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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS
MONTHLY REPORT ON
GENERAL BUS!NESS CO N D m O N S
!N FEDERAL RESERVE D)STR!CT No. S
Released for Publication On and After the Morning of May 27, 192!

W ILLIAM McC. MARTIN,
CHAIRM AN OF T H E BOARD AMD FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

T^ROGRESS of genera! business in this district
during the past thirty days has been marked
by irregularity. In some !ines the improve­
ment noted in !ate March and through Apn! was
continued, but several of the industries which
showed the earlier improvement have lapsed back
into quiescence and show a falling o# m volume
of business done. Taken as a whole it can hardly be
said that the recent gains were maintained. Lines
which failed to improve earlier in the year, notably
those based on iron and steel and such as depend
upon the building industry and railroad purchasing
for their prosperity, are in about the same posi­
tion as at the end of the preceding thirty day
period. The financial situation has made a rela­
tively much better showing than the industrial.
An easier tendency has appeared in interest rates,
and the banking status is stronger in every way
than in more than a year.
The check in industry in this particular region
may be in a measure ascribed to extremely unfav­
orable weather conditions. Heavy and continuous
rains in late April and early May caused a slowing
down in the distribution of commodities and activ­
ities of various kinds. Spring farming operations
have been delayed, due to nooded fields, and in
certain sections it has been necessary to reseed
cotton, corn and other crops. Heavy roads have
hampered the movement of farm products to rail­
road terminals, and prevented farmers from coming
to town to do their shopping. Retail trade in the
larger communities has also suffered to some extent
from the excessive precipitation, and unseasonably
low temperatures. Expectations of lower freight
rates is another reason given for deferred buying
in some lines.
There are complaints of slack business from
the typical fruit producing sections of the district,
plans and programs having been altered by the
almost universal destruction wrought in orchards
by the spring frosts and freezes. Replies to some­
thing over 300 questionnaires sent to all parts of
the district indicate that apples and stone fruit
will be almost a complete failure. Some of the
very late varieties of apples escaped and will make
a partial crop, and in the extreme southern areas
peaches were not entirely ruined, but otherwise
prospects for fruit in all states of the district are
probably the poorest on record.
Price movements and changes during the past
thirty days have been erratic and irregular, which
fact has in many instances had a tendency to
retard baying. In regard to manufactured goods,
the tread was for the most part downward, while
* aamber of raw materials and products oi the soil



held steady or advanced. However, there were
exceptions to the general statement in both classi­
fications. Cereals, especially wheat, advanced
sharply in the St. Louis market, the upturn elimin­
ating in large part the heavy losses of the preced­
ing thirty days. Cotton responded to a better con­
sumptive demand from domestic sources, and
recorded small gains. Sugar, on the other hand,
was lower. In shoes, clothing, candy, drygoods,
drugs and chemicals, hardware, furniture and some
other lines the curve of prices showed a more or
less acute downward deflection.
In all lines of merchandizing and manufacture
investigated reports agree that purchasing is being
pursued with the utmost caution and almost ex­
clusively for immediate requirements. Aside from
boots and shoes, drygoods and groceries, the proportion of future buying has shown no increase
over earlier months this year. There is an insistance on proper prices and values, and economy
is being practiced in both cities and the rural com­
munities. As an instance of the disposition to
economize, wholesalers of drygoods and millinery
make the comment that there has been a marked
rise in recent weeks of purchasing of yard goods,
which indicates that women are going back to
making their own clothes, a practice which
declined greatly during the period of extravagant
spending and intensive employment during the war
and after the armistice. One leading interest re­
ported its sales of yard goods during the past thirty
days the heaviest in any like period in more than
four years. Ready-to-wear dealers and manufac­
turers report that the "back to the needle" move­
ment is being reflected to some extent ia their
business.
Officials of railroads operating in this district
report that the first weeks of May developed a
slight improvement in offerings of freight The
St. Louis Terminal Railway Association showed
small gains in loaded cars received in April and
early May over March, and numerically the move­
ment was considerably larger than a year ago, but
this signifies little, as the outlaw switchmen's
strike, which began April 8, !920, partially paralized trafKc through this gateway. The recent
volume record would have made a much more fav­
orable showing but for the backwardness in ship­
ments of coal and iron and steel products. The
labor situation with the transportation companies
remains about as it was a month ago. Some addi­
tional employes have been let out, and most of the
roads are negotiating with their men relative to
wage reductions.

The Mississippi Warrior Service, which oper­
ates a barge line between St. Louis and New Or­
leans, reports that in volume of freight transported
and money returns, April was the banner month
of its history. After deducting all overhead ex­
pense, depreciation, insurance and claims, earnings
amounted to $30,000. The Service now has two
regular sailings weekly, and reports capacity load­
ings in either direction.
Coal dealers and producers report a shade bet­
ter demand from domestic and industrial sources.
Consumers are being urged to cover their needs
for later in the year, and slightly more interest
is being taken in contracting, which however, con­
tinues far below normal for this season. Produc­
tion of soft coal continued to recover during the
closing week of April and the two opening weeks
of May, but despite this recovery the output is
stil! at the lowest level touched at any time since
April, 1914, except of course for the period of the
great strike of 1919. The draft on consumers'
reserve stocks of coal, which amounted to per­
haps 8,000,000 tons during the Arst quarter, still
continued. Bituminous production for the year
1921 to date is not only more than 25 per cent
behind the active years of 1917, 1918 and 1920, but
is over 9,000,000 tons, or 6 per cent, behind 1919.
The automobile and accessory business, which
during late March and April took a decided turn
for the better, has slowed down in a disappointing

manner since the first of May. The change is
ascribed by dealers to a return of uncertainty rela­
tive to prices among prospective purchasers caused
by reductions announced about May 1 by two lead­
ing manufacturers. Unseasonable and inclement
weather is mentioned as another factor militating
against this line. Sales in the country continue pro­
portionately below those made in the larger centers
of population. Combined automobile registration
in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana and Arkansas for 1921
to May 1 is only 14,690 less than the full registra­
tion for those states in 1920, and exceeds the totals
of 1919 and 1918 by 134,174 and 287,589 respec­
tively.
Collections on current accounts during the past
thirty days have showed improvement, and slightly
better payments are being made on so-called "froz­
en accounts" in the cotton areas, and other sections
where marketing of farm products has been back­
ward. Generally the feeling is more hopeful and
more intensive efforts are being made by both
merchants and their customers to pay up. Answers
to 324 questionnaires addressed by this bank to
corporations and individuals, requesting informa­
tion relative to the state of their collections showed
4.1 per cent excellent, 16.7 per cent good, 62.5 per
cent fair and 16.7 per cent poor.
The per capita circulation of the United States
on May 1, 1921, was $55.40 against $56.60 on April
1 and $56.44 on May 1, 1920.

Commercial failures in the twelve Federal Reserve Districts during the month of April, 1921, with
comparative figures for the same period in 1920 were as follows:
District

1921
145
229
104
118
154
136
178
115
39
50
98

Philadelphia, Third..
Cleveland, Fourth.__
Atlanta, Sixth..

Kansas City, Tenth..
Dallas, Eleventh___

121
M87

1920
51
117
24
36
14
36
39
14
16
32
16
109
504

Liabilities 1921
$ 1,746,699
10,471,232
2,227,631
4,366,788
3,334,591
1,997,350
3,949,115
2,427,872
593,718
1,966,778
2,905,847
2,580,148
$38,567,769

Liabilities 1920
$ 982,320*
2,865,153
278,334
352,946
88,450
361,833
4,551,640
200,207
681,330
628,450
100,582
2,132,890
$13,224,135

MANUFACTURING A N D W H O L E S A L E
Replies to questionnaires addressed to leading
manufacturing and wholesale interests of the dis^
fx P fss some disappoint^
^ of busmess to broaden and aug? A
** hscl acquired during March
and Apnl Extremely !itt!e in the way ^ future
buymg ,s be.ng done, and the genera! d i s p o s S
and ^
? merchants !s to avoid stocking up,
and take only what they are obliged to have in
order to accommodate their customers. Another
genera! comment ts that the customary ratio berMtM 6<T Th
Prices has not been
restored. The pubhc has been advised of the dechne *n raw mater:a!s and manufactured goods and
M unwilhng to purchase heavi!y unti! these reduc-

^
P ^ < * along to the ultimate con­
sumer Strenuous eKorts in the way of salesman° f temtory, and education are being
undertaken to put goods into consumption. Num­
erous mvestgahons of retai! prices are being mad.



by !arge manufacturers and wholesalers, and they
are endeavoring to show the retailer that by rc uc
ing his prices and turning over a greater vo uni
of merchandise he can best increase his profits a
restore prosperity to general business. Seaso
activity in many lines has been retarded by .
cold, wet weather, but during the past two w
orders for goods in this category have
provement. Effects of the late season are tn
acutely felt in the rural districts, wh&r s**
farm operations are backward. All reports
cate that the public is in need of all kinds oi
modities, and despite heavy unemployment,
^
a position to purchase. It is simply a
. ,gg
prices, and when full confidence in existing
is restored, according to those reporting, M*ep
lie will resume buying. Iron and steel goooj
bricks, lumber and building materials ge
^
continue slow. There were additional repo
the closing down of iron and steel plants, an

of pig iron continue at a minimum. On the other
hand, factories turning out articles for personal
consumption, have increased their operations and
unemployment in these lines is considerably less
than a month ago.
Boots and Shoes — Orders for immediate ship­
ment are coming in in excellent shape, and the past
three weeks have developed a slight improvement
in future buying. Interests reporting say their
sales during the period under review were 10 per
cent greater in numbers of pairs, as contrasted
with the corresponding time last year, though
from 24 to 40 per cent less in dollar value. Unfilled
orders were 30 to 40 per cent less than last year,
but 10 to 20 per cent larger than the preceding
month. As contrasted with the corresponding
period in 1920, prices average about 40 per cent
lower, and declines for the month range from 5 to
10 per cent. The demand centers chiefly in cheaper
shoes and specialty goods, and the frequent change
in styles makes the situation difHcult for the manu­
facturer. Raw materials are steady in the main,
with calfskins and seasonal goods firmer. Collec­
tions are fair to good. Plant operation during the
past 30 days was maintained at from 90 to 100 per
cent of capacity against 80 to 90 per cent the month
before.
Clothing — As a general rule the 21 interests
reporting indicate that their sales were about on
a parity with the preceding month, but that the
unfavorable weather has had a deterimental effect
on business. Virtually nothing is being done in
the way of future buying, and manufacturers con­
tinue to pursue the policy of making up only such
goods as they have orders for. Prices, which range
from 60 to 75 per cent under the corresponding
period last year, sustained a further decline of
from 2 to 6 per cent during the past thirty days.
Electrical Supplies — Increases of from 1 to

22 per cent in the volume of sales was recorded by
the 8 reporting interests as contrasted with the
preceding thirty days, but decreases under the
same time in 1920 ranged from 11 to 35% per cent.
The comment is made that public utilities are find­
ing it easier to finance their needs and are planning
improvements and extensions. The movement of
seasonal goods, such as electric fans, is backward.
Iron and Steel Products — Goods under this
classification continue dull, with prices weak and
declining. Mills and foundries report a dearth of
new business, and old orders about worked off.
Uncertainty relative to values is causing custom­
ers to defer their needs, and there were further
*^Pjn*ts of closing and curtailment of operations at
"Mils, foundries and machine shops. Several stove
^ have resumed operations, but others
yhidi had planned to start up on May 1 have
ecided to put off doing so until early in June. Un­
employment in the metal industries is more marked
wan in any of the other basic lines. Sales and
^ ^
iron in this district are at a low

and the price of No. 2 foundry iron, 1.75 to
3 per cent silicon, has declined to $23 per ton
low on the movement. Implement
antuacturers and dealers report light sales, and
, y that their agents throughout the country find
**nBers are determined to produce the present




crops with the expenditure of as little as possible
for new equipment, and supplies.
Hardware — Analysis of the replies of 12 re­
porting firms shows a falling off in sales during
the past thirty days of from 3 to 12 per cent as
compared with the preceding month this year.
Unfavorable weather, the rigid economy being
practiced in the rural districts, and general busi­
ness depression are given as the reasons for the
decrease. High freight rates and uncertainty as
to prices were other factors making for lighter
sales. Some seasonal goods are moving in fair
volume, and there is a demand in the country for
nails, wire, rope, and other materials used for re­
pair work. A shade more activity is noted in build­
ers hardware.
Flour — Due to low stocks in the hands of
retailers and consumers generally, sales of Hour
have been making a somewhat better showing
during the past few weeks. Trade as a whole, how­
ever, is far below normal, and the erratic fluctua­
tions of wheat futures have a tendency to seriously
disturb the psychology of buyers. Export business,
on the other hand, has evinced decided symptoms of
improvement. Within the last two weeks the Nor­
wegian Government has placed an order for 25,000
sacks of hard winter Hour, which is the largest
amount bought in this district for several months.
Other foreign customers have purchased, and on
clears and low grades the demand calls for ship­
ments up to August. Prices are from 75c to $1
higher than a month ago. Mill operation during the
past thirty days was at from 40 to 50 per cent of
capacity. There was another cut of $3 per week
in wages of mill labor, making $6 since the first
of February.
Candy — Sales of the 7 reporting interests
show a slight increase in pounds over the corres­
ponding period a year ago, but a heavy loss in
dollar value. The situation has improved to the
extent that surplus stocks in both first and second
hands have been liquidated, which permits of stead­
ier factory operation. The demand is described
as good where prices and quality square with con­
sumers* ideas of cheapness, but very poor on goods
which are being held at the old high price levels.
Factory operation is at about 60 per cent of capac­
ity, an increase of 10 per cent for the month.
Drugs and Chemicals — Sales of the 9 firms
canvassed show decreases of from 2 to 16 per cent
in sales during the past thirty days as compared
with the month before. The comparison with the
year before makes an unfavorable showing for the
principal reason that April, 1920, was the largest
month ever experienced by the drug and chemical
trade in this district. Retailers are confining their
purchases to immediate requirements, and they ate
disposed to eschew fancy goods and luxuries, bulk
of their orders being for staples. Manufacturers
are dxtremely conservative in their purchasing.
Bargain sheet goods are moving well. The trend
of prices is downward.
Woodenware — A slight slowing down in new
orders is reported by the five reporting interests.
Production, however, made a slight gam over the
preceding month, and prices were steady. Stocks
in retailers hands are light, and the public is m

need of goods. The proportion of future orders on
manufacturers books is larger than at any time
this year.
Lumber— In the last half of April, the demand
for structural lumber showed marked expansion.
Reports of the Southern Pine Association indicated
the heaviest volume of orders of yellow pine booked
within a similar period in more than a year; Doug­
las Rr demand showed similar expansion. Virtu­
ally all of this business was based on building
activity and represented sales to retail yards,
largely for dwelling construction. Since May 1
there has been a lull in the demand, due largely
to labor disturbances in the building field. At pres­
ent the activity is not in excess of that of early
April. Prices had in some instances recovered
slightly and have, thus far, retained these gains
with no immediate prospects of slump. Some of
the trade ascribe the present dullness to expectation
on the part of the public of lower freight rates
and consequent deferred buying. Trade in hard­

woods has improved considerably during the per­
iod. Demand from consuming industrials is grad­
ually increasing. The principal buying, however,
has been from flooring manufacturers and makers
of millwork, whose business has been increased by
the increase in building. Heavy rains in the South
have greatly retarded hardwood manufactures and
are a bullish factor. The tendency of prices of high
grade hardwoods is decidedly upward, lower grades
continuing weak and unsteady.
Furniture — Gains of from 15 to 20 per cent
in volume and dollar value of goods sold are re­
ported by the 13 interests canvassed. These re­
sults, however, were accomplished only by inten­
sive effort, and concessions in prices. High grade
goods are in relatively better demand than the
cheaper sort. About 60 per cent of the factory
capacity of the district was active during the per­
iod under review, a gain of 10 per cent over the
month before. Collections arc in the main better,
but spotted.

R E T A IL
A survey of fifteen leading department stores
of the district discloses a slight increase in sales
during April over those in March, while stocks on
hand dwindled to the extent of about 10 per cent.
There has been an appreciable increase in orders
placed for new goods and the annual rate of turn­
over has tended toward an increase.
Reports
from
smaller
retail
merchants
throughout the district indicate marked conserva­
tism on the part of their customers. This is par­
ticularly true of grocery and clothing lines. Col­
lections in some instances are slower than hereto­
fore, though on the whole shopkeepers are getting
m their money in fair shape. Virtually all lines
report a tendency to stiffen credit allowances. The
general report is that progress has been made in
the direction of marking goods to a replacement cost
basis and that sales are being made on a closer mar­
gin .of profit than in many months. Seasonal de­
mands are manifest in sporting goods, which are
movmg m good volume, though distributors in this
hne have to cope with the problem of high prices
Articles usually purchased in quantity by the smali

boy customer, such as league balls, leather gloves,
etc., are boosted to almost prohibitive levels by im­
position of the war tax. An unusual inquiry for golf
goods is reported this season, which is ascribed by
dealers to the phenomenal growth of interest in that
sport. The scarcity and high prices of hickory and
persimmon woods is given as the chief cause for the
advance in the price of golf clubs. The opening
weeks of May have brought rather disappointing
results in general clothing lines, due in a measure
to unfavorable climatic conditions. A rather general
comment among retailers is that high living costs,
particularly exorbitant rents, are responsible for
curtailed buying of clothing and luxuries in an even
greater degree than the present wave of unemploy­
ment. Reduction in the price of gasoline and sea­
sonal consumption by motorists has caused a good
increase in sales of distributing agencies. The re­
cent cold weather has retarded the movement o
Southern garden truck, and the usual price reduc­
tions of vegetables has not been as m a rk e d as ex­
pected. Grocers report the destruction of fruit
pects caused by the spring freezes has stimulate
the demand for canned goods, particularly fruits.

Figures on retail trade as indicated by reports from representative department stores for April, 1921,
are as follows:
^
St.
^
.
Louis
Percentage increase (or decrease) in net sales-------jhHing April over or under sales in April,
Percentage increase in net sales from January * ^
1st through Apri! 30, 1921 in comparison with
sales during the same 4 months of 1920......
63
Percentage decrease in stocks on hand at the end
of April, 1921, in comparison with stocks on
hand at the end of April, 1920.__ _ _______ -12 5
_
Percentage increase in stocks on hand at the^end
o f April, 1921, in comparison with stocks on
hand at the end of March, 1921_____________- 1.0
Percentage of average stocks on hand at the end
of each month since January 1, 1921 to aver­
age monthly sales during the same 4 months ...369.f
Percentage of outstanding order on April 30, 1921,
to tota*! purchases of merchandise (cost
price) during the calendar year 1920________ 7.7

Note: -demotes decrease.




Louisville

Memphis

Little
Rock

Evansville

District

- 2.6

- 11.1

-29.

6.4

-.9

-4.9

-8.4

-16.4

-5.9

2.4

- 20.6

-8.5

- 20.

-4.1

- 12.6

-.2

1.5

- 2.8

-.4

397.7

381.8

4.4

4.1

2.7
265.

826.

.4

379.6

6.6

A G R IC U L T U R E
Condition of the growing winter wheat crop in
this district is still favorable, despite the fact that
growth has been checked somewhat by the recent
cold, wet weather. This weather has proved benefi­
cial, in that it has diminished the danger of Hessian
8y damage. Green bug activity is on the wane.
Corn planting in the Xorth has been retarded by
the excessive moisture, and due to the same cause
considerable replanting has been required to the
South. Soil conditions are fine, and a few weeks
of sunshine and high temperatures would rapidly
repair any injury thus far sustained by corn pros­
pects. There are reports of poor stands of oats in
Illinois and Indiana, attributable to frost. Plant­
ing, cultivation and replanting of cotton has been
seriously delayed by the overabundant precipita­
tion. Answers to questionnaires indicate that stands
are poor and growth slow. Much planting still re­
mains to be done in Arkansas, Missouri and Tennes­
see. Reports relative to acreage vary considerably,
and it is still too early to form any accurate idea of

how the total will compare with last season. The
Arkansas Cotton Trade Association estimates the
acreage reduction in that State will amount to 35.3
per cent. Tobacco markets are practically all closed
for the season, leaving a large amount of the leaf
in farmers' hands, most of which is of inferior qual­
ity. Tobacco beds are reported in good condition,
and awaiting favorable weather for planting. The
acreages to be planted is generally reported short.
Pastures are in prime condition, having been im­
mensely benehtted by the recent rains. Clover and
alfalfa are recovering from frost damage, and
other hay crops are in healthy condition. According
to a large majority of reports received, livestock is
in prime health. There was some mortality among
young pigs and lambs due to the unseasonably cold
weather, and from sections of Illinois come reports
of hog cholera, but otherwise advices are uniformly
optimistic. The strawberry crop of the district is
estimated to be from 30 to 40 per cent less than
normal.

The U. S. Department of Agriculture, in its report as of May 9, 1921, gives the condition of winter
wheat in States of the Eighth Federal Reserve District as follows:
ACREAGE

%
Abandoned
Arkansas ............ ............ 4.0
Illinois ................ ............ 2.3
Indiana ............... ............ 3.0
Kentucky ........... ............ 3.5
Mississippi ......... ............ 20.0
Missouri ............. ............ 2.0
Tennessee ......... ............ 2.0
United States
............ 4.6

Acres
Remaining
to be
Harvested
127,000
2,413,000
1,894,000
603,000
6,000
2,764,000
461,000
38,721,000

CONDITION
May 1
10
yr.
1921 1920 av.
86 83 90
94 69 81
90 65 82
93 71 86
88 80 86
91 75 86
91 73 87
88.8 79.1 86.8

Forecast
1921
May 1
Condition
1,398,000
46,952,000
32,899,000
7,851,000
94,000
42,256,000
5,243,000
629,287,000

Final
Estimate
1920
1,197,000
35,720,000
23,400,000
5,610,000
100,000
32,500,000
4,028,000
577,763,000

Price
May 1
1921 1920
125 228
120 250
118 254
139 260
133 271
116 255
141 270
110.7 251.3

The following table, compiled from commercial sources for the government market report, shows
the cotton movement from August 1, 1920 to May 6, 1921:
1920-21
Port receipts.........................................- ............... ... ... .................................... —
...5,358,204
Port stocks .................................................. - ................................................. 1,492,837
Interior receipts.................................... - ................................................................ 6.437,800
Interior stocks............................................... - ................ ........................- ............ 1,545,200
Into sight............................................... ... ..................... —
................... — .— — — 9,340,595
—
Northern spinners* takings.............................. - .......... - ------------------------------- 1*540,038
______________________ 2,308,526
Southern spinners* takings.............................
____ ...............................4,472,895
World's visible supply of American cotton..

BALES

1919-20
6,371,225
1,147,304
6,491,083
1,130,441
10,847,453
2,491,496
3,127,659
4,287,880

Range of prices on typical products in the St. Louis grain market between April 15 and May 14,
with closing quotations on each of these dates:
Close
April 15
May
July
May
July

wheat ..........................Per bu.
wheat______________
"
corn ______
"
corn

September corn ............. .... .... "

May oats _______________ __"
July oats _______________ __"
September oats _________ __"
No. 2 red winter wheat_ __"
_
No. 2 hard wheat _______ __"
No 2 corn ______________ __"
No. 2 white corn _______ __"
No 2 white o a ts ________ __"
Plour: soft patent_______ Perbbl.
F!oar: spring p a ten t____ "



$ 1.2 1

1.05
.54
.58
.61
.36%
.36%
38
$1.29 @ L31
1.30
.54%
.56
.38
6.50 e 7.00
7.25 e 7.50

High
$1.51%
1.17%
.60
.62%
.65%
.40%
.41%
42%
1.62
1.57
.62
.64%
.41%
8.00

8.90

Low
$119%
1.01
.61
.36%
.38
.37%
1.32
1.33
.56
.59
J7%
6.50
7.25

Close
May 14
1.14
.58
61%
.63%
.40
.40
.41
$1.58 @ 1.59
1.51
.62
.64
^ jx %
7.25 @ &00
775 $ 8 4 5

LABOR
The comment is made that in some sections spring
farm operations have given employment to sufR
cient workers to take up the slack created in manu­
facturing, with the result that measured in the num­
ber of unemployed the situation remains unchanged.
The Federal Director of Labor of Indiana makes the
comment that "the increase in efHciency of those
employed is responsible to a great extent for the
existent labor surplus." Universally there is an
overplus of common labor, and the same is true of
railroad workers. In the rural districts there is
more insistance upon the part of farmers on the
experience qualification, and this demand is being
met by an exceptionally good class of workers.

Responses to questionnaires addressed to State,
Federal and private tabor agencies in the several
states of the district are unanimous in reporting a
surplus of workers in all branches of industry, in­
cluding agriculture. Another point on which all
agree is that the trend of wages continue sharply
downward. The following are among the specific
industries in which further wage cuts have taken
place during the past thirty days: lumber, Hour mill­
ing, cooperage, plumbers' supplies, farm imple­
ments, stoves, automobile bodies, candy, and in
some localities, the building trades. General unrest
is noted, and there are scattered strikes, particu­
larly in the building trades and printing industry.

BUILDING
Building permits issued in the five largest
cities of the district in April show an increase
numerically over the same month in 1920, but
quite a sharp decrease in dollar value represented.
Reports from builders, architects, and contractors
indicate that little new construction work is being
undertaken. In scattered sections there is some
improvement in the direction of erecting inexpen-

sive homes, but nowhere is the housing situation
better than earlier in the year. Investigations of
this problem are being undertaken in St. Louis
and other parts of the district. During the closing
week of April an "O w n Your Home Exposition"
was held in St. Louis, the object of which was to
stimulate home building,

Comparative figures for April in leading cities of the district follow:
______________ 1921___________________ A P R IL ______________________ 1920__________
iNew Construction
Repairs, etc.
New Construction*
Repairs etc7
- _ .
Permits Cost
Permits
Cost
Permits
Cost
Permits
Cost
St. L o^s ......................... _564
$878,740
513 $248,415
503
$1,469,525
520 $421,425
Lomsv!!le ............. ............. 94
470,550
330
83,650
93
925,550
201
84,550
.......................... 191
395,292
56
31,020
199
923,590
50
129,770
Memphis
Little Rock----- ------------- - 69
205,825
145
46,124
61
260,250
118
50,759
Evansville ---------------------- 44
33,504
72
10,437
.
.......

LIV E STOCK
Receipts of cattle continue light, though the
total for April was heavier than in that month last
year, due to the switchmen's strike, which began
April 8, 1920. During the latter part of April the
lowest prices in years prevailed, but since the first
of May an advance has been in progress, which
restored values about to the levels of early April.
The demand for stocker and feeder cattle is fair.
Rather unusual conditions obtain in the hog mar­
ket ; prices for top and bulk were about steady,
but the spread between good heavies and mixed
and butcher hogs on the one hand, and light hogs
and pigs on the other, has narrowed to 15 @ 30c

from 60 @ 85c a month ago.

ascribed to light receipts and a more evenly distri­
buted demand. Prospects for increased hog pro­
duction are bright, especially to the South where
farm programs contemplate heavier corn acreages.
Sheep and lambs have fluctuated in a narrow
range, with the trend of prices lower. The
of the market is the spring lamb trade, which is
now at its height. i^noice spring lambs are bnngneignt. Choice
ing as high as $12.50. Reports from many parts
of the district indicate an increased supply 0
ovine stock this summer and fall. Cheaper an
abundant feeds figure conspicuously in this calcu
lation

This change is

National Stock Yards, receipts and shipments of live stock in April,
""th comparisons for April, 1920, were as foHows:
Catt!e & Catves_______________Hogs
—

1921
---------------274,480

Shipments ----------- 32,145

1920
228,721

26,381

_____________ Sheep____________ Horses & Mules
1Q
21
1Q
20
1921
1920

1921

1920

180,145

142,642

28,140

14,216

20,388

6,155

3,664

5,308

8,524

10,719

AUTOMOBILE LICENSES
i" reporting States of the Eighth Federal Reserve District for the years
from 1918 to 1920, inclusive, and up to May 1, 1921,is as foHows:
Arkansas
Illinois
Indiana ..
Missonri




Jan. 1 to
May 1.1921
— 50,576
— 528,798
-322,407
-282^12

1920
59,085
568,759
332,707
238,132

1919
49,490
478,438
277,255
244,636

1918
41,453
389,761
277,160
18%040

COMMODITY MOVEMENT
Receipts and shipments of important commodities at St. Louis during April, 1921 and 1920 and
March, 1921, as reported by the Merchants' Exchange were as follows:
RECEIPTS
SHIPMENTS
April, 1921 Mar. 1921 April 1920___________ April 1921
Mar. 1921
April 1920
Flour, barrels ........................ 306,360
347,490
149,640
330 840
423,970
148,100
Wheat, bushels ...................... 3,203,547
2,696,397
774,994
2,753,565
2,545,780
458,450
Corn, bushels .......................... 1,301,300
3,318,900
1,837,550
1,188,385
2,469,680
713,070
Oats, bushels .......................... 1,458,000
2,652,000
1,804,000
1,261,720
2,203,660
1,095,630
Lead, pigs ...............................
176,420
154,650
120,660
103,390
98,950
67,320
Zinc and Spelter, slabs........... 114,540
180,950
255,420
217,620
244,550
370,210
Lumber, cars ..........................
10,211
10,893
6,803
8 148
8,593
4,875
Meats, pounds ........................12,181,300
6,469,200
7,449,200
20,067^400
24,143,500
17,690,600
Fresh Beef, pounds................ 2,003,500
1,718,200
674,000
19,786,700
20,370,100
16,962,900
Lard, pounds............................ 1,483,600
2,389,800
3,098,000
5,926,100
10,750,600
5,991,900
2,420,700
739,200
3,290,800
Hides, pounds ........................ 2,570,300
5,543,800
1,729,000

FINANCIAL
Strengthening in the general financial and
banking position, noted in the preceding issue of
this report, continued steadily during the past thir­
ty days, except in certain localities in the South.
Fair progress was made in the liquidation of mer­
cantile accounts, and merchants and manufactur­
ers were able to further bring down their indebted­
ness at the banks. As a result of these settlements
accommodations granted to member banks by the
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis decreased
$5,251,594 between April 14 and May 14. This
decrease was accompanied by a reduction of
$2,302,000 in Federal Reserve notes in circulation
and an increase of $623,000 in the net deposits of
this bank. During the preceding month deposits
decreased $3,153,000. On April 14 total reserve
carried against deposit and Federal Reserve Note
hability was 59 per cent, while on May 14 it stood
at 61 per cent. The past few weeks have developed
a shade better demand for cotton, and sales of that
permitted of scattering liquidation in
the South. While reporting an easier trend in
Money, bankers report no general reduction in
jnterests rates. The demand from the country in
financing spring agricultural operations, while less
than at the same time last year, is still
suiEciently large to take up any surplus created
by diminution in requirements elsewhere. The
commercial banks report that they have ready dis^
^ ^ their loanable resources.
The market for bankers' acceptances in the
past month has been more sustained than for some
^
the better position of
\
banks and to a more active demand for
such bills from private investors and corporations
aving surplus funds to invest. Formerly private

investors and corporations demanded indorsed
bank bills but as they become more familiar with
such investments they buy unindorsed bills. Prime
names are selling an eighth to a quarter of one per
cent off prices of a month ago, thus reflecting eas­
ier money conditions. Brokers are selling unin­
dorsed bills from 5 ^ to 5% per cent.
The investment bond market is described as
irregular. The demand for the highest grade issues
is quite active, with a scarcity of certain special­
ties wanted by individual investors and corpora­
tions. Conservatism and caution seem to be the
chief motif in the situation at the moment, and
bonds other than municipals or those backed by
undoubted values are moving slowly, even where
interest returns offered are exceptional.
Little if any change from the recent dull con­
ditions in the commercial paper market were noted
during the past month. Paper brokers report their
business materially under that of the same time
last year, and about on a parity with the preceding
two or three months. Buying is confined almost
entirely to country banks, the large city institu­
tions purchasing sparingly. Rates are lower, rang­
ing from 7 to 7^2 per cent, with a few choice sig­
natures at 6% per cent. This compares with 7% to
7% per cent the month before.
The W ar Finance Corporation has issued its
Circular No. 1, which outlines in a general way
the requirements of the corporation in connection
with applications for advances to American ex­
porters and financial institutions to be used in
assisting the exportation of domestic products.
Copies of the circular may be had by application
to this bank or to the War Finance Corporatoin,
Treasury Building, Washington, D. C.

INTEREST RATES
Between April 15 and Mav 15 the high, low and customary interest rates, prevailing in St. Louis,
ouisville and Little Rock, as reported by banks in those cities were as follows:
'
^
^
- Louis
T
Little Rock
Louisville
St. T .
C
L
H
L
C
H
c
L
Customers Prime Commercial Paper:
H
8
7
8
6
6
7
6% 7
30 to 90 days......................... ..................................... 7
7
8
8
6
6
7
6% 7
4 to 6 months...............................................................8
Prime Commercial Paper purchased in open market:
7
8
7%
7%
30 to 90 days...............................................................7% 7
—
—
—
7
8
7%
4 to 6 months...............................................................7% 7% 7%
7
7
8
6
6
7
7
6
Loans to other banks......................................................7
Bankers' Acceptances of 60 to 90 days:
5% 5% 5%
5% 5M
Endorsed ...................................... ............................ 6
6
—
5% 5%
Unendorsed .............. ................................. - .............6
5% 6
^ a n s secured by prime stock exchange collateral or
other current collateral:
7
8
8
6
6
7
7
6
Demand ___________________ __________________ 8
7
8
8
6
6
7
7
3 months _____________________________________ 7% 6
7
8
8
6
6
7
, 3 to 6 months ________________________________ 7% 6% 7
6
6
6
7
attle L oa n s_____________________________ _________ 7% 7
8
8" 7
7
6
7
unmodity paper secured by warehouse receipts, etc—7% 6% 7
8
8
7
6
6
7
7
*M secured by Liberty Bonds and Certificates-------- 7% 6



CO N D ITIO N O F B A N K S
The condition of banks in this district and changes since a month ago and last year, are reflected in
the following comparative statement, showing the principal resources and liabilities of member banks
in St. Louis, Louisville, Little Rock, Memphis and Evansville:
May 11.1921
Number of banks reporting.......................................... .
37
Loans and Discounts (including bills rediscounted with
F. R. Bank):
Secured by U. S. Govt, obligations...........................$ 20,570,000
Secured by stocks and bonds other than U. S. bonds 118,708,000
All other loans and discounts....- ................................ 320,095,000

April 8,1921
37

May 7,1920
35

$ 23,480,000
120.513.000
328.774.000

$ 39,030,000
156,433,000

$459,373,000

$472,767,000

27.706.000
2,142,000
10.077.000
66.331.000

28,226,000
2,105,000
735,000
65,690,000

29,874,000
3.034.000
13.579.000

$565,529,000
41,111,000
7.629.000
310.899.000
143.636.000
4.707.000

$569,523,000
42,323,000
9.019.000
314.376.000
143.190.000
6.200.000

$649,492,000
43.945.000
10.433.000
333,930,000
123.748.00
3,214,000

Investments:

Total loans, discounts and investments (including bills

Time deposits -----------

DEBITS TO IN D IV ID U A L A C C O U N T S
The following table gives the tota! debits charged by banks to checking accounts, savings accounts
and trust accounts oi individuals, Arms, corporations and U. S. Government and also certificates oi deposit
paid, in the leading cities of this district during the past month and corresponding period a year ago.
Charges to the accounts of banks and bankers are not included. These figures are considered the most
reliable index available for indicating actual spending by the public during periods which they cover.
Debits to depositors accounts for four weeks ending:
May 11,1921
St. Louis ....................... - ...........................................
..$454,317,000
Louisville ...............- ...................................................
89.947.000
Memphis .....................................................................
81.636.000
Evansville ............................................................. !!....
^ 18]9%000
East St. Louis and National Stock Yards....................... 34,915 000
Little Rock
..................................................... 36,638,000
SprmgAeld
- .... ............. ....................... .................. 10,309,000
Q""*cy ........... ............. ........................................................
9,475,000

May 12,1920
$599,913,000
143.429.000
134.812.000
22,871,000

April 13,1921
$456,126,000
89.287.000
74.965.000
18.407.000
31.449.000
34.665.000
11.378.000
10.973.000

39,037,000

FE D E R A L R ESE R V E O P E R A T IO N S
In April this bank discounted $134,975,985 of paper for 315 member banks, which represents a de
crease of $19,541,978 under the amount discounted in March and an increase of 9 in the number of banks
accommodated. Acceptances purchased in April amounted to $1,813,067, an increase of $213,084 over the
preceding month.
May 21 the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis increased its discount rate on paper secuM j
K
Bonds or Victory Notes from 5% per cent to 6 per cent. It also changed its progressive rate y
Mtabhshing a Hat rate of 7 per cent on all borrowings in excess of a member bank's basic line. This mean
that member banks will pay on their commercial rediscounts up to and including their basic lines, 6 per cen ,
and on borrowings m excess of their basic lines, 7 per cent.
The normal discount rates effective May 21, 1921, were as follows:
^

15 days

16 to
60 days

61 to
90 days

Member Banks' Collateral Notes: Secured by Bills
Receivable or Bonds or Notes oi the United States
6%
Rediscounts: Commercial Paper or Paper Secured by
Bonds or Notes of the United States
6%
6%
6%
Rediscounts: Agricultural or Livestock Paper.............. ...... 6%
6%
6%
Rediscounts: Trade Acceptances.............
................ 69?
6%
6%
Rediscounts: Bankers' Acceptances.-.....
.......................... 5%/y
5%%
5%%
Bankers A^eptances purchased in the market, subject to agreement.
Discount is calculated on basis of 365 days to year on maturity value.
(Compiled May 21, 1921)




91 days to
6 months

6%

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