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MONTHLY REVIEW
O f Agricultural, Industrial, Trade and Financial
Conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District
Released for Publication O n and After the Morning of March 30, 1932
[N S. W O O D ,
Chairman and Federal Reserve Agent

FEDERAL

RESERVE

R E N D S in business and industry in the
Eighth District during the past thirty days
were irregular and spotty. Moderate expan­
sion was noted in several important industries, and
in certain lines of wholesaling and jobbing,increased
volume of dollar sales was reported as compared
with the preceding month, and in a limited number
of instances, unit volume exceeded that of a year
ago. In all lines investigated, however the dollar
volume of February sales fell below that of the cor­
responding period in 1931 and the average during
the past ten years. In trade and industry as a whole
gains were offset by decreases, so that the thirty
day period was marked by a further slight reces­
sion in activities. A s has been the case for the past
several months, production and distribution of goods
for ordinary consumption made a considerably bet­
ter showing than commodities of the heavier and
more permanent sort. Boots and shoes, dry goods,
drugs and chemicals, some food products and hard­
ware developed a moderately upward trend. Distri­
bution of automobiles was seasonally larger in Feb­
ruary than January. On the other hand, iron and
steel, clay products, lumber, glass and the entire
category of building materials showed no improve­
ment over the dull conditions obtaining heretofore.

T

Retail trade in the large cities and in the coun­
try was disappointing, and failed to exhibit the usual
seasonal pickup. The unusually high temperatures
which had prevailed since last fall, continued
through February, and served to hold down distri­
bution of all descriptions of cold weather goods,
particularly apparel and fuel. Clearances of such
merchandise, even under inducements of price re­
ductions and intensive sales effort, were incomplete
and heavy carryovers were the rule. The first real
cold spell of the winter came during the first half
of March, too late to materially help the movement
of winter merchandise. On the contrary the freezing
weather had the effect of slowing down Easter shop­
ping and interfering with preparations for planting




C. M. STEWART,
Assistant Federal Reserve Agent

BANK

OF

ST*

J. VION PAPIN,
Statisti

LOUIS

spring crops. Considerable damage was sustained
by fruits and early truck crops from the March
freezes, and apprehension is felt in some sections
that the grow ing winter wheat crop, which was
unusually far advanced for this season, has been
injured.
As against the failure of actual business to ex­
pand, reports from scattered sections of the district
reflect moderate improvement in sentiment, and
that since March 1 business has developed a more
hopeful aspect. W hile purchasing of goods contin­
ues on an extremely conservatively basis, there is
more of a disposition than heretofore to replenish
depleted stocks and fill out assortments. Inventories
of consumer goods in all lines are of small propor­
tions, and while the trend of com m odity prices was
still downward, the decline was at a slower rate,
and in certain classifications, noticeable progress has
been made in stabilizing values. Further marked
improvement has taken place in the financial situa­
tion. The number of bank failures during February
was much smaller than during recent months, and
this record has continued during the first half of
March. The rate of withdrawals of deposits from
financial institutions receded, and for the first time
in a number of months, there was an increase during
early March in deposits of reporting member banks.
An important development for this general area was
the fall in the stage of the Mississippi River and
practical elimination of the flood threat from that
stream and its tributaries.
A s reflected by department store sales in lead­
ing cities, the volume of retail trade in February was
approximately 7 per cent larger than in January, and
12 per cent less than in February, 1931; for the first
tw o months this year a decrease of 14 per cent was
shown under the same time a year earlier. Com ­
bined sales of all wholesaling and jobbing firms
reporting to this bank in February were 5.6 per cent
larger than in January and 16.5 per cent smaller than
in February, 1931; for the first tw o months this year

their total sales were 21 per cent smaller than for
the same period a year ago. The dollar value of
building permits issued for new construction in the
five largest cities was more than twice as large as
in January, but 61 per cent less than in February,
1931. Construction contracts let in the Eighth D is­
trict in February increased 25 per cent over the
record small total of January, but were 50 per cent
smaller than in February, 1931. There was a de­
crease of 22 per cent in charges to checking accounts
in February as compared with January and of the
same amount as compared with February, 1931;
for the first tw o months this year a decrease of 23
per cent was shown as compared with the same time
in 1931. The amount of savings accounts held by
selected banks showed little change between Febru­
ary 3 and March 2, and on the latter date was 11
per cent smaller than a year ago.
A ccording to officials of railroads operating in
this district, freight traffic continued in smaller vol­
ume than at the corresponding period last year and
in 1930. The movement of seasonal commodities,
notably fuel, was held in check by the unusually
mild winter. For the country as a whole, loadings
of revenue freight for the first eight weeks this year,
or to February 27, totaled 4,515,200 cars, against
5,707,330 cars for the corresponding period in 1931,
and 6,977,696 cars in 1930. The St. Louis Terminal
Railway Association, which handles interchanges
for 28 connecting lines, interchanged 133,429 loads
in February, against 140,919 loads in January, and
164,030 loads in February, 1931. During the first
nine days o f March the interchange amounted to
43,433 loads, against 42,158 loads during the corres­
ponding period in February, and 64,680 loads during
the first nine days of March last year. Passenger
traffic of the reporting roads showed a decrease of
30 per cent in February as compared with the same
month in 1931. Estimated tonnage of the Federal
Barge Line between St. Louis and New Orleans in
February was 112,700 tons, against 130,807 tons in
January, and 69,572 tons in February, 1931.
Generally throughout the district collections re­
flected little change as contrasted with the tw o or
three months immediately preceding. Considerable
spottiness exists, both with reference to the several
lines and localities. In the cotton areas moderate
improvement was indicated, and liquidation in the
tobacco sections was also in heavier volume than
earlier in the year. Country merchants in some parts
of the south reported that collections were hampered
by interference with transportation occasioned by
floods and muddy roads. Questionnaires addressed
to representative interests in the several lines scat­




tered through the district showed the follow ing
results:
Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

February, 1932........... 1.7% 18.5% 51.0% 28.8%
January] 1932........... 0.0
18.2
61.0
20.8
February, 1931........... 0.0
13.1
57.2
29.7
Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal R e­
serve District in February according to Dun's, num­
bered 148, involving liabilities of $2,804,588, against
158 failures in January with liabilities of $3,918,464,
and 181 defaults for a total of $5,158,243 in Febru­
ary, 1931.
The average daily circulation in the United
States during February was $5,627,000,000 against
$5,645,000,000 in January, and $4,598,000,000 in Feb­
ruary, 1931.
M AN U FACTU RIN G AN D W H O L E S A L IN G
Boots and Shoes — February sales of the re­
porting firms were 8 per cent smaller than for the
same month in 1931, and 7 per cent larger than the
January total this year. Inventories continue to
recede, stocks on March 1 being 6 per cent and 17
per cent smaller, respectively than a month and a
year earlier. In point of unit volume, February sales
exceeded those of a year ago, the decrease in dollar
value being due to lower prices. Demand was re­
ported satisfactory through all lines, but was partic­
ularly brisk in wom en’s wear. Purchasing for the
Easter trade was active, and in contrast with recent
months, more interest was exhibited in the more
expensive and higher grade shoes. Business since
March 1 has maintained the pace set in February,
with tw o important interests reporting sales during
the first two weeks of March heavier than for the
same period in February and a year ago. Factory
operations averaged about 80 per cent of capacity,
with plants turning out w om en’s shoes operating at
100 per cent.
Clothing — Uncertainty relative to spring and
summer requirements was reflected in extremely
cautious buying of both men’s and wom en’s apparel.
Distribution through retail channels during Febru­
ary was considerably smaller than in past years, and
less than the usual stimulation from Easter demands
was in evidence. A s has been the case for the past
several months, purchasing for work clothes was in
small volume. Clearance of overcoats and other
heavy apparel was disappointing, and considerable
stocks are being carried over. Sales of the report­
ing interests in February were 63 per cent greater
than for the same month in 1931, and about onefourth larger than in January this year.
Drugs and Chemicals — Save where influenced
by seasonal factors, conditions in the drug and chem­

ical trade showed no change as contrasted with the
preceding thirty days. February sales of the report­
ing firms were 28 per cent smaller than for the
same month in 1931, and 8 per cent greater than in
January this year. Stocks on March 1 were slightly
larger than a month earlier, and 13 per cent smaller
than on March 1 last year. Demand for fertilizers
and the general run of chemicals for the manufac­
turing trade continued at a low ebb.
Dry Goods — Marked improvement in this clas­
sification was noted during February, sales of the
reporting interests during that month being 6.4 per
cent larger than in January and 18 per cent smaller
than a year ago. Inventories showed no change be­
tween February 1 and March 1, and on the latter
date were 32 per cent smaller than a year ago. In
the yearly sales comparison the loss shown was ac­
counted for by the heavy decline in prices, the actual
unit volume of goods sold being larger this year
than last. Since March 1 there has been a further ac­
celeration in business, several firms show ing gains
over the same period last year. Individual orders,
while small, are numerous and cover a more diversi­
fied assortment of merchandise than has been the
case in many months.
Electrical Supplies — February sales of the re­
porting firms were 15 per cent smaller than during
the preceding month, and about 42 per cent less than
in February, 1931. Inventories receded further,
stocks on March 1 being 11 per cent and 24 per cent
smaller, respectively than thirty days and a year
earlier. Decreases in both sales comparisons were
general through the entire line, but most pronounced
in radio material and electrical installations in new
buildings.
Flour — Production at the twelve leading mills
of the district in February totaled 225,971 barrels,
against 240,596 barrels in January and 304,656 bar­
rels in February, 1931. Throughout February and
the first half of this month there was little life to
the trade, mills universally reporting slack demand
and an unusually small volum e of inquiries. The
recent curtailment in grinding, due to large stocks
on hand and small absorption, has resulted in a fur­
ther reduction of forces. The trend of prices was
easier. Mill operations ranged from 40 to 42 per
cent of capacity.
Furniture — February sales of the reporting
firms were 30 per cent smaller than for the same
month in 1931 and 21 per cent greater than the Janu­
ary total this year. Stocks on March 1 were 4 per
cent and 39 per cent smaller, respectively, than a
month and a year earlier. Ordering of all varieties
of furniture continues on a hand-to-mouth basis,




with demand for household furniture and furnish­
ings centering chiefly in cheap priced goods.
Groceries — Reversing the usual seasonal trend,
sales of the reporting firms decreased slightly in
February as compared with January, and the Febru­
ary total fell 26 per cent below that of the same
month last year. Stocks on March 1 were slightly
higher than a month earlier, but 21 per cent smaller
than a year ago. The general trend of prices con­
tinued lower, particularly on commodities based on
cereals and livestock. Demand for canned goods
continues slack, with indications for an unusually
large carryover of the 1931 pack.
Hardware — Ordering of seasonal merchandise
was backward during February, but has shown well
defined improvement since the first of March. Goods
for consumption in the rural areas are m oving more
freely. Demand for paints, varnishes and kindred
lines is more active than earlier in the year. Febru­
ary sales of the reporting firms were about 1 per
cent greater than in January and 22 per cent smaller
than in February, 1931. Stocks on March 1 were 13
per cent larger than a month earlier, but 12 per cent
less than on March 1 last year.
Iron and Steel Products — Purchasing by all
classes of consumers continued on a limited scale
throughout February and the first half of March.
There was a moderate improvement in releases of
finished materials by automobile manufacturers, and
resumption of operations at certain railroad shops
resulted in an increased movement of goods for use
in these activities. The total volume of ordering by
these industries, however, was considerably below
expectations, with the result that business in iron
and steel as a whole failed to show betterment over
the low levels prevailing in December and January.
A m ong miscellaneous users replacement require­
ments are accounting for liberal tonnages of a broad
variety of commodities. The general run of building
materials, while still quiet, showed more life than
during the closing weeks of last year. Producers
and distributors of sheets, plates, bars and other
rolled products reported shipments in February
slightly above the January volume, though still con­
siderably below a year ago. Manufacturers of stoves,
ranges and heating apparatus of other descriptions
experienced no improvement in the outlet for their
goods, and a number of plants were either closed,
or operating only tw o or three days a week. Jobbing
foundries are relying chiefly on miscellaneous work,
but have been able to maintain operations at about
the same rate as during the preceding thirty days.
Machinery and engine builders report no change
from the dull conditions which have obtained for
the past several months. There was further curtail­

ment of operations at plants fabricating structural
iron and steel. W arehouse and jobbin g interests
report buying by their customers on a strictly neces­
sity basis. O w ing to the low rate of industrial ac­
tivities, the output of scrap iron and steel has been
greatly curtailed. Despite this fact, however, prices
for all the principal grades remained at, or around
the lowest levels on the present downward m ove­
ment. Quotably there was no change in prices of
pig iron, but competition remains keen with reports
of concessions under list figures on desirable busi­
ness. On finished goods the low level of current
demand hardly affords an actual test of values, but
there were well defined signs of progress in the gen­
eral stabilization movement. For the country as a
whole, pig iron production in February totaled
960,550 tons, against 971,437 tons in January, and
1,711,192 tons in February, 1931. Steel ingot pro­
duction in the United States in February totaled
1,459,547 tons, against 1,461,290 tons in January and
2,527,319 tons in February, 1931.

year ago. Sales of new passenger cars by the report­
ing dealers in February were approximately three
and one-half times larger than in January, and 39
per cent smaller than in February, 1931. Purchasing
by dealers was on a slightly more liberal scale than
heretofore, with the result that stocks of new cars
on March 1 were approximately 10 per cent larger
than a month earlier, though still about one-fourth
smaller than a year ago. Sales of used cars showed
a substantial increase during February over the pre­
ceding month, but the total was 12 per cent smaller
than during the same month in 1931. Stocks of sala­
ble secondhand cars on March 1 were 5 per cent
larger than a month earlier, and 10 per cent larger
than a year ago. Demand for trucks showed the
usual seasonal betterment, February sales being
about four times larger than in January, though
26 per cent smaller than in February, 1931. A ccord ­
ing to dealers reporting on that item, deferred pay­
ment sales in February constituted 52 per cent of
their total sales, against 56 per cent in January and
56 per cent in February, 1931.

A U T O M O B IL ES
Combined passenger car, truck and taxicab pro­
duction in the United States in February totaled
117,413, against 119,344 in January, and 219,897 in
February, 1931.
A ccording to dealers reporting to this bank, dis­
tribution of automobiles in the Eighth District dur­
ing February showed a substantial increase over the
preceding month, and was the heaviest since last
June. The total, however, was below that of Febru­
ary last year. The increase in the month-to-month
comparison is seasonal in character, January nor­
mally being the month of smallest sales volume dur­
ing the year. Scattered reports since March 1 indi­
cate a continuance of the activity which prevailed
during February, sales for the first half o f the month
making a favorable showing as contrasted with the
corresponding period last year. Business in passen­
ger cars during February was stimulated to a con­
siderable extent by automobile shows held in sev­
eral of the large cities, also by the appearance of
new models and price inducements. A s has been the
case for a number of months, sales of dealers in the
chief urban centers were relatively larger than was
the case with distributors in the country and small
towns. Replacement demands in the country, how ­
ever, are being strongly felt, as indicated by an in­
creased volum e of inquiries and prospects. W hile
demand centers mainly in the cheap priced cars,
February sales were fairly well balanced through all
classes of makes. Business in parts and accessories
was also in considerably larger volume in February
than the preceding month, and only slightly below a




R E T A IL T R A D E
The condition of retail trade is reflected in the
follow ing comparative statements showing activi­
ties in the leading cities of the district:
Department Stores
Net sales comparison
Stocks on hand Stock turnover
Feb. 1932
2 months ended
Feb. 29, 1932
Jan. 1, to
comp, to
Feb. 29, 1932 to
comp, to
Feb. 29,
Feb. 1931
same period 1931 Feb. 28, 1931
1932 1931
Evansville ....
21.4% ‘
— 27.4%
— 22.5%
n ?
.26
Little Rock..,
— 20.0
— 0.9
.32
.38
Louisville .... ,...— 12.6
— 14.6
— 10.7
.36
.37
....— 16.5
— 13.4
— 15.5
.46
.41
....— 21.9
— 20.9
— 14.2
.42
.37
9.8
— 13.5
.57
.57
— 11.4
Springfield, Mo.— 16.0
— 21.4
.21
— 3.9
.18
8th District.. ....— 11.6
— 14.3
— 11.2
.49
.49

Retail Stores
Net sales comparisonStocks on hand Stock turnover
Feb. 1932
2 months ended
Feb. 29, 1932
Jan. 1, to
comp, to
Feb. 29,1932 to
comp, to
Feb. 29,
Feb. 1931 same period 1931 Feb. 28, 1931
1932 1931
Men’s
Furnishings — 20.2%
Boots
and Shoes......— 12.4

— 29.8%

— 13.4%

.42

.53

— 21.5

— 16.5

.39

.41

BU ILD IN G
T he dollar value of permits issued for new con­
struction in the five largest cities of the district in
February was 134 per cent more than in January,
and 61.1 per cent less than the February, 1931 total.
A ccording to statistics compiled by the F. W .
D odge Corporation, construction contracts let in
the Eighth Federal Reserve District in February
amounted to $6,118,904, which compares with
$4,905,453 in January and $12,508,780 in February,
1931. Production of portland cement for the country
as a whole in February totaled 3,971,000 barrels

against 5,026,000 barrels in January and 5,920,000
barrels in February, 1931. Building figures for Feb­
ruary fo llo w :

Evansville ..
Little Rock
Louisville ..
Memphis ....
St. Louis....

New Construction
Permits
*Cost
1932
1931
1932
1931
$
23 $
77
183
107
28
25
21
17
322
59
23
35
95
123
518
173
252
1,573
149
244

$ 844 $2,170
Feb. totals.. 407
626
360
2,855
Jan. totals.. 348
484
Dec. totals.. 408
2,855
2,426
504
*In thousands of dollars (000 omitted).

________ Repairs, etc.
*Cost
Permits
1932
1931
1932
1931
26
36
$
7 $ 12
36
27
69
49
41
40
114
68
63
76
128
146
222
219
180
116
486
417
338

490
491
497

$

400
289
187

$299
331
325

CONSUM PTION OF E L E C T R IC ITY
Public utilities companies in the five largest
cities of the district report consumption of electric
current by selected industrial customers in February
as being about 0.8 per cent smaller than in January
and 17.8 per cent less than in February, 1931. D e­
tailed figures fo llo w :
Jan.
No. of
Feb.
Custom­
1932
1932
ers
* K .W .H . *K .W .H .
Evansville .... 40
1,523
1,663
Little Rock.. 35
1,140
1,217
5,196
5,124
Louisville .... 85
1,389
1,933
Memphis ..... 31
St. Louis..... 157
11,810
11,297

Feb. 1932
comp, to
Jan. 1932
— 8.4%
— 6.3
+ 1.4
— 28.1
+ 4.5

21,058
Totals ........... 348
*In thousands (000 omitted).

— 0.8

21,234

Feb.
1931
* K .W .H .
1,731
1,314
5,327
1,704
15,543
25,619

Feb. 1932
comp, to
Feb. 1931
— 22.0%
— 13.2
— 2.5
— 18.5
— 24.0
— 17.8

A G RICU LTU R E
A ccording to the U. S. Department of A gricul­
ture, combined stocks of the principal grains on
farms in states including the Eighth Federal Re­
serve District were substantially greater than on
the same date in 1931 and the 5-year (1925-1929)
average. Combined farm reserves of wheat, corn
and oats in these states on March 1 totaled 606,289,000 bushels, which compares with 272,679,000 bush­
els a year ago, and the 5-year average of 464,102,000
bushels.
Reserve stocks of corn were especially large
aggregating 470,147,000 bushels, against 180,759,000
bushels on March 1, 1931, and 370,474,000 bushels
for the 5-year average. This unusually heavy carry­
over by producers was caused by the mild weather
throughout the winter, heavy production and hold­
ing by farmers because of low prices. In all states of
the district, the percentage of the 1931 crop shipped
out of the county where raised was higher than a
year earlier and the 10-year average.
In states of the district the amount of wheat on
farms on March 1 was 34,429,000 bushels, against
13,377,000 bushels on the same date in 1931, and
the 5-year average o f 11,546,000 bushels. Reserves
of oats totaled 101,713,000 bushels, which compares
with 74,544,000 bushels on March 1, 1931, and the
5-year average of 82,143,000 bushels.
General Conditions — Mild weather prevailed
generally through the district during February, and




conditions as a whole were favorable for growing
crops. Due to excessive moisture in many sections,
however, plowing and preparations for planting of
spring crops was hampered to a considerable extent.
This was true particularly in the cotton raising
areas, where initial work is considerably in arrears
of the stage reached at the corresponding period last
year. The first severe and protracted cold weather
of the winter developed in early March, freezing
temperatures causing a temporary halt to field work,
and doing considerable damage to fruits of all
descriptions and early vegetables. The extent of
this damage, and also possible injury to the grow ing
wheat crop has not been accurately determined, but
due to the advanced state of development of peaches
and pears in the southern stretches of the district,
partial failures of these crops are considered likely.
Considerable actual damage to strawberry crops in
the Ozark regions has been reported. The supply of
farm labor in all states of the district continues in
excess of requirements, with wage scales below
those of a year ago.
Winter Wheat — Reports relative to the grow ­
ing wheat crop prior to the March freeze were al­
most uniformly favorable. Color was reported excel­
lent, with both root and top growth good. There
were scattering complaints of fly infestation, but
nothing of a serious nature. It is too early to esti­
mate the effects of the low temperatures, but due
to advanced growth in many sections, and general
lack of adequate snow protection, apprehension of
damage is felt. Estimates of the U. S. Department
of Agriculture and state agricultural boards indicate
that feeding of wheat to live stock during the pres­
ent season was practiced to a greater extent than
ever before.
Corn — W etness of the soil in many sections
during late February interferred with preparation
of corn land, and generally through the district less
progress has been made than is ordinarily the case
at this season. Generally, good seed is plentiful and
arrangements made for financing seed requirements
of farmers have proved satisfactory. Due to low
prices and slack demand, the movement to market
has been below the usual seasonal volume.
Fruits and Vegetables — Up until the end of
February prospects for fruits and vegetables were
exceptionally promising, due to the mild winter.
The unseasonably cold weather of early March,
however, reversed the outlook, and serious damage
has been done to these crops. Peaches, pears, plums
and cherries have sustained material injury, particu­
larly in the south, where buds and blossoms were
frozen. Heavy losses were sustained by growers of

strawberries, and early truck crops in Arkansas and
Mississippi were reported to have been killed.
Grapes and apples were less advanced than other
varieties of fruit, and as a consequence were less
seriously affected, though in a number of localities
the apple crop will be considerably reduced.
Live Stock — Throughout the district livestock
came through the winter in excellent condition, be­
ing favored by mild weather and abundant feed and
water supplies. The sharp drop in temperatures
since March 1 has done little damage to herds,
though proving less favorable for the spring lamb
crop. Indications point to heavier lamb production
than last year, due to larger numbers of sheep on
farms. The movement of cattle, hogs and sheep to
market declined in February, being restricted by
low prices, slack demand and liberal stocks of
dressed meat in coolers. Milk and egg production
continued at a high rate through February, but
due to the extremely low prices of these products,
relatively small profits were derived by their pro­
ducers.
Receipts and shipments at St. Louis as reported
by the National Stock Yards, were as follow s:
________ Receipts
Feb.
Jan.
Feb.
1932
1932
1931
Cattle and Calves....... 71,770
75,298 77,694
Hogs .............................237,181267,476 273,418
Horses and Mules...... 5,224
3,873
9,140
Sheep ............................ 25,798 37,050 22,848

Shipments
Feb.
Jan.
Feb.
1932
1932
1931
39,502 45,227 47,610
168,303 182,231 223,658
4,991
3,296
8,646
7,455 14,806 11,518

Cotton — New crop preparations, which were
already backward, have been further delayed by the
drop to below freezing weather during the first half
of March. On the other hand, weather has been fav­
orable for clearing up cotton remaining in fields, and
the movement of this portion of the crop has kept
receipts at a relatively high level. Indications gen­
erally through the district point to reduced acreages.
Farmers plans are being influenced by low prices,
the heavy carryover, and in many instances, diffi­
culties attending financing. Probably the most fav­
orable development during the past thirty days has
been the passing of the flood threat in the valleys
of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. The
general demand for raw cotton developed no nota­
ble change as contrasted with the preceding month.
The undertone of the market was fairly steady, with
fluctuations narrow. In the St. Louis market the
middling grade ranged from 6.50c to 6.75c between
February 16 and March 15, closing at 6.50c on the
latter date, which compares with 6.50c on February
16 and 10c on March 16, 1931. Receipts at Arkansas
warehouses from August 1, 1931, to March 11, 1932,
totaled 1,427,647 bales, against 807,502 bales for the
corresponding period a year ago. Stocks on hand on
March 11 totaled 588,390 bales, against 637,305




bales on February 12, and 236,019 bales on the cor­
responding date in 1931.
Tobacco— Estimated total sales of burley tobac­
co to February 20 were 448,090,367 pounds at an
average of $8.68 per cwt., or a total of $38,939,053.
This compares with sales to the same date in 1931
of 368,543,847 pounds, averaging $15.62 and bring­
ing $57,566,549. This comparison is striking in that
it shows 79,546,520 pounds more sold this year than
last, whereas the dollar value this year fell $18,627,496 short of that in 1931. All burley markets have
been practically closed for the season, after dispos­
ing of the largest crop of burley tobacco ever raised
and within the shortest period of time since the loose
leaf floor system was inaugurated. Markets in the
air-cured districts have also closed. The crop sold
in these markets fell about 30 per cent short of the
lowest estimate placed on it and at the lowest aver­
age price in years. The movement to market has
been retarded by cold weather in the dark-fired dis­
tricts. Considerable dark-fired tobacco is being
withheld pending beginning of operations by the
Cooperative Marketing Association.
In all tobacco districts the recent cold weather
served to slow down plowing and general prepara­
tions for the new crop. Generally farmers are under­
taking early work with less enthusiasm than usual,
and indications point to reduced planting of all
types of tobacco. L ow prices to producers, large
supplies of leaf, reduced consumption of tobacco
products and declining exports are among the fac­
tors tending to hold down this year’s acreage.
Commodity Prices — Range of prices in the St.
Louis market between February 15, 1932, and
March 15, 1932, with closing quotations on the lat­
ter date and on March 16, 1931, follow :
Wheat
High
May .................... per bu..$ .5 9 ^ $
.61 34
July
Sept.
.6254
Dec.
.65*6
No. 2 red winter
No. 2 hard “
.58 54
Corn
...
“
.385^
.41
July ................... ... “
No. 2 mixed ... ... “
.3654
.36
No. 2 white .... ... “
Oats
No. 2 white ........ “
.25>4

Low
.55
.5 6 ^
.59
-62

_____________ Close_______________
Mar. 15, 1932
Mar. 16, 1931

$ .5554

.56^

........... $ “ 61*"’

.59
.62

.55

.55

@ .5554

.................80
$ .7654® .77

.36
.38&
.32
.3254

.33
.33

.36
.38*4
@ .3354
@ .34

•6554
.67
.60y2 @ .61
.62 @ .6254

.23

.2354 @ .23*6

.3354@ .34

X* l U u i

Soft patent....... ..per bbl. 4.20
Spring patent... ... “
4.50
Middling cotton... .per lb.
.06*4
Hogs on hoof...... ,.per cwt. 4.95

3.40
4.20
.0654
3.15

3.40
4.20
3.60

@ 3.75
@ 4.50
.0654
@ 4.65 .

4.90
4.20
6.35

@ 5.25
@ 4.50
.10
@ 8.25

F IN A N C IA L
W hile demand for credit for commercial and in­
dustrial purposes and for financing agriculture con­
tinued quiet during the past thirty days, the bank­
ing and financial situation as a whole in the Eighth
District underwent further distinct improvement.
As a result of recent legislative measures and re­

stored public confidence, the number of bank failures
decreased markedly. A number of suspended banks
reopened. The rate of withdrawals of deposits from
commercial banks decreased in a considerable de­
gree, and for the first time this year, total deposits
of reporting member banks turned upward during
the first tw o weeks in March.
Credit requirements of mercantile and manufac­
turing interests were in less than the usual seasonal
volume, due chiefly to the decreased business activi­
ties and the fact that rapid turnover and the charac­
ter of buying permits many interests to operate on
their own resources. Liquidation in commercial
channels, while spotty, has on the whole been in
considerable volume. February and March settle­
ments with wholesalers in the chief distributing
centers were in the main satisfactory, and rela­
tively larger than at the same period last year.
Smaller agricultural demands upon the banks are
ascribed to a number o f reasons, among them ability
to borrow from Governmental and other agencies,
lateness of the season, and the general determination
to produce this season's crops at smaller cost than
in past years. Grain and milling interests further
reduced their commitments, the total of which is
measurably smaller than at this particular time for
a number of years.
Loans of the reporting member banks continued
to decline during late February, reaching a new low
point in the final week. Since that time, however,
the trend has been upward, and on March 9 the
total was slightly larger than a month earlier,
though about 19 per cent smaller than a year ago.
Investments receded moderately, but continued sub­
stantially higher than during the corresponding
period in 1931. Deposits, which had been declining
steadily since last summer, reversed this trend in
late February, and on March 9 showed a moderate
gain over the total on February 10. As compared
with the preceding thirty days there was little
change in borrowings o f all member banks from the
Federal Reserve Bank, and the average continued
substantially below the same time last year. There
was little change in the volume of Federal Reserve
notes outstanding as contrasted with the preceding
thirty days.
Interest rates remained about steady, with pre­
vailing quotations at the St. Louis banks as fo llo w s :
Prime commercial loans, 4^2 to 6 per ce n t; collateral
loans, 5 to 6 per ce n t; loans secured by warehouse
receipts, 5 to 6 per c e n t; interbank loans, 5 to 6 per
cent and cattle loans, 5 to 6 per cent.
Condition of Banks — Loans and discounts of
the reporting member banks on March 9, 1932,




showed a decrease of .1 per cent as contrasted with
February 10, 1932. Deposits increased .1 per cent
between February 10, 1932 and March 9, 1932 and on
the latter date were 15.3 per cent smaller than on
March 11, 1931. Composite statement follow s:
*Mar. 9,
1932
Number of banks reporting............
24
Loans and discounts (mcl. rediscounts)
Secured by U. S. Govt, obligations
and other stocks and bonds....$ 151,486
All other loans and discounts.... 219,068

*Feb. 10,
1932
24

*Mar. 11,
1931
25

$148,252
222,792

$188,401
270,869

Total loans and discounts.................$370,554
Investments
U . S. Government securities...... 86,577
Other securities............................... 118,857

$371,044

$459,270

88,343
119,631

45,869
140,490

Total investments................................$205,434
Reserve balance with F. R. Bank 39,548
Cash in vault.........................................
6,469
Deposits
Net demand deposits..................... 315,451
Time deposits.................................. 207,554
Government deposits.....................
647

$207,974
38,716
7,013

$186,359
44,735
6,433

310,235
209,716
2,941

378,654
239,259

$617,913
$522,892
Total deposits.......................................$523,652
Bills payable and rediscounts with
4,403
Federal Reserve Bank................
2,243
*In thousands (000 omitted).
These 24 banks are located in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis, Little
Rock, and Evansville, and their total resources comprise approximately
52.6 per cent of all member banks in this district.

Debits to Individual Accounts — The follow ing
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 leading
cities of the district. Charges to accounts of banks
are not included.
*Feb.,
1932
East St. Louis & Natl.
Stock Yards, 111..$ 18,213
3,366
El Dorado, Ark.....
Evansville, Ind..... 15,603
Fort Smith, Ark....
6,890
Greenville, Miss....
3,574
Helena, Ark............
1,062
Little Rock, Ark.. 17,945
Louisville, K y........ 106,023
Memphis, Tenn...... 85,405
Owensboro, K y.....
3,398
Pine Bluff, Ark......
4,617
Quincy, 111.............
6,377
St. Louis, Mo........ 411,816
Sedalia, M o............
1,228
Springfield, Mo.....
8,806
**Texarkana,
Ark-Tex.......
6,544

*Jan.,
1932

*Feb.,
1931

$ 20,966
3,966
23,216
8,302
3,186
1,227
23,320
120,440
102,478
5,525
5,468
6,576
550,008
2,676
11,208

$ 27,126
5,605
20,552
8,889
4,008
.....26,744
123,984
101,316
6,205
6,111
6,602
536,850
3,381
14,336

7,593

9,813

Feb. 1932 comp, to
Jan. 1932 Feb. 1931
— 13.1%
— 15.1
— 32.8
— 27.0
+ 12.2
— 13.4
— 23.0
— 12.0
— 16.7
— 39.5
— 15.6
— 3.0
— 25.1
— 54.1
— 21.4

— 32.9
— 14.5
— 15.7
— 45.2
— 24.4
— 4.4
— 23.3
— 63.7
— 38.6

— 13.8

— 33.7

$896,155
$901,522
— 21.8
Totals .....................$700,867
*In thousands (000 omitted).
** Includes one bank in Texarkana, Texas not in Eighth District.

— 32.9%
— 39.9
— 24.1
— 22.5
— 10.8

— 22.3

Federal Reserve Operations — During Febru­
ary the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis dis­
counted for 237 member banks against 257 in Janu­
ary and 185 in February, 1931. The discount rate
remained unchanged at 3^2 per cent. Changes in the
principal assets and liabilities of this institution ap­
pear in the follow ing table:

*Mar. 18,
1932
Bills discounted .................................................... $19,044
Bills bought .......................................................... 3,378
U . S. Securities.................................................... 27,787
Federal Inter. Cr. Bk. Debentures...............................
1,011
Participation in Inv. Foreign Banks............
Total bills and securities..............................$51,220
Total reserves........................................................ 110,674
F. R. Notes in circulation................................ 93,085
Total deposits................................................... .
61,420
Ratio of reserve to deposits
and F. R. Note Liabilities......................... 71.6%
*In thousands (000 omitted).

(Compiled March 23, 1932)

*Feb. 18, *Mar. 18,
1931
1932
$21,762
$ 8,023
6,567
4,623
23,899
27,886
630
1,100
......736
$56,001
107,372
93,446
62,177

$39,225
117,138
76,947
71,283

69.0%

79.0%

BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN T H E U N IT E D STATES
Volume of industrial production and factory employment in­
creased from January to February by an amount smaller than
usual at this season. Improvement in the banking situation dur­
ing February and the first three weeks of March was reflected
in a decline in bank suspensions and a return flow of currency
from the public to the banks.
PRODUCTION AND EM PLO YM ENT — Output of indus­
trial products increased less than seasonally in February, and the
Board’s index, which makes allowance for the usual seasonal

construction, part of the decrease in the value of awards reflects
reductions in building costs.
DISTRIBU TIO N — Carloadings of merchandise and of mis­
cellaneous freight showed none of the usual seasonal increase in
February, while sales at department stores remained unchanged,
as is usual at this season.
W H O L E S A L E PRICES — Wholesale commodity prices, as
measured by the index of the Bureau of Labor Statistic declined

Index of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (1 9 2 6 = 1 0 0 ).
Latest figure February, 66.3.

variations, declined from 71 per cent of the 1923-1925 average to
70 per cent. Activity in the steel industry during February and
the first three weeks of March showed little change from the
January rate, although ordinarily substantial increases are re­
ported at this time of year. Automobile production continued in
small volume, showing none of the usual seasonal expansion, and
the number of cars produced in the three months period ending
in February was about 35 per cent less than in the corresponding
period a year ago. In the lumber industry, output declined fur­
ther, contrary to seasonal tendency. Activity at cotton mills and
shoe factories increased by more than the seasonal amount and
was at about the same level as in the corresponding months last
year.
Volume of employment at factories increased in February by
somewhat less than the usual seasonal amount. In the iron and
steel, automobile and machinery industries the number employed
showed an increase smaller than is usual in this month, and at
lumber mills a continued decline in employment was reported. At

per cent for February. Between the first week of February and
the third week of March, there were increases in the prices of
cotton, livestock, and meats, while prices of grains, nonferrous
metals and imported raw materials including silk, sugar, and rub­
ber declined considerably.
BANK CREDIT — In the banking situation the important
developments in February and the first half of March were a
considerable reduction in the number of bank suspensions and a
return flow of currency from the public to the banks. The coun­
try’s stock of monetary gold declined in February, but increased
somewhat in the first half of March. Member bank reserve bal­
ances, after decreasing almost continuously since last summer,
showed a slight increase for the first two weeks in March. Pur­
chases of United States government obligations by the Federal
Reserve Banks beginning in March were accompanied by a con­
siderable decline in member bank indebtedness to the reserve
banks.
Loans and investments of member banks in leading cities
continued to decline until the middle of March when there was
a substantial increase, owing largely to the banks' purchases of

Monthly rates in the open market in New York: Commercial paper rate on 4 to
6 month paper. Acceptance rate on 90-day bankers* acceptances. Latest fig­
ures are averages of first 22 days in March,

Monthly averages of daily figures for 12 Federal reserve banks.
are averages of first 22 days in March.

establishments producing fabrics, wearing apparel and shoes, vol­
ume of employment increased by more than the seasonal amount.
Daily average value of total building contracts awarded, as
reported by the F. W . Dodge Corporation, showed little change
in February and the first half of March, and for the period be­
tween the first of January and the middle of March the value of
contracts was 65 per cent less than a year ago, reflecting contin­
ued declines in residential building as well as in other types of

United States government securities, issued on March 15. De­
mand and time deposits of these banks decreased further during
February but showed little change in the first half of March.
Open market rates on acceptances and commercial paper declined
during February and the first half of March. During this period
yields on Treasury and other high grade bonds decreased to the
lowest point since early December, but after the middle of the
month yields on high grade corporate bonds increased somewhat.




Latest figures


Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63102