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