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F E D E R A L R E S E R V E BANK O F ST- L O U I S

MONTHLY REPORT ON
GENERAL BUSINESS AND AGRICULTURAL CONDITIONS
IN FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT No. 8
RELEASED FOR P U B L IC A T IO N ON AN D AFTER T H E M O R N IN G OF MAY 2 9 , 1919
W IL L IA M MCC. M A R T IN
C H A IR M A N OF T H E B O A R D A N D F E D E R A L R E S E R V E A G E N T

The prevailing business sentiment in this district is one of increasing optimism. The exceptionally
good outlook for winter wheat, the greatly improved cotton situation in the South, coupled with the pros­
pect of a growing foreign and domestic trade for the Mississippi Valley through waterways development,
have tended to make business men more hopeful for the future.
Reports received from the various industries of the district indicate that business generally is improv­
ing. The spirit of hesitation has to a great extent disappeared, and merchants are now buying for the future,
as well as for their immediate needs. While a few lines report decreases in business during April, the
majority report substantial increases over April of last year and also over March of this year. Practically
all are expecting a large amount of business during the coming months. Collections, as a rule, are reported
to be good. Prices, in some lines, show a gradual downward trend, but in other lines the increasing vol­
ume of business has tended to stabilize them at higher levels.
MANUFACTURING— Manufacturers of boots and shoes report increases in their sales during April
of from 20% to 67% over April of last year and from 10% to 35% over March of this year. Domestic
business is said to be nearly on a normal basis. Manufacturers say they have a large volume of orders on
hand for future delivery.
Clothing manufacturers report an active business, but state that they are being affected by the
scarcity of woolens.
Reports from manufacturers of primary metal products show that their business is still below normal.
Manufacturers of miners’ tools report a dull business on account of the inactivity of coal mines. A
manufacturer of threshing machinery, however, reports that he has all the orders he can fill up to July
1st. A stove manufacturer reports a gain in his April business over the same month last year, and states
that he has a good volume of orders for future delivery. A large wire rope manufacturer states that he
has sufficient orders on hand to keep him busy for 90 days and that the demand for his product is 75% of
normal. The demand for hardware has nearly resumed i1s normal basis.
Lumber is feeling the effect of the increased building activity. A large firm reports that during April
its business increased 20% over March. In the South stocks of lumber are low and the woods are said to
be so wet that sawing has been impossible.
Cement, brick and clay pipe manufacturers, as a rule, report that business is improving, though the de­
mand for their products is still below normal. Increased road building, the demand for apartment and office
buildings and the prospect of public improvements lend encouragement for this line.
In the electrical line, business is improving. Increases in the volume of business are reported over
both April of last year and March of this year. Heavier orders are being placed for future delivery.
A large chemical company reports an increase of oyer 50% in its April business as compared with the
same month last year. Owing to the fact that there was practically no natural ice harvested in the coun­
try this year, firms anticipate a large demand for chemicals from ice manufacturers.
A large candy manufacturer says so many firms and individuals are going into the candy business, in
anticipation of a growing demand for sweets, that there is overproduction.
Considerable improvement is noted in the cotton situation in this district. Cotton mills are now spin­
ning freely, and the demand for cotton is fast approaching normal. It is reported that the stock of cot­
ton in Memphis is less than it was at this time last year or thr year before. Some advance in price has
recently occurred.



W H O L E SA L E AND JOBBING—Wholesale dealers report a good demand for all lines. Dry goods
houses report substantial increases in business over last year and state that the demand is practically nor­
mal. Silks and woolens are particularly active. A large millinery house reports that its spring business
is 20% beyond the pre-war basis.
Wholesale grocery houses report gains during April of from 20% to 36% over April last year and from
8% to 11% over March of this year. Some firms report a strong demand for fancy groceries.
During the past month the price of coffee has reached higher levels than ever before, with a prospect
of still further advances, due to the limited supply and to the prospect of heavy European demands.
During the first part of May another fur sale was held in St. Louis and was well attended by represen­
tatives from all over the world. The total sales aggregated over $10,000,000.
R E T A IL — Cool, rainy weather has materially delayed the demand for straw hats, light summer cloth­
ing and similar seasonable merchandise, but, on the whole, department stores and retail merchants generally
report a satisfactory business. The April sales of ready-to-wear clothing were unusually large. A demand
tor the better classes of merchandise is noticeable.
A G RICU LTU RE— The condition of winter wheat in the seven States in this district continues very
satisfactory, as is disclosed by the following table compiled by the U. S. Department of Agriculture as of
May 1, 1919:
Condition
May 1
1919
1918
P. Ct.
P. Ct.
Arkansas..........................................
Illinois..............................................
Indiana ............................................
Kentucky ........................................
Mississippi ......................................
Missouri ..........................................
Tennessee .......................................

98
100
100
102
90
101
97

Ten year
average
P. Ct.

93
92
96
101
90
95
96

90
80
81

86
87
83
87

Estimated
yield from
May 1,1919
Condition
Bushels
4,596,000
65,990,000
55,809,000
15,257,000
641,000
72,423,000
9,883,000

Final
estimated
yield
1918
Bushels
3,048,000
54,266,000
49,266,000
12,129,000
495,000
52,873,000
7,500,000

Estimated
Price
May 1
1919
1918
$2.12
2.33
2.30
2,20

$2.06
2.05
2.07
2.16

2.33
2.35

1.99
2.18

Corn planting has been much delayed by wet, cool weather. The cotton crop also has been delayed by
climatic conditions. Tobacco plants are ready to set out, but the weather has delayed planting them.
Fruits throughout the district were materially damaged by frost during the latter part of April. The
joint State and Government report on crop damage in Missouri may be taken as an index to conditions
throughout the district. It lists the following percentages of damage to fruit crops: Cherries, 28% ; Pears,
27% ; Plums, 25% ; Apples and Peaches, 23%, and Strawberries, 10%.
L IV E STOCK—The report of the St. Louis National Stock Yards for April, 1919, shows increases in
the receipts and shipments of hogs and sheep over the corresponding month last year; a decrease in the
receipts of cattle, but an increase in shipments; a decrease in the shipments of horses and mules, but an
increase in receipts. The comparative figures showing the number of head received and shipped, are as
follow s:
Cattle
April

1919

Receipts ........................................................ 90,168
Shipments .................................................... 26,754

Hogs
1918

1919

97,723
19,443

340,332
128,487

Sheep
1918

275,155
99,257

Horses and Mules

1919

1918

1919

1918

27,290
1,598

13,780
1,009

11,066
10,493

7,120
15,693

The hog market was particularly active. A new high price for hogs in this locality was established
at the St. Louis National Stock Yards on May 8th, when a top price of $21.15 per 100 pounds was reached.
Since that date the price has fluctuated considerably.
L A B O R — There has been a marked improvement in the labor situation in this district during the past
month. Reports indicate that there is a good demand for high-class salesmen and executives, and for
various kinds of skilled labor, particularly painters, high-grade machinists and industrial workers, and
printers. The returning soldier, through his desire to stay in the cities, has helped cause a shortage of farm
labor, but he is creating no serious problem, as the greater industrial activity, partly due to the increased
buying consequent on his return, is making larger demands for his services. Most of the returned soldiers
are finding employment and there is an increasing demand for them. There are no marked labor troubles
in the district at the present time.
T R A N S P O R T A T IO N — Transfer companies assert that their business has picked up considerably dur­
ing the first two weeks of May. The facilities of the barge line operating between St. Louis and New Orleans
are being greatly increased and it is expected that, with differential rates making water and water-rail ship­
ments profitable, river traffic will develop rapidly. Efforts are being made to secure rates from river points
to the South to equalize Eastern rates to Southern distributing points. With these advantages inter-state
commerce in this district and shipments to Mexico, South America and Europe will be materially increased.



BU ILDIN G— Marked increases over April last year and over March this year are shown in reports
on building operations from St. Louis and Memphis. The comparative figures for April are as follows:
1919

April

1918

Permits

Cost

Permits

744
260
162
106

$1,019,470
202,160
725,000
174*992

648
178
112

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

Cost
$530,028
238,128
271,635

There is a big demand for apartments and for office buildings. The demand for business premises is
attributed in great measure to the reopening of branch offices bv firms which closed them at the outbreak
of the war.
BANKING— During the past month two important bank mergers have taken place in this district. In
St. Louis three large institutions consolidated, with a capital of $10,000,000, surplus of $5,000,000, and total
resources of approximately $160,000,000. This will be the largest institution of its character west of the
Mississippi River. In Little Rock three banks also consolidated with a capital of $750,000, surplus of
$150,000, and total resources of approximately $12,000,000. Important consolidations have also previously
taken place in Louisville. Bankers are looking forward to an era of great commercial activity in the Mis­
sissippi Valley and are preparing to transact business on a larger scale.
For the third time in succession, this district was the first to subscribe its quota for Government bonds.
In selling the Victory Bonds, banks were urged to make every effort to place them with individuals and
firms, thereby preserving their own credit for business development. Their co-operation in this matter was
largely responsible for the success attained.
Following the conclusion of the Victory Liberty Loan campaign, the market for commercial paper is
becoming more active. Large city banks are beginning to buy as well as those in the country districts.
The high, low and customary discount and interest rates prevailing in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis
and Little Rock from April 16th to May 15th, as reported by banks located in those cities, were as follows:
St. Louis
H
L
Customers* prime commercial paper:
5
30 to 90 days......................................... 6
4 to 6 months....................................... 6
5J4
Prime commercial paper purchased in open market
5
30 to 90 days......................................... 554
4 to 6 months........................................5J4
554
5
Loans to other banks................................6
Bankers’ acceptances of 60 to 90 days:
Endorsed___ : ....................................... 6
454
Unendorsed ......................................... 6
4J4
Loans secured by prime stock exchange collateral
Demand ............................................... 6
4H
5
3 m onths............................................... 6
3 to 6 months........................................6
554
6
Cattle Loans ............................................... 6
Commodity paper secured by warehouse
receipts, etc........................................... 6
5^
Loans secured by Liberty Bonds and
Certificates........................................... 6
454

Louisville

Memphis

Little Rock
L

C

H

L

C

H

5^
5/2

6
6

5/2
5/

6
6

6
6

5
5

6
6

8
8

5/2
5/2

6
6

554
S'A
5J4

5/2
5/2
5

5
5
5

554
5J4
5

6

5
5
4^4

6
6

554

5

5/2

6
6

5/2

6

6

6

...

...

...

...

...

...

6
6
6

5a
5J4

6
6
6

8
8
8
8

6
6
6

6
6/2

7

7
6J4

6

4H
4'A
454
4%
4J4
4J4
or other current collateral:
6
5
6
5 /2
6
5
6
6
5
6
6
6
6
5
6
6

L

C

H

C

6

6
6

6
6

4 54 . 5

5/2

6

8

7

654

6

4H

5

8

5

6

The condition of the banks in this district at the present time and the changes during the past month
are reflected in the following comparative statement showing the principal resources and liabilities of mem­
ber banks in St. Louis, Louisville, Memphis, Little Rock and Evansville:
May 9,1919
Number of banks reporting..............................................................

April 11,1919

36

36

United States bonds to secure circulation........................................................ ..........
Other United States bonds, including Liberty bonds.......... ....................... ..........
United States certificates of indebtedness........................ ............................. ..........

$ 16,956,000
19,219,000
75,996,000

$ 16,908,000
18,609,000
73,463,000

Total United States securities owned........................................................ ..........

112,171,000

108,980,000

..........

25,489,000
385,533,000

26,509,000
388,035,000

Total loans and investments.......................................................................... ..........

523,193,000

523,524,000

Cash in vault...........................................................................................................
Net demand deposits on which reserve is computed.................................... ............
............
............

37,468,000
10,382,000
304,914,000
98,390,000
20,145,000

39,710,000
10,265,000
298,380,000
99,954,000
23,444,000

The volume of banking business transacted in this district during the past month is indicated by the
following comparative table compiled from information received from the Clearing Houses in the cities
show n:



Debits to Bank Accounts, weeks ending:

Little Rock

April 23

April 30

May 7

May 14

$126,023,000
, 34,527,000
. 32,255,000
7,363,000
.
3,994,000

Debits to Individual Accounts, weeks ending:

$123,950,000
32.195.000
24.640.000
6,542,000
5,711,000.

$122,549,000
33.575.000
27.089.000
8,902,000
. .5,285,000

$120,255,000
35.353.000
26.314.000
7,953,000
.4,746,000

April 23

April 30

.

" May 14

May 7

$118,692,000.. , .. .$117,926,000. - .
34.324.000
24,422,000
25.741.000
6,000,000
4.274.000
.
2,596,000
1.704.000

$130,986,000- 39.434.000
21.425.000
5.952.000
1.960.000

$124,683,000
33.683.000
23.325.000
7,013,000
,2,817,000

In April the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted a total of $197,127,063.39 of paper for 190
different member banks, which is an increase of $12,000,123.39 over the amount of paper discounted dur­
ing March and an increase of' 19 in the number of banks accommodated. The discount rates of the Fed­
eral Reserve Bank have remained unchanged. Those now in effect are as follows:
15 days 16 to 60
and less days

MEMBER BANKS* CO LLATERAL NOTES:

61 to 90
days

91 days to
6 months

4%
Secured by Liberty Bonds or Treasury Certificates...........................................................
4#
5%
Secured by War Finance Corporation Bonds.....................................................................
Secured by Bills Receivable........ ...........................*..............................................................
47*
REDISCOUNTS:
4%
*4% ft
*4]/4%
Secured by Liberty Bonds or Treasury Certificates............................................. ...........
5H%
5%
Secured by War Finance Corporation Bonds...................................................................
5-H%
4H%
Commercial Paper , ......................................................................................................................
4%
------4H%
4H %
4 fi%
Agricultural or Livestock Paper..............................................................................................
4%
4f$%
4$4%
S G
y& fc
4 y2%
4%
4 y2%
Trade Acceptances...... ............................ ...................................................... ........................
Bankers' Acceptances purchased at the market rate, subject to agreement.
* A special rate of 4% is made for paper with 16 to 90 days’ maturity, secured by Fourth Liberty Loan Bonds', provided
such paper has been taken by the member bank at a rate not in excess of the Fourth Liberty Loan coupon rate.

The resources and liabilities of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis on May 16, 1919, as compared
to a month ago and a year ago, are shown in the following statement:
RESOURCES:
April 18,1919
Gold settlement fund
Gold redemption fund.

May 16, 1919

May 17, 1918

$ 3,900,000
22,361,000
4,937,000

$ 3,973,000
,34.975.000
. 4,465,p O
O

$ 2 ,212,000
32,421 000
1,722,000

31,198,000

43,413,000

Gold with foreign agencies.
Gold with Fed. Res. Ageni

42,564,666

58*270,000

36.355.000
2 , 100,000
42.003.000

Total Gold Reserve..............
Legal Tender, Notes, Silver, etc.

73,762,000
2,278,000

101,683,000
2,264,000

80,458,0)00
1,692,000

76,040,000

103^947,000

82,150,000

80,645,000
8,476,000

64;625,000
3,668,000

29,150,000
7,697,000

Total discounts ..............................................................................................

89,121,000

68,293,000

36,847,000

U. S. Government bonds.......................................................................................
Certificates of Indebtedness to secure F. R. Bank note circulation . . . .

1,153,000
12,068,000

U 53,000
14,682,000

2,744,000

Total U. S. securities.

13,221,000

15,835,000

2,744,000

Total earning assets.

102,342,000

84,120,000

39,591,000

45,072,000
1,356,000

48,067,000
1,576,000

42,668,000
685,000

224.810,000

237,718,000

165,094,000

$ 3,826,000

$ 3,838,000

$ 3,523,000

7.304.000
8.953.000
61.415.000
337,000
33.413.000

12.184.000
12.540.000
63.175.000
401,000
24.136.000

4,369^000
*49,3$,000
462,000
42,356,600

101,422,000

112,436,000

96,064,000

10.521.000
106,357,000
2.684.000

13,094,000
105.491,000
2,859,000

64,446,000
599.000

224,810,000

237,71*000

Total Reserves
Bills discounted— Members
Bills purchased in open market........

Uncollected items . *.
All other Resources.
T O T A L RESOURCES
LIA B ILITIE S:
Capital paid in.
U. S. Government Deposits.................................................................................
Gold Settlement Fund— Suspense ......................................................................
Due to Member Banks— Reserve Account.......................................................
Due to Non-Member Banks— Clearing Acct., Cashier's checks, drafts, etc.
Collection ite m s.................................. ......................................... ...........................

Gross Deposits
F. R. Bdnk Notes in actual circulation.
F. R. Notes in actual circulation............
A ll other lia b ilitie s.............. ...................
T O T A L L IA B IL IT IE S




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