, Tenn......... + 9.5
+ 6.7
+ 7.2
1.70 1.60
— 0.3
St. Louis, M o........... — 7.6
+ 8.2
+ 9.0
.94
1.09
— 12.6
Springfield, M o........ + 19.2
+11.6
+13.5
1.27 1.26
+ 6.8
All Other Cities....... + 11.2
+ 23.6
+11.0
1.57 1.44
—
1.2
8th F. R. District....— 1.7
+10.3
+ 9.8

Percentage of collections in May, to accounts
and notes receivable first day of May, 1936, by cities,
follow s:
Memphis, Tenn...................... 42.1%
El Dorado, Ark....................... 45.8%
Springfield, M o............. ..........32.8
Fort Smith, Ark..................... 36.2
St. Louis, M o........................ 56.0
Little Rock, Ark........... ....... 36.5
All Other Cities..................... 41.4
Louisville, K y........................ 51.4
8th F. R. District. .................. 50.3%

Specialty Stores — May results in men’s fur­
nishings and boot and shoe lines are shown in the
following table:
Stock
___________ Net Sales_____________ on Hand
May, 1936
5 mos. 1936 May 31/36
compared with
to same comp, with
Apr. 1936 May 1935 period ’ 35 May 31/35
Men’s Furnishings.... + 0.9% + 25.1 %
+ 12.9 %
+ 4.6%
Boots and Shoes....... + 0.4
+27.4
+13.0
+ 2.3

Stock
Turnover
Jan. 1, to
May 31,
1936 1935
1.07 1.03
2.77 2.28

Percentage of collections in May to accounts
and notes receivable first day of May, 1936, follow s:
Men’ s Furnishings................. 32.8%

Boots and Shoes........................41.0%

MINING

AGRICULTURE

Production of soft coal in fields of the Eighth
District in May declined from April about the
average seasonal amount, but the May output, ac­
cording to the U. S. Bureau of Mines, was approxi­
mately 3 per cent greater than in that month a year
ago; the cumulative total for the first five months
this year was 7.8 per cent greater than for the com­
parable period in 1935. In Illinois, according to the
Illinois State Department of Mines and Minerals,
there were 123 mines in operation during May, a
decrease of 18 from April, and 2,333,640 tons were
produced, which compares with 3,023,452 tons in
April and 2,419,909 tons in May, 1935. Following
the Supreme Court decision in the Guffey Act,
numerous consumers who had postponed advance
commitments have come into the market for their
requirements. For the country as a whole, produc­
tion of bituminous coal in May was estimated at
28,678,000 tons, which compares with 30,318,000
tons in April and 26,849,000 tons in May, 1935.
For the calendar year to the end of May output
amounted to 170,934,000 tons as against 159,106,000
tons for the comparable period in 1935.

According to the U. S. Department of Agricul­
ture and the agricultural departments of the several
states, Eighth District crop prospects as a whole
declined in May. The deterioration was attributa­
ble almost solely to lack of precipitation, though in
some localities visitation of insect pests was a con­
tributing factor. Dry conditions were unusually
spotty, with even adjoining counties showing
marked difference in crop progress. Most severely
affected by the drouth were sections of Tennessee,
Kentucky, Arkansas and Indiana, but injury here
was not as extensive as in other parts of the country.

RETAIL TRADE

Department Stores — The condition of retail
trade is reflected in the following comparative state­
Page 4



Except in extremely dry sections, and where
acreage abandonment was large, conditions favored
development of winter wheat, prospects in states of
this district having improved slightly from May
to June. Oats and other spring grains have done
well, though lack of rain is reflected in some thin
and irregular stands. Prospects for an unusually
short fruit crop in the Eighth District continue, and
have been accentuated by the dry weather. In
numerous important growing sections peaches, ap­
ples and pears are a virtual failure, and elsewhere
the conditions range from fair to poor. Prices of
farm products advanced during May and early June;
that group of commodities in the Bureau of Labor

Index standing at 76.5 per cent of the 1926 average
on June 6, against 76.2 per cent on May 9, 77.4 per
cent on May 16, and 79.9 per cent on June 8, 1935.
Labor employed on farms on June 1, showed about
the average seasonal increase over a month earlier,
with generally an adequate supply, though other
projects have absorbed farm labor at prices difficult
for farmers to pay.
Corn — Practically all of the district corn crop
had been planted by the end of May, weather favor­
ing rapid progress of field work, and as a whole
cultivation is somewhat ahead of the seasonal
schedule. Universally fields are clean, and stands,
though varying, average fair to good. Throughout
the district rains are badly needed for development
of the crop, though since June 1, precipitation in
many sections has been adequate to carry on for the
next few weeks. Relatively best crops are in river
and creek bottoms, stands in uplands being spotty.
Cotton — Except in limited areas of this district
accutely affected by the drouth, the cotton crop
made good progress. In Arkansas and Missouri, as
in other sections, weather has been too dry for other
crops, but almost ideal for cotton. Cultivation has
been intensive, right up to the seasonal schedule
and stands almost universally the best at this time
in a number of years. Chopping has been practically
completed, and there are relatively few complaints
of insect troubles, though insects other than those
classified as cotton enemies were seldom more
numerous than during the present season. Accord­
ing to the National Fertilizer Association sales of
fertilizer tags in states of the Eighth District in
May were 65.5 per cent greater than for the same
month last year, and for the period January-May
the total was 16.4 per cent and 34.4 per cent greater,
respectively, than for the same periods in 1935 and
1934. Demand for raw cotton continued active, with
the trend of prices upward. Throughout the 12c
loan cotton movement, the price remained firm,
with slight advances noted through each contract
month. In the St. Louis market the middling grade
ranged from 11.00c to 11.50c per pound between
May 15, and June 15, closing at 11.50c on the latest
date, which compares with 11.00c on May 15, and
11.65c on June 15,1935. Combined receipts at Arkan­
sas and Missouri compresses from August 1, 1935
to May 29, 1936, totaled 1,019,358 bales, against
959,700 bales for the corresponding period a year
earlier. Stocks on hand as of May 29, were 346,759
bales against 396,140 bales on May 1, and 546,720
bales on the like date in 1935.
Fruits and Vegetables — According to June 1
indications, the production of fruits generally and




some important vegetables in the Eighth District
will be rather light in 1936. The extremely low tem­
peratures of last winter caused further loss of apple
and peach trees and the freezes in early April de­
stroyed fruit buds in many leading producing sec­
tions. The forecast for peach production in states
of the district, based on the June 1 condition, is for
2.223.000 bushels, which would be among the small­
est since 1921, and compares with 8,656,000 bushels
produced in 1935 and the 5-year (1928-1932) average
of 7,056,000 bushels. Pear production is forecast at
975.000 bushels, against 1,813,000 bushels harvested
last year and the 5-year average of 1,624,000 bushels.
The lowr June 1 conditions of apples suggests one
of the smallest crops in recent years. In certain
commercial orchards in Missouri, Illinois and Indi­
ana, the crop is practically nil. Cherries and plums
range from small crops to complete failure. The
strawberry yield was drastically reduced by the
drouth, but raisers were partly compensated by the
relatively high prices received. Commercial truck
crops also suffered from the dry weather, and the
same is true of home gardens, the condition of which
on June 1, was the lowest for the date in recent
years. Indications are for a white potato crop small­
er than a year ago and the 5-year average. Grapes
have suffered relatively little from the drouth, and
prospects point to an average crop, though early and
extensive insect visitations have cut prospects in
many localities. Planting of sweet potatoes and set­
ting of tomato plants has been delayed by the dry
spell. While recent precipitation has helped the
situation, general rains are needed to prevent fur­
ther retrogression.
Live Stock — The condition of livestock is re­
ported generally good, though in many localities
adequate stock water was lacking and it has been
necessary to supply the deficiency by hauling. The
condition of hay and pastures in states of the dis­
trict on June 1, was somewhat lower than a year
ago and the 10-year (1923-1932) average.
Receipts and shipments at St. Louis as reported
by the National Stock Yards were as follows:
_________Receipts_______
May,
Apr.,
May,
1936
1936
1935
Cattle and Calves..... 99,965 95,262 110,911
Hogs ♦ .........................183,048 183,533 165,903
Horses and Mules..... 2,699
3,930
4,265
Sheep ........................ 60,290 39,452 71,985
Totals.................... 346,002 322,177 353,064

______ Shipments________
May,
Apr.,
May,
1936
1936
1935
58,995 58,365 67,831
100,705 115,588 116,300
2,376
4,988
4,198
10,517 10,732 13,906
172,593 189,673 202,235

Tobacco — Considerable apprehension exists
among farmers because of the prolonged period of
scant rainfall, which has served to delay planting
of all types of tobacco. Growers have endeavored
to save plants in beds by watering; as of June 12,
Page 5

practically all the setting accomplished was by
machines, which provide for watering the plants
as they are set. Very little progress has been made
in the hill lands. There have been complaints of
cut worms destroying plants, necessitating replant­
ing, which will result in uneven stands.
In the Blue Grass district and in Central Ken­
tucky counties, considerable progress has been
made, and as of June 12, it was estimated that 65
per cent of the intended acreage was planted. In
other Kentucky counties and elsewhere where Bur­
ley tobacco is raised, not more than 30 to 35 per
cent of intended acreage was planted as of that date.
In the Owensboro Stemming district about 50 per
cent of the crop had been planted, with a fairly
good stand, and the supply of plants is ample to
set the remainder of the crop when conditions per­
mit. As of June 12, in the Eastern Dark Fired
tobacco district about 75 per cent of the intended
crop was planted, and in the Western district about
85 per cent was planted.

to June 6, totaled 14,499,703 cars, against 13,324,706
cars for the comparable period in 1935, and 13,548,417 cars in 1934. Estimated tonnage of the Federal
Barge Line between St. Louis and New Orleans in
May, was 199,100 tons, the largest recorded for any
month in the history of the service, and comparing
with 188,133 in April, and 151,530 in May, 1935.
CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY

Public utilities companies in six large cities of
the district report consumption of electric current
by selected industrial customers in May as being
about 6.9 per cent in excess of April, and 9.2 per cent
greater than in May, 1935. Detailed figures follow :
No. of
May,
Apr.,
May, 1936
Custom­
1936
1936
comp, with
ers
*K .W .H . *K .W .H . Apr., 1936
2,922
2,824
Evansville .... 40
+ 3.5%
Little Rock... 35
1,959
1,702
+ 15.1
Louisville .... 82
8,410
7,818
+ 7.6
1,743
1,947
+ 11.7
Pine Bluff.... 20
408
463
— 11.9
22,065
20,721** + 6.5
Totals..... 407
37,711
*In thousands (000 omitted).
**Revised figures.

35,271**

+

6.9

May, May, 1936
comp, with
1935
*K .W .H . May, 1935
2,958
— 1.2%
1,710
+ 14.6
7,798** + 7.8
1,549
+25.7
325
+25.5
20,163** + 9.4
34,£03**

+ 9.2

BUILDING
COMMODITY PRICES

Range of prices in the St. Louis market be­
tween May 15, 1936, and June 15, 1936, with clos­
ing quotations on the latter date and on June 15,
1935, follow :
High
Wheat
July ................... per bu ..$ .8754
Sept...................... ... “
.88 54
Dec.................... ......“
.9 0 ^
No. 2 red winter “
1.02
No. 2 hard “
“
1.17J*
Corn
.62
July ................... ... “
Sept...................... “
.59 ^
.555^
*D ec....................... “
#No. 2 Mixed Corn “
.67J4
*No. 2 White
“ “
.7254
Oats
*July ................... “
•25*4
*No. 2 White .... “
.2954
Flour
Soft Patent....... per bb . 5.60
6.85
Spring “ .......
“
.1150
Middling Cotton...per lb
Hogs on H oof..... per cw> .10.35
*Nominal quotations.

Close
June 15, 1936
June 15, 1935

Low
$ .8254
.8 2 #
•85H
.94
1.0454

$

.8754
.8854
.905/s
.96
1.0454

$

.77
.7754
•79*4
.8354
.92

.59*4
.5 7H
.52
.61
.6554

•62J4
.5954
.54**
.64
.7254

.80^
•74J4
.62*4
.86
.9054

.23 H
.27

.25&
.2854

.34
.4054

4.50
6.40
.1100
8.25

4.50@ 4.90
6.65@ 6.85
.1150
8.40@10.30

5.40@5.90
6.85@7.70
.1165
8.40@9.80

The dollar value of permits issued for new con­
struction in the five largest cities of the district in
May was 31.7 per cent smaller than in April and
17.3 per cent more than the May, 1935 total. A c­
cording to statistics compiled by the F. W . Dodge
Corporation, construction contracts let in the Eighth
Federal Reserve District in May, amounted to
$16,409,189 which compares with $16,760,791 in
April, and $8,106,129 in May, 1935. Building figures
for May, follow :
New construction
*Cost
Permits
1936
1935
1936
1935
Evansville .. 50
46
$ 113 $ 196
7
8
Little Rock
17
14
168
Louisville .. 87
58
230
Memphis ... 160
193
741
127
St. Louis.... 287
225
554
458
May Totals 601
April
“
695
Mar.
“
732
*In thousands.

TRANSPORTATION

The St. Louis Terminal Railway Association,
which handles interchanges for 28 connecting lines,
interchanged 88,616 loads in May, against 85,959
loads in April and 73,378 loads in May, 1935. Dur­
ing the first nine days of June the interchange
amounted to 26,330 loads, against 26,352 loads dur­
ing the first nine days of May, and 22,336 loads in
the corresponding period in 1935. Passenger traffic
of the reporting roads in May was one-fourth great­
er in the number of passengers carried and onefifth larger in revenue, than during the same month
a year ago. For the entire country loadings of
revenue freight for the first 23 weeks this year, or
Page 6



519
529
506

1,652
2,420
1,339

904
957
1,365

Repairs, etc.
*Cost
Permits
1936 1935
1936
1935
112
115
$ 38 $ 44
35
19
84
106
77
77
24
51
90
79
149
252
100
260
195
113
682
681
705

725
745
734

276
304
522

340
317
352

LIFE INSURANCE

Sales of new, paid-for, ordinary life insurance
in states including the Eighth District during May,
the preceding month, and a year ago, together with
the cumulative totals for the first five months this
year and the comparable period in 1935 are shown
in the following table:
(In thousands
of dollars)
.$

Mississippi......
.

May,
Jan.-May, Inc.,
Apr.,
May,
1935
1936
1935
1936
1936
2,609 $ 2,400 $ 2,573 $ 12,156 $ 14,037
40,539
200,555
229,844
40,283
38,937
59,021
10,910
11,003
52,282
10,649
29,196
24,532
4,968
5,455
4,746
10,841
11,309
2,303
2,188
2,196
81,253
14,982
14,450
15,396
71,993
29,253
5,394
5,627
25,495
5,087

. 79,467
United States..,, 503,530

80,447
506,207

CumuL
change
— 13.4%
— 12.7
— 11.4
— 16.0
— 4.1
— 11.4
— 12.8

82,781
397,854 453,913 — 12.4
500,380 2,474,261 2,765,228 — 10.5

MONEY AND BANKING

During the past thirty days the demand as a
whole from mercantile and industrial sources devel­
oped no change from the quiet conditions which
have prevailed in recent months. As has been the
case for a considerable while, high efficiency of col­
lections, coupled with relatively small commitments
for distant requirements, has enabled merchants and
manufacturers to finance themselves to a large ex­
tent with their own resources. Seasonal demand
for financing agricultural operations has been less
in evidence than during past years. Country banks
for the most part are in an unusually liquid position
and able to meet all demands upon them without
recourse upon their city correspondents. Grain
handlers and flour milling interests are arranging
credit lines for the present crop, but thus far loans
in that category have not increased perceptibly.
Liquidation in the important early truck and fruit
areas continues in considerable volume.
Member Banks — Loans and investments of
the reporting member banks in leading cities de­
clined 5.7 per cent between May 13, and June 10;
"other securities'’ increased 4.6 per cent while
Governments decreased 17.4 per cent. Gross depos­
its changed only slightly during the four week
period, but contained measurably higher than a year
ago. Reserve balances increased sharply and on
June 10, were the highest since last February, and
more than one-fourth greater than on the corre­
sponding report date in 1935.
A composite statement of the principal resource
and liability items of the reporting member banks
is given in the following comparative table:
June 10,
(In thousands of dollars)
1936
Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts) :
Secured by U. S. Gov’ t obligations,
and other stocks and bonds............. $ 69,021
All other loans and discounts............. 163,798

May 13,
1936

June 12,
1935

$ 69,056
164,769

$ 58,546
159,625

Total loans and discounts.............. ...... ...232,819

233,825

218,171

Investments:
U. S. Gov’ t securities........................... .200,446
Other securities...................................... .166,087

242,714
158,789

219,002
135,989

Total investments..................................... . 366,533

401,503

354,991

Demand deposits........................................ 659,483
Time deposits............................................. 180,952

664,296
179,961

579,373
175,739

Gross deposits....................................... . 840,435

844,257

755,112

Reserve balances with F. R. Bank....... 121,465
Cash in vault............................................... 11,248
Bills payable and rediscounts with
Federal Reserve Bank..........................................

101,557
11,578

96,165
9,652

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

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

Number of banks reporting.....................
24
24
24
The total resources of these banks comprise approximately 63.4%
of all member banks in this district.

The aggregate amount of savings deposits held
by selected banks on June 3, was 0.6 per cent larger
than on May 6, and 3.5 per cent greater than on
June 5, 1935.




Interest rates remained around the low levels
of recent months. At downtown St. Louis banks
rates charged, as of the week ended June 15, were as
follows: Customers’ prime commercial paper, \l 2
/
to 5$4 per cent; collateral loans, l x 2 to 6 per cent;
/
loans secured by warehouse receipts, 2 to 5 per cent;
interbank loans, 3y2 per cent and cattle loans, 4 to
6 per cent.
Federal Reserve Operations — Changes in the
principal assets and liabilities of this bank appear
in the following table:
June 19,
(In thousands of dollars)
1936
Industrial advances under Sec. 13b.......,$
563
Other advances and rediscounts.............
110
Bills bought (including participations).,
87
U. S. securities......................................... , 123,200

May 19,
1936
$
565
2
87
123,200

June 19,
1935
$
517
14
81
108,200

Total earning assets.............................. . 123,960

123,854

108,812

Total reserves .......................................... . 254,943
Total deposits ........................................... , 203,849
F. R. Notes in circulation...................... .. 167,547

224,916
180,835
161,348

199,981
166,585
138,801

1,845

1,835

1,794

Ratio of reserve to deposit
and F. R. Note liabilities................... , 68.6%

65.7%

65.5%

Industrial commitments under Sec. 13b

The rates of this bank for accommodations
under the Federal Reserve Act remain unchanged.
Complete schedule of rates follow s:
2% per annum for rediscounts and advances to member banks, under
Sections 13 and 13a.
2l 2% per annum for advances to member banks, under Section 10b.
/
A]/2% per annum for rediscounts, purchases and advances to member
banks (including nonmember banks and other financing institu­
tions), under Section 13b.
y2% flat for commitments not exceeding six months to member banks
(including nonmember banks and other financing institutions),
to rediscount, purchase or make advances, under Section 13b.
5y2% per annum for advances to established industrial or commercial
businesses, under Section 13b.
4% per annum for advances to individuals, firms or corporations (in­
cluding nonmember banks), secured by direct obligations of the
United States, under Section 13.
5T % per annum for advances to individuals, partnerships and corpora­
A
tions (excluding nonmember banks), under Section 13.

Debits to Individual Accounts — The following
comparative table of debits to individual accounts
reflects spending trends in this district:
(In thousands
May,
1936
of dollars)
East St. Louis and Natl.
Stock Yards, 111..$ 27,629
El Dorado, Ark....
3,792
Evansville, Ind.... . 26,691
Fort Smith, Ark... .
9,271
Greenville, Miss...
4,063
Helena, Ark.........
1,453
Little Rock, Ark.. . 29,857
Louisville, K y...... . 142,679
Memphis, Term.... 105,954
Owensboro, Ky.... .
4,742
Pine Bluff, Ark... .
6,400
Quincy, 111...........
7,464
St. Louis, M o...... . 598,707
Sedalia, M o.......... .
1,898
Springfield, M o.... . 13,900
**Texarkana, Ark .
6,594

Apr.,
1936

May,
1935

$ 26,998
4,233
26,214*
9,595
3,909
1,308
33,639
149,619
99,535
4,650
7,079
7,150
513,133
1,923
12.834
6,064

$ 26,529
3,718
20,638
8,058
3,162
1,341
31,818
138,844
87,803
4,207
5,608
6,377
547,852
1,897
13,887
4,809

Totals.......... . 991,094

907,883*

906,548

May, 1936 comp, with
Apr. 1936 May 1935
+ 2.3%
— 10.4
+ 1.8
— 3.4
+ 3.9
+ 11.1
— 12.2
— 4.6
+ 6.3
+ 2.0
— 9.6
+ 4.4
+ 16.7
— 1.3
+ 8.3
+ 8.7
+ 9.2

+ 4.1%
• + 2.0
+29.3
+ 15.1
+28.5
+ 8.4
— 6.2
+ 2.8
+20.7
+ 12.7
+ 14.1
+ 17.0
+ 9.3
+ 0.1
+ 0.1
+37.1
+ 9.3

* Revised figure.
**Includes one bank in Texarkana, Texas, not in Eighth District.
Note— Above figures include total debits charged by banks to check­
ing accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposit accounts, and trust
accounts, of individuals, firms, corporations and U. S. Government.
Charges to accounts of banks, debits in settlement of clearing house
balances, payments of cashiers’ checks, charges to expense and miscel­
laneous accounts, corrections and similar charges, are not included.

(Completed June 23, 1936)

Page 7

NATIONAL SUMMARY OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS
BY B OARD OF GOV E R N O R S OF F E D E R A L R E SE RV E SYSTEM

Volume of industrial production, which had increased sharply
in April, was maintained in May, and there was an increase in
distribution of commodities to consumers.
Production and Employment — The Board’s seasonally ad­
justed index of industrial production in May was 101 per cent
of the 1923-1925 average, as compared with 100 per cent in April.
Production of durable manufactures increased further, reflecting

larger than a year ago when residential building was first begin­
ning to increase from the extremely low level of the depression.
Distribution — Department store sales, which usually decline
at this season, increased from April to May and there was also
a rise in sales at variety stores and mail order houses. Freightcar loadings increased by slightly more than the usual seasonal
amount.

Index of physical volume of production, adjusted for seasonal variation, 1923-1925
average = 100. By months, January, 1929, through May, 1936.
Latest figure May, preliminary, 101.

Indexes compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1926 = 100.
By months, 1929 to 1931; by weeks, 1932 to date. Latest figures are for week
ending June 20, farm products 77.4, foods 79.7, other commodities 78.7.

larger output of steel and lumber, partly offset in the total by a
reduction in the output of automobiles from the high level of
April. At steel mills, the rate of activity in May was higher than
at any other time since the spring of 1930. This level has been
maintained in June, reflecting in part some accumulation of steel
by fabricators in advance of the effective date of recently an­
nounced price increases. Declines in production were reported for
many nondurable manufactures; at woolen mills, however, activity
increased. Output of bituminous coal declined from April to
May, while output of crude petroleum continued in large volume.
Factory employment increased slightly between the middle of
April and the middle of May, contrary to the usual seasonal ten­
dency. Increases were reported at plants producing iron and
steel products, machinery, and most other durable manufactures.
Changes in employment in industries producing nondurable man-

Commodity Prices — Wholesale prices of commodities, which
had declined from the middle of April to the middle of May, have
advanced somewhat since that time and in the week ending June
20, were at 78.7 per cent of the 1926 average, according to the
index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In recent weeks, prices
of livestock and livestock products, grains, flour, and textile raw
materials, and finished products have advanced. For many steel
products price increases have been announced to take effect early
in the third quarter.
Bank Credit— Excess reserves of member banks, after a slow
increase in May and the early part of June, declined by $900,000,000 in the week ending June 17. The reduction in excess reserves
was due principally to an increase in the deposits maintained at
the Reserve banks by the Treasury, which received large pay­
ments for new securities issued, as well as quarterly tax install-

1929

1930

1931

1932

1933

1934

1935

1936

Indexes of number employed and payrolls, without adjustment for seasonal
variation, 1923-1925 average = 100. By months, January, 1929, through May,
1936. Latest figure May, employment 85.6, payrolls 79.2.

ufactures were largely of a seasonal nature. Factory payrolls
were somewhat larger in the middle of May than a month earlier.
Total value of construction contracts awarded, according to
figures of the F. W. Dodge Corporation, declined slightly from
April to May. Awards for residential building continued to in­
crease and in May, as in other months this year, were substantially
Page 8




/W ednesday figures, January 31, 1934 through June 17, 1936.

ments. At that time the Treasury began to distribute checks and
adjusted service bonds to veterans. There was an increase in the
demand for currency in connection with the cashing of these
bonds and checks.
United States Government obligations held by reporting mem­
ber banks in leading cities, which had increased somewhat in
May and early June, showed a further sharp increase in the week
ending June 17, in connection with the new issue of Government
securities. Bank loans also increased.