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Of Agricultural> Industrial, Trade and Financial
Conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District
Released for Publication On and After the Afternoon of March 28, 1931
J O H N S. W O O D ,
Chairman and Federal Reserve Agent



R R E G U L A R IT Y and spottiness marked the
progress of general business in this district
during the past thirty days. Industry as a
whole maintained the gains noted in the preceding
issue of this review, and adjusted for a shorter work­
ing month, February returns showed increases in a
number of lines as compared with January, though
still recording substantial decreases under the cor­
responding period in 1930, and the average during
the past decade. Activities at iron and steel plants
were at a somewhat higher rate than during the
opening month of the year, and higher operating
schedules were in effect at establishments producing
some descriptions of building materials, notably
cement, glass, fire clay, and quarry products. There
were gains in output of shoe and apparel factories
engaged in manufacturing goods for the Easter
trade and seasonal merchandise. However other
sections of these same industries failed to show im­
provement, and in some, decreases were reported.
The unusually mild weather of February and early
March adversely affected the bituminous coal indus­
try, productions in all fields of the district being
much under the seasonal average. Many textile
mills in the south continued to operate on reduced
schedules and no betterment has taken place in the
dull conditions obtaining in the lumber, cottonseed
and other important industries.
Distribution made a relatively less favorable
showing than in the case of production, and contin­
ues to reflect extreme conservatism on the part of
retail merchants and ultimate consumers, W ith the'
exception of a few classifications affected by season­
al considerations, the volume of busines5 of whole­
salers and jobbers in February was smaller than in
January. In all lines investigated by this bank,
February sales were below those of the correspond­
ing month in 1930 and the average of the preceding
five years. Retailers generally, but more particular­
ly in the country and smaller centers of population,
are purchasing only sufficient goods for immediate
or near-by requirements. The movement o f season­
al merchandise has been curtailed by the mild, open


A ssistant Federal Reserve Agent




J. V I O N P A P IN ,


winter, and recent special sales of such goods at con­
siderable price concessions have met with only fair
response. Since the first week in March, postponed
buying for spring distribution has accelerated the
movement of apparel, groceries, boots and shoes and
other lines for ordinary consumption.
Sentiment in the agricultural areas has been
considerably improved by general rains, which
served in many areas to break the long winter
drought. Weather conditions have been ideal for
field work, and preparation of the soil for seeding
spring crops is further advanced through the dis­
trict than at any similar period in recent years. In
areas acutely affected by last year’s record drought,
efforts of Governmental and other agencies have
substantially improved the situation in regard to
financing crop planting and carrying livestock until
new crops are available. Farmers are formulating
their spring programs with considerably more confi­
dence than was thought possible earlier in the sea­
son. Supply of farm laborers is largely in excess of
demand, due partly to workers returning to the
country because of depressed conditions in the in­
dustrial centers. Employment in the district as a
whole showed slight improvement as compared with
the preceding thirty days, though the surplus of
both skilled and common labor continues large.
Aggregate sales of department stores in the
principal cities of the district in February were
slightly larger than in January, but 18.5 per cent
smaller than in February, 1930. Combined January
and February sales were 13.0 per cent smaller than
for the same period a year ago. Total February sales
of all wholesale and jobbing firms reporting to this
bank decreased 23.0 per cent as compared with the
same month in 1930, and 8.0 per cent as compared
with January this year. Contracts let for construc­
tion in the Eighth District in February represented
the smallest aggregate for any single month since
January, 1925, when compilation of these records
began. The dollar value building permits issued for
new construction in the five largest cities of the
district in February was slightly greater than for

the same month in 1930, but about one-fourth less
than the January total this year. Charges to indi­
vidual checking accounts in February were 21.0 per
cent smaller than in January, and 23.0 per cent less
than in February, 1930. The amount of savings ac­
counts on March 4 was slightly larger than on Feb­
ruary 4, and 2.7 per cent smaller than on the cor­
responding date a year ago.
According to officials of railroads operating in
this district, both freight and passenger traffic con­
tinued in considerably smaller volume than during
the same period a year and two years ago. Decreases
in both comparisons were particularly large in the
case of merchandise and miscellaneous freight. The
unusually mild winter and depression in industry
were reflected in a sharp decline in the volume of
coal and coke transported. For the country as a
whole, loadings of revenue freight for the first nine
weeks this year, or to February 28, totaled 6,326,222
cars, against 7,753,451 cars for the corresponding
period last year, and 8,315,792 cars in 1929. The St.
Louis Terminal Railway Association, which handles
interchanges for 28 connecting lines, interchanged
164,030 loads in February, against 173,098 loads in
January, and 198,531 loads in February, 1930. Dur­
ing the first nine days of March the interchange
amounted to 64,680 loads, against 51,754 loads dur­
ing the corresponding period in February, and
64,274 loads during the first nine days of March,
1930. Passenger traffic of the reporting roads in
February decreased 15 per cent as contrasted with
the same month a year ago. Estimated tonnage
of the Federal Barge Line between St. Louis and
New Orleans in February was 69,400 tons, against
75,521 tons in January, and 75,157 tons in Febru­
ary, 1930.
Little change worthy of note has taken place
in collections as compared with the preceding three
or four months. Reports of retail and wholesale
interests reflect considerable irregularity and un­
evenness. While there is a general disposition to
economize and conserve cash, bills are being paid
promptly where debtors are able to do so. A num­
ber of important wholesalers report settlements in
relatively larger volume than a year ago, that is the
ratio of receipts to receivables in February was
greater than during the same month in 1930. On the
other hand, nearly all wholesaling and manufactur­
ing lines report actual losses and doubtful accounts
considerably larger than the average during the past
five years. Mercantile debtors with strong credit
position continue to discharge their obligations
promptly in order to avail themselves of cash dis­
counts. There are increasing complaints of back­
wardness of payments to country retail merchants,

and collections of retailers in the large cities are
less satisfactory than heretofore. Answers to ques­
tionnaires addressed to representative interests in
the several lines scattered through the district show­
ed the following results:
E xcellent



P oor

February, 1931..................% 13.1% 57.2% 29.7%
Janaury, 1931..................
February, 1930.............1.5
Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Re­
serve District in February, according to Dun’s num­
bered 181, involving liabilities of $5,158,243, against
243 failures with liabilities of $4,836,838 in January,
and 102 defaults for a total of $6,029,700 in Febru­
ary, 1930.
The average daily circulation in the United
States in February was $4,598,000,000, against
$4,695,000,000 in January, and $4,556,000,000, in
February, 1930.
Boots and Shoes — February sales of the re­
porting firms were 16.0 per cent smaller than for the
same month in 1930, and 15.0 per cent smaller than
the January total this year. The decrease in the
month-to-month comparison is seasonal in charac­
ter and of about the same extent as the average dur­
ing the past five years. Due to the early Easter date
and postponed purchasing, women’s novelty goods
are relatively more active than other lines, factories
producing these goods working at capacity to fill
requirements. Demand for work shoes continues
subnormal, even for this season, which is ordinarily
a quiet one. Hides during late February dropped to
the lowest price level since 1893, but have since
strengthened slightly. There was no change in the
price of finished goods as compared with the pre­
ceding month, but average prices are from 5 to 8
per cent lower than a year ago. Stocks on March 1
were slightly larger than thirty days earlier, but
about one-fourth smaller than on March 1, 1930.
Clothing — Purchasing of both men’s and
women’s apparel continues on an extremely conserv­
ative basis, and manufacturers are making up but
little stock for which they have not actual orders.
Deferred purchasing of women’s and children’s
clothing for spring wear has resulted in a consider­
able volume of belated orders, and operating sched­
ules at factories were sharply increased to produce
the necessary goods. The movement of heavy ap­
parel through retail channels continued in disap­
pointing volume through February and early March,
oving to the mild weather. February sales of the
reporting clothiers were approximately two-thirds
smaller than for the same month in 1930, and a
quarter less than the January total this year.

Drugs and Chemicals — Conditions in this clas­
sification showed little change as contrasted with
thirty days and a year earlier. February sales of the
reporting interests were slightly larger than the
January total, and showed practically no change
from a year ago. Advance orders of insecticides and
fertilizers were in smaller volume than at any simi­
lar period in recent years, but some improvement
was noted in demand for heavy chemicals and drugs
from the general manufacturing trade. The trend of
prices was lower.
Dry Goods— Purchasing for immediate require­
ments is on a fairly liberal scale, and retail mer­
chants are more disposed to fill out depleted stocks
and assortments than in a number of months. Since
the last week in February, the movement of sea­
sonal merchandise has shown decided improvement.
February sales of the reporting firms showed an
increase of 5.0 per cent over the preceding month,
but were smaller by one-third than the February,
1930, total. In the yearly comparison lower prices
account for a considerable part of the decrease.
Stocks on March 1 were 5.4 per cent and 32.0 per
cent smaller, respectively, than thirty days and a
year earlier.
Electrical Supplies — Decreases in sales as
compared with a month and a year earlier continued
in this classification during February. Declines
were general in all lines of goods, but in the yearly
comparison were most marked in household appli­
ances, radio and building installations. Sales of the
reporting interests in February were 9 per cent less
than in January, and about one-third smaller than
in February last year. Stocks on March 1 were 11.0
per cent smaller than a year earlier, and 8.0 per cent
less than on February 1 this year.
Flour — Production at the 12 leading mills of
the district in February totaled 312,635 barrels, the
smallest since February, 1927, and comparing with
337,391 barrels in January and 393,212 in February,
1930. While improvement was noted in shipping
directions on flour previously purchased, new order­
ing continued in limited volume, and almost exclu­
sively on a necessity basis. Prices were slightly
lower. Mill operations were at from 56 to 60 per
cent of capacity.
Furniture — As compared with the preceding
month, February sales of the reporting firms showed
an increase of 53.0 per cent, but the total was 16.0
per cent smaller than in February, 1930. Stocks on
March 1 were 5.0 per cent and 11.0 per cent smaller,
respectively, than thirty days and a year earlier.
With the exception of office furniture and equip­
ment, increases were fairly general in all lines in the
month-to~month comparison.

Groceries— Depressed economic conditions gen­
erally through the district, but more particularly in
the agricultural sections, were responsible for a
decrease in February sales of the reporting interests
of 18.0 per cent as compared with the same month
in 1930, and of 12.0 per cent as contrasted with Janu­
ary this year. Inventories on March 1 were slightly
smaller than a month earlier, and 10.0 per cent less
than on March 1, 1930.
Hardware — As compared with the preceding
month, February sales of the reporting firms showed
a small increase, but the total was almost one-third
smaller than in February, 1930. Heavily reduced
purchasing of goods for distribution in the rural
areas was largely responsible for the decrease in the
yearly comparison. The movement of builders’
hardware, tools and general supplies continues in
considerably less than the usual seasonal volume.
Stocks increased 8.0 per cent between February 1
and March 1, but on the latter date were approxi­
mately one-fourth smaller than on March 1, 1930.
Iron and Steel Products — Further moderate
improvement in business in this classification. While
seasonal considerations were largely responsible for
the betterment in some lines, the status of the in­
dustry as a whole was more favorable than at any
time since last summer. The aggregate melt of pig
iron in February was greater than in January, de­
spite the fewer working days in the later month.
Stimulated by the resumption of part-time opera­
tions at a number of foundries, the daily average
rate of the melt during the first half of March was
measurably larger than for February. Ordering of
both finished and semi-finished materials continues
chiefly on a necessity basis, but replacement require­
ments are growing in volume, and during the past
several weeks have resulted in the placement of
considerable business with mills and foundries. In
addition to work furnished by these recent orders,
activities have been increased by a disposition on
the part of certain specialty manufacturers, notably
stoves, heating apparatus, and farm implements, to
make up stocks in anticipation of demands later in
the year. Stocks of such commodities in distribu­
tors’ hands are universally light, due to the policy
of hand-to-mouth purchasing in recent months.
Moderate quickening in the demand for iron and
steel goods from the general manufacturing trade
was in evidence, and was reflected in increased
orders and specifications for sheets, bars, shapes,
wire and a number of other standard items. Slight
improvement in the movement of galvanized mater­
ial was noted in early March, following a long period
of dullness. Demand for tin plate has been active,
with large canners ordering freely and taking cur­

rently a considerable portion of their purchased
tonnage. There has been no change from the dull
conditions of recent months in all descriptions of
materials for the oil industry, and purchasing by
the railroads is confined to absolute requirements.
Specifying on castings and other materials by the
automotive industry developed improvement as con­
trasted with the several months immediately pre­
ceding, but new orders placed were in less than
expected volume. Moderate seasonal improvements
was noted in commodities used chiefly in the rural
areas, but the movement of such goods continues
below the average at this time during the past dec­
ade. With the exception of reinforcing concrete bars
and items used in highway construction and other
engineering projects, building materials were quiet.
Prices of pig iron and the general run of finished
products were steady to firm, with considerably less
cutting than heretofore. Scrap iron and steel, how­
ever, receded further in price, with a number of
important grades recording new low levels on the
present retrograde movement and since 1913. For
the country as a whole the daily rate of pig iron
production in February increased approximately
20 per cent over January. Due to its being a shorter
month, however, the February total, 1,711,137, tons
was 4,306 tons smaller than in January, and com­
pared with 2,845,937 tons in February, 1930. Steel
ingot production in the United States in February
totaled 2,527,318 tons against 2,482,206 tons in Janu­
ary, and 4,078,327 tons in February, 1930.
Following the unvarying trend of the past dec­
ade, distribution of automobiles in this district dur­
ing February showed a substantial gain over Janu­
ary, and was the heaviest for any month since last
April. As compared with a year earlier, however,
the February volume continued the steady decreases
which had been in effect continuously since Febru­
ary, 1930. The increase in the month-to-month
comparison was due partly to the small January
sales, and partly to seasonal influences, such as
annual shows, the bringing out of new models and
the desire of purchasers to get in on the new regis­
tration year, which in Missouri and other states of
the district begins in February. Mild, open weather
through February also had a favorable effect on
retail distribution of passenger cars. Returns of
dealers reporting to this bank indicated that demand
was well distributed through all classes of makes,
though relatively the largest gains were by sellers
of the cheaper priced vehicles. As has been the case
for a number of months, sales of dealers in the larger
centers of population made a better showing than
was the case with country dealers. In all classes of
cars price considerations are an important factor in

effecting sales. However, dealers report that there
has been good response to new models and novelties
in equipment. February sales of new passenger cars
by the reporting dealers were nearly four times as
large as in January and 41.0 per cent smaller than
in February, 1930. Due to the conservative policy
in ordering from manufacturers, stocks of new cars
in dealers’ hands continue at a low level. On March
1, inventories were 2.0 per cent larger than on Feb­
ruary 1 and approximately one-fourth smaller than
on February 1, 1930. Conditions in the used car
market were spotted, but on the whole reflected
moderate improvement as contrasted with the past
several months. Through sharp price reductions
and other special efforts to effect sales, stocks in­
creased only slightly from February to March, de­
spite the large number turned in on trades for new
vehicles. As compared with a year ago, stocks of
secondhand cars held by the reporting dealers on
March 1 showed a decrease of about 18.0 per cent.
Truck sales in February were about five times as
large as in January, but only half as large as in Feb­
ruary a year ago. Business in repair parts and ac­
cessories continued active, with total volume of
sales in February showing a smaller decrease as
compared with a year earlier than in any month
since last fall. According to dealers reporting on
that item, deferred payment sales in February con­
stituted 56.0 per cent of total sales, against 54.0 per
cent in January, and 57.2 per cent in February, 1930.
The condition of retail trade is reflected in the
following comparative statement showing activity
at department stores in leading cities of the district:
N et sales com parison
Stocks on hand Stock turnover
F eb. 1931 2_months ending Feb. 28, 1931
Jan. 1, to
F eb. 28,
com p, to
F eb. 28, 1931 to
com p, to
1931 1930
Feb. 1930 same period 1930 F eb. 28, 1930
— 13.2%
— 22.8 %
Evansville ............ — 28.3%
— 23.0
— 15.0
L ittle R ock ......... — 18.8
— 4.0
— 15.1
L ouisville ............ — 23.7
— 21.0
— 26.7
M em phis ...............— 26.8
— 20.1
— 12.8
Q u in cy .................. — 17.0
— 5.2
— 9.2
St. L ou is.............. — 15.8
— 21.9
— 5.4
Springfield, M o....— 0.7
— 10.1
— 13.0
8th D istrict............ — 18.5
Stocks on hand
N et sales com parison
Feb. 1931 com p, to
Feb. 1931 com p, to
F eb. 1930
Jan. 1931
Feb. 1930
Jan. 1931
— 13.4%
+ 1 6 .3 %
— 23.8%
M en’ s furnishings............ — 21.2%
— 16.7
+ 1 4 .5
— 24.8
B oots and shoes................ — 34.7

The dollar value of building permits for new
construction issued in the five largest cities of the
district in February was slightly greater than for
the same month in 1930, and 24 per cent less than
in January this year. According to statistics com ­
piled by the F. W . Dodge Corporation, construc­
tion contracts let in the Eighth Federal Reserve
District in February amounted to $12,508,780, which
compares with $13,305,792 in January, and $24,501,045 in February, 1930. Production of portland ce­
ment for the country as a whole in February totaled
5,920,000 barrels, against 6,595,000 barrels in Janu­

ary and 8,162,000 barrels in February, 1930. Build­
ing figures for February follow :
________ N ew
Perm its
Evansville .. 183
L ittle R ock
Louisville ..
M em phis .... 123
St. Louis.... 244

*C ost
77 $

Feb. totals.. 626
Jan. totals.. 484
D ec. totals.. 504
*In thousands o f dollars

Repairs, etc.
Perm its
36 45

$2,170 $2,127
(000 om itted ).



*C ost

$ 88

$ 299



Public utilities companies in the five largest
cities of the district reported consumption of electric
current in February by selected industrial customers
as being 7.3 per cent greater than in January, but
4.5 per cent smaller than in February, 1930. The
increase in February over the preceding month was
due to seasonally heavier loads taken by certain
classes of consumers. In the yearly comparison, de­
creases were distributed through virtually all con­
suming lines. Detailed figures follow :
N o. o f
C ustom ­
* K .W .H . * K .W .H .
Evansville .... 40
L ittle R ock.. 35
L ouisville .... 85
M em phis ..... 31
St. L ou is......159
T otals .......... 350
* I n thousands (000 om itted ).


Feb. 1931
com p, to
Jan. 1931
— 4.2%
— 27.8
— 6.1
+ 1.1
+ 2 0 .5


* K .W .H .

Feb. 1931
com p, to
F eb. 1930
+ 16.7%
— 11.7
— 12.2
— 1.2
— 4.2
— 4.5

The following figures compiled by the U. S.
Department of the Interior show kilowatt produc­
tion both for lighting and industrial purposes for
the country as a w hole:
B y water pow er
Jan. 1931................................ 2,344,186,000
D ec. 1930................................ 2,359,686,000
Jan. 1930................................2,899,855,000

B y fuels


On March 1, according to the U. S. Department
of Agriculture, combined reserve stocks of the prin­
cipal grain crops on farms in states entirely or part­
ly within the Eighth District were substantially
smaller than on the same date in 1930, and approxi­
mately one-third less than the 5-year average (19251929). The results of the Government’s survey em­
phasize the effects of last year’s record drought, for
while wheat reserves on March 1 were larger than
a year earlier and only slightly below the average,
corn and oats, whose growing and harvesting sea­
son was during the dry period, decreased sufficient­
ly in yield to account for the heavy losses in both
comparisons. The combined reserve of corn, wheat
and oats in these states on March 1 was 279,238,000
bushels, which contracts with 412,792,000 in 1930,
and the 5-year average of 491,621,000 bushels.
Weather conditions during the past thirty days
were unusually favorable for farm operations, the
progress of growing crops and agriculture generally.
Soil preparation for spring planting is considerably

further advanced than is usually the case at this
time of year. Seeding of oats has been practically
completed, and many fields in the southern stretches
of the district are up, with the plant looking fine.
Plowing and disking for corn is well ahead of the
seasonal average, and some planting has been done
in the south. Mild temperatures prevailed through
February, permitting of almost uninterrupted field
work, routine repair operations and the movement
of products from farms. The drop in temperature
in the second week of March, accompanied by wide­
spread snow and rain, was a favorable development.
The precipitation broke the drought in many sec­
tions, and the colder weather held back premature
budding of fruit trees. Soil and subsoil conditions
are generally good.
As an offset, to the generally favorable physical
outlook for 1931 crops, was the continued depression
in prices of all descriptions of farm products. In
the St. Louis market the July wheat option declined
to a new low level for the season and for many
years* Corn and oats were also lower, and prices
of milk, eggs, poultry, hides, live stock and other
products were substantially below average levels
prevailing at this season in recent years.
Due to the efforts of Governmental and other
agencies, the situation with regard to financing farm
operations is considerably more favorable than was
the case a few months back. In the drought areas
means are being supplied for purchasing seed for
planting spring crops and for carrying farm animals
until new crops are available. Farm labor is uni­
versally in excess of demands. Decreased industrial
activities in the large cities have resulted in the re­
turn to the rural sections of many workers in re­
cent months.
Winter Wheat — Reports from the principal
wheat growing counties reflect unusually favorable
conditions for this season of the year. Due to the
mild weather, loss from winter killing has been con­
siderably smaller than in previous years. In all sec­
tions of the district surface and subsoil moisture
has been adequate, and the general precipitation
during the second week of February substantially
assisted these conditions. There are scattered re­
ports of the appearance of Hessian fly, but damage
from that source is not believed to be of any great
extent. On March 1 stocks of wheat on farms in
states partly or entirely within the Eighth District
totaled 14,942,000 bushels, against 12,186,000 bush­
els on the same date in 1930, and a 5-year average of
11,456,000 bushels.
Corn — Preparations for planting the new crop
were further advanced at the middle of March than
at any similar period in more than a decade. In the
extreme southern tier of counties of the district some

corn has been planted, and indications point to early
seeding of the crop as a whole. Reserve stocks of
corn on farms in states of this district on March 1
were 179,286,000 bushels, against 325,330,000 bush­
els on the same date in 1930, and a 5-year average
of 370,474,000 bushels. Except in Illinois and Indi­
ana, the merchantable quality of the 1930 crop was
substantially below a year earlier and the 10-year
average. The poor quality was caused by a large
percentage of undersized and poorly filled ears inci­
dent to the drought, also to an excessive amount of
moulding in the crib.
Fruits and Vegetables — At the middle of
March practically no damage had occurred from
winter weather to fruits in this district. While tem­
peratures were high enough to develop buds on tree
fruits, growth was delayed by lack of moisture.
Peaches are reported quite generally uninjured by
the cold snap in March, but trees have not fully
recovered from freezes of the winter a year ago, and
the drought last summer and fall. The outlook for
apples, cherries, plums, pears, and cane fruits is
good. In some sections prospects for farm strawber­
ries are poor, plants in rows being thin as a result
of dry weather after setting last summer. Scattered
reports indicate serious losses of fruit trees, grape
vines, and small fruits from last year’s drought.
Live Stock — In all sections of the district, live
stock came through the winter in good shape, due
to ideal weather for care and feeding. Throughout
the winter, water in many areas was less plentiful
than for more than a quarter of a century, but this
situation was generally relieved by precipitation
since the end of February. Egg production has been
unusually high owing to the mild, open winter.
There was the usual seasonal recession in the move­
ment of live stock from January to February, the
decrease being emphasized by a disposition on the
part of farmers to await better prices.
Receipts and shipments at St. Louis as reported
by the National Stock Yards, were as follows:
R eceipts
F eb.
Jan. Feb.
1931 1930
84,616 61,548
Cattle and calves........ 77,694
H o g s ............................273,418 344,937 270,008
H orses and m ules...... 9,140
5,487 10,823
Sheep ............................ 22,848
30,945 25,565

47,610 54,165 39,760
223,658 263,590 211,607
11,518 14,683 10,646

Cotton— Due to the unusually favorable weath­
er conditions, more ground had been put in readi­
ness at the middle of March for planting the new
crop than has ever been known before at that date.
The work has been accomplished at a cost consider­
ably below the average in recent years, farmers
operating with less than the usual quota of hired
help. Reports relative to intended acreage vary

considerably, but it is still too early to gain an ac­
curate idea as to how the total will contrast with a
year ago. Recent rains have supplied abundant
moisture, and soil conditions are mainly good. Un­
der slightly more active demand, prices of raw
cotton advanced moderately in late February and
early March. In the St. Louis Market the middling
grade ranged from 9.75c to 10.10c per pound be­
tween February 17 and March 16, closing at 10c
on the latter date, against 9.80c on February 17 and
20c on March 15, 1930. Stocks of cotton on hand in
Arkansas warehouses on March 13 totaled 236,016
bales, against 291,280 bales on February 13 and
249,064 bales on the corresponding date in 1930.
Tobacco — At the middle of March a few burley tobacco markets remained open to receive what
was left to the unsold crop. Total sales for the sea­
son to March 15 amounted to 370,482,092 pounds,
at an average price of $15.57 per cwt. This includes
resales, estimated at not to exceed 20,000,000 pounds,
leaving 350,000,000, pounds net sales of burley out of
a crop which at the middle of last August had pros­
pects not to exceed 250,000,000 pounds.
The only other markets open were in the east­
ern and western areas of the dark-fired district. Ear­
ly estimates were for a reduction of about 10 per
cent in the eastern district, whereas sales to March
15 reflect a decrease of 20 per cent. In the western
district sales are about 30 per cent short of the cor­
responding period last year, while early estimates
were for a decrease of only 20 per cent. As of March
15 it was estimated that about 70 per cent of the
dark-fired crop had been sold. District types of
medium and good quality continued firm, with good
to fine leaf in active demand at prices equal to the
best obtained this season. Lower grades exhibited
a lower price trend, but well fired heavy lugs were
in good demand at steady prices. Present indica­
tions are for a full-sized acreage in the burley and
dark-fired districts, but reduced plantings of other
Commodity Prices — Range of prices in the St.
Louis market between February 17, 1931, and March
16, 1931, with closing quotations on the latter date
and on March 17, 1930.
H igh
W heat
M arch 16, 1931 M arch 17, 1930
$ .61
July ................. ..per bu..$ .6 8 ^ $ .60
N o. 2 red winter
$1.1 8@ 1.1854
1.05@ 1.06
N o. 2 hard...... .... “
$ .7654 @ .77
.... “
July .................
.82 H
.7 6 ®
N o. 2 mixed.... ... “
.6054 @ .61
.8 1 ®
N o. 2 white....
.62 @ .62)54
.32 H
.4 5 ®
N o. 2 white.... .... “
.34 H
.3 3 54 @ .34
6.25@ 6.50
4.90 @ 5 .2 5
Soft patent....... ...per bbl. 5.65
5 .5 0 @ 6.00
4.20 @ 4 .5 0
Spring patent.. .... 4
M iddling cotton.. ..per lb.
8 .50@ 10.75
6.35 @ 8 .2 5
H o g s on h o o f...... ..per cw t. 8.40

Credit demand for commercial and industrial
purposes in this district during the past thirty days
was slightly more active than in the similar period
immediately preceding, and the call for funds to
finance security transactions also expanded. Sea­
sonal requirements of manufacturing and mercan­
tile interests were making themselves felt, but due
to lower commodity prices and generally reduced
inventories, such needs were not as conspicuous as
at this period during the past several years. Liqui­
dation as a whole made satisfactory progress,
though continuing spotty, both with reference to
localities and the several classes of borrowers.
Preparatory to meeting local agricultural re­
quirements, country banks in some sections, notably
in the south, have reduced their balances with city
correspondents. Elsewhere, however, country banks
have improved their cash position and moderately
increased investments. In the typical drought areas
the situation for financing spring crops and live
stock has been improved by loans made through the
drought relief funds furnished by the Government.
Additional loans to soldiers on bonus certificates
have also been in considerable volume in these sec­
Loans of reporting member banks in this dis­
trict declined further in late February, reaching the
lowest total in recent years on the last report date
of that month. Since March 1 there has been a sub­
stantial recovery, due largely to heavier loans on
securities. Deposits of these banks followed closely
the curve described by loans. Their investments
continued the irregularity upward trend which be­
gan last summer. Borrowings of all member banks
from the Federal reserve bank varied in only slight
degree between February 15 and March 15, but
throughout that period were uniformly lower than
a year ago.
No important changes took place in money
rates. Current quotations at St. Louis banks were as
follows : Prime commercial paper, 2^4 to 5 per cen t;
collateral loans, 4 to Sy2 per cent; loans secured by
warehouse receipts 3 to 5y2 per cent; interbank
loans, 4 to 5y2 per cent and cattle loans 6 per cent.
Condition of Banks — Loans and discounts of
the reporting member banks on March 18, 1931,
showed a decrease of 0.1 per cent as contrasted with
February 18, 1931. Deposits increased 4.6 per cent

between February 18, 1931 and March 18, 1931 and
on the latter date were 1.8 per cent larger than on
March 19, 1930. Composite statement follow s:
*M ar. 18,
Num ber of banks reporting..........
Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts)
Secured by U. S. G cvt. obligations
and other stocks and bonds....$ 178,953
A ll other loans and discounts.... 271,295

♦Feb. 18,

♦Mar. 19,



T otal loans and discounts.................$450,248
U. S. Government securities...... 57,621
Other securities............................... 136,835





Total investments................................ $194,456
Reserve balance with F. R. bank 45,208
Cash in vault.......................................
N et demand deposits..................... 368,731
Tim e deposits.................................. 238,771
Government deposits.....................





T otal deposits.......................... .......... ..$623,957
Bills payable and rediscounts with
Federal Reserve B ank.................
* In thousands (000 om itted).
fIncrease due to substitutions for closed banks. These 25 banks are
located in St. Louis, Louisville, Mem phis, Little R ock, and Evansville,
and their resources represent 52.6 per cent o f the resources of all member
banks in this district.

Debits to Individual Accounts — The following
table gives the total debits charged by banks to
checking accounts, savings accounts, certificates of
deposit accounts and trust accounts of individuals,
firms, corporations and U. S. Government in lead­
ing cities of the district. Charges to accounts of
banks are not included.
East St. Louis & Natl.
Stock Yards, 111..$ 27,126
El D orado, Ark...
Evansville, Ind... .. 20,552
Fort Smith, Ark.. ..
Greenville, Miss..,
Little R ock, Ark.,.. 26,744
Louisville, K y ...... .. 123,984
Memphis, Tenn... .. 101,316
O w ensboro, Ky...,..
Pine Bluff, A rk ..
Quincy, 111...........
St. Louis, M o ...... 536,850
Sedalia, M o .............
Springfield, Mo....,.. 14,336
A rk -T e x...........



$ 34,263

$ 36,455



Feb. 1931 com p, to
Jan. 1931 Feb. 1930
— 20.8%
— 12.2
— 23.9
— 22.9
- f 2.3
— 20.1
— 21.1
— 12.8
— 29.3
— 21.9
— 11.2
— 26.0
— 24.3
— 13.8

— 25.6%
— 16.4
— 12.6
— 29.7
— 20.3
— 37.1
— 27.3
— 30.6
— 22.2
— 30.2
— 41.6
— 16.3
— 12.3
+ 6.9

— 23.3

— 23.8

T otals....... ,$901,522 $1,173,539 $1,143,252
— 23.2
— 21.1
*In thousands (000 om itted).
♦♦Includes one bank in Texarkana, T exas not in Eighth District.

Federal Reserve Operations — During Febru­
ary the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis dis­
counted for 185 member banks against 218 in Janu­
ary and 195 in February, 1930. The discount rate
remained unchanged at 3 per cent. Changes in the
principal assets and liabilities of this institution
appear in the following table:
Bills discounted..
Bills bought........
U. S. Securities..

T otal deposits............................
Ratio o f reserve to deposits
and F. R. N ote Liabilities.
♦In thousands (000 om itted).

(Compiled March 24, 1931)

♦Mar. 19,
,.$ 7,979
,. 6,618
, 23,899

♦Feb. 19,
$ 8,708






Output of most of the important industries increased
more than seasonally in February, and although factory
employment advanced at a less rapid rate, the volume of
wage payments at factories also rose by more than the usual
seasonal amount. The general level of commodity prices
continued to decline.
PRODUCTION — Industrial production, as measured
by the Board’s index, which is adjusted to allow for sea­
sonal variation, increased by 4 per cent in February from
the low level prevailing in December and January. On the
basis of the average for 1923-1925 as 100, the volume of pro-

automobile, shoe, woolen goods, and clothing industries,
the rate of increase was larger than usual.
DISTRIBUTION — Daily average freight-car loadings
showed little change from January to February, while ordi­
narily there is an increase at this season. Sales by depart­
ment stores increased slightly.
WHOLESALE PRICES—Wholesale commodity prices
declined further in February, and the Bureau of Labor
Statistics’ index at 75.5 per cent of the 1926 average, was
about 18 per cent below the level of a year ago. Prices of
many agricultural products decreased considerably, while

Index number of industrial production, adjusted for seasonal variation.
(1923-1925 a v e r a g e s 100.) Latest figure February, 85.

In d ex of U nited States Bureau of L abor Statistics (1 9 2 6 = 1 0 0 ).
Latest figure February, 75.5.

duction in February was 85, compared with 82 for the two
preceding months, and 107 for February of last year. At
steel mills activity increased considerably, and the output
of automobiles advanced by somewhat more than the usual
seasonal amount. Output of shoe factories and textile mills
increased substantially, while the output of coal continued
to decline. During the first half of March, activity at steel
mills continued to increase. Value of building contracts
awarded in February was slightly larger than in January,
according to the F. W. Dodge Corporation. An increase
in residential building was accompanied by a decrease in
contracts for public works and utilities, while awards for
factories and commercial buildings continued in small vol-

the price of cotton advanced further. In the first half of
March there were considerable increases in prices of silver,
livestock, meats, and hides, and declines in the prices of
petroleum and cotton.
BANK CREDIT — Loans and investments of member
banks in leading cities changed relatively little between the
end of January and the middle of March. Total loans on
securities declined, notwithstanding the growth in brokers’
loans in New York City, and other loans showed considera­
ble further liquidation, while the banks’ investments con­
tinued to increase. Volume of reserve bank credit tended
downward in February and showed little change between
March 4 and March 18. Funds arising from gold imports




'1 2 0


V \ fbyrolls
jU A \
..r -.


r S /Y -,








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19 2 7






Indexes o f factory em ploym ent and payrolls, without adjustment for sea­
sonal variation. (1923-1925 average = 1 0 0 .) Latest figures February,
em ploym ent 77.3, payrolls 73.2.

ume. In the first half of March there was an increase in
daily average of contracts awarded, as is usual at this sea­
Factory employment increased slightly less than usual in
February, while factory payrolls increased by more than
the seasonal amount from the low level of January. In
many industries the rate of increase in payrolls was about
the same as in February of other recent years, but in the

in February were largely absorbed in meeting a seasonal
demand for currency, while in the early part of March
there was an increase in member bank reserve balances.
Money rates in the open market continued at low levels
from the middle of February to the middle of March. Rates
on commercial paper were reduced from a range of 2^-2^4
per cent to a prevailing level of 2y2 per cent, while rates on
90-day bankers’ acceptances remained at \y2 per cent. Yields
on high grade bonds continued to decline.