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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS
MONTHLY REVIEW
OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN
EIGHTH DISTRICT
Released for Publication On and After the Afternoon of May 29, 1926
WILLIAM McC. MARTIN
Chairman of the Board and Federal Reserve Agent

H IL E business as a whole in this district
during the past thirty days was active,
and production and distribution of mer­
chandise continued in large volume, there were
increasing signs of uneveness and some slowing
down as compared with earlier months this year.
In a number of the lines investigated, sales showed
decreases as contrasted with the same period a year
ago, though almost universally results were better
than the average during the past several years.
Buying in all classifications continues on an ex­
tremely conservative scale, and is confined princi­
pally to goods for immediate use or consumption
during the next thirty to sixty days. In a majority
of tx.c lines showing sales below those of the cor­
responding period in 1925, the loss occurred mainly
in future business.

W

A s was the case during the two preceding
months, weather conditions were inauspicious for
the movement of seasonal merchandise. This was
true especially of goods for common consumption,
such as clothing, groceries, dry goods, boots and
shoes and certain items in the drug and chemi­
cal category. Sales of farm implements, seeds, fer­
tilizers, dairy and poultry supplies and other mer­
chandise consumed in the rural sections were dis­
appointing, though since the arrival of warmer
weather marked improvement has developed in
buying in the country. Retail trade in the large
cities was below expectations and was reflected in
an unusually small volum e of reordering of spring
merchandise from the wholesalers.
Curtailment of industrial activity was in evi­
dence in some quarters, but this manifestation was
by no means general, and in a majority of instances
the recent high schedules were maintained. Certain
of the iron and steel plants reduced their working
forces, and there was a further recession in activi­
ties at the textile mills, packing plants, flour mills,
sh oe factories and several miscellaneous industries.
In the lead and zinc fields operating schedules were




rather sharply lowered, and the surplus of miners
in the bituminous coal areas was larger. A s com ­
pared with the preceding month and a year ago,
building permits decreased in April, but the total
was still heavy, and work on buildings in course
o f construction and highways is keeping craftsmen
and com m on labor in the building trades well em­
ployed.
Though the season is from tw o to four weeks
late, the outlook for crops is on the whole favora­
ble. Farmers have taken advantage of the recent
good weather to push forward soil preparation and
seeding of crops, and a considerable part of the
delay in this work has been caught up with. Corn
planting has made excellent progress, particularly
in the South, and rains since the middle of April
have served to greatly improve soil conditions.
W hile below those of a year ago, prices of farm
products are in the main satisfactory. Live stock
prices advanced, and hogs and sheep and lambs
reached the highest levels in several months. Fav­
orable prospects for wheat, as indicated in the U. S.
Department of Agriculture’s report of condition as
of May 1, resulted in a lowering of wheat prices,
but caused a firmer market for feed grains. The
demand for spot cotton continued quiet, and prices
were a shade lower.
In the chief coal producing areas of the district
conditions developed no change worthy of note as
contrasted with the preceding thirty days. Due to
the protracted cool weather retailers booked a fair
volume of orders, and were able to pretty thor­
oughly clear up their reserve stocks. This advant­
age, however, was more than counterbalanced by
the late opening of navigation on the Great Lakes,
and the movement has been generally disappoint­
ing. W ith supplies plentiful, large industrial users
are slow to contract for their forward requirements,
and mine operators lack the usual backlog of future
orders. Many important consumers in the middle
W est who form erly drew their supplies from the

Illinois and Indiana fields are turning to the
cheaper product of the non-union districts. The
railroads have been purchasing in heavier volume
for storage purposes, but this tonnage has not been
sufficient to absorb current production and “ no­
bills” are still much in evidence, and the number of
suspensions is increasing. Prices were lower in
most of the principal producing sections. Produc­
tion of bituminous coal for the country as a whole
during the calendar year 1926 to M ay 15 (approxi­
mately, 115 working days) was 205,770,000 net tons
against 179,003,000 tons for the corresponding
period in 1925 and 183,581,000 tons in 1924.
Loadings o f revenue freight by railroads of the
country during each week in April showed gains
over the corresponding weeks last year and in 1924.
The steady gains in the movement of merchandise
and miscellaneous freight, noted in recent months,
were continued. T otal loadings for the entire
country for the first eighteen weeks of this year,
or to M ay 1, totaled 16,777,076 cars, which com ­
pares with 16,493,312 cars for the corresponding
period last year and 15,999,791 cars in 1924. The
St. Louis Terminal Railway Association, which
handles interchanges for 28 connecting lines, inter­
changed 219,246 loads in April, against 230,909 loads
in March and 198,758 loads in April, 1925. During
the first nine days of M ay the interchange amount­
ed to 65,113 loads, against 66,899 loads during the
corresponding period in April and 61,163 loads dur­
ing the first nine days of M ay last year. Passen­
ger traffic of the reporting roads increased ZT2 per
/
cent during April as compared with the same month
in 1925. Estimated tonnage of the Federal Barge
Line between St. Louis and New Orleans for April
was 73,400 tons, which compares with 74,688 tons
(revised figures) in March and 98,417 tons in April,
1925.
Reports relative to collections during the past
thirty days indicate a slight improvement over the
similar period immediately preceding, but consider­
able irregularity still exists, both in point of locality
and the several lines investigated. W holesalers in
the large centers report M ay settlements fully up
to expectations, and slightly better than during the
same month last year.
Liquidation generally
through the South has been on a large scale, except
in certain sections where peculair local conditions
have held back payments. There are still numerous
complaints of backwardness in the coal areas, with
an increasing number of requests for extensions.
In the grain sections som e delays have been occa­
sioned by the w et weather, and preoccupation of
farmers with their spring work. Retailers in the
large cities report mainly satisfactory results in




April and early May, both in their regular accounts
and installment payments.
Questionnaires ad­
dressed to 454 representative interests in the various lines throughout the district showed the following results:
Excellent

April, 1926
March, 1926
April, 1925

......... 2.3%
2.4
4.6

Good

Fair

30.3% i 56.2%
31.8
52.4
36.0
53.0

Poor

11.2%
13.4
6.4

Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal
Reserve District during April, according to D un’s
numbered 84, involving liabilities of $1,656,577,
against 78 defaults in March with liabilities of
$2,808,588, and 81 failures for $1,684,044 in April,
1925.
The per capita circulation of the United States
on May 1, 1926, was $42.11, against $41.73 on April
1, and $41.50 on M ay 1, 1925.
M A N U F A C T U R IN G A N D W H O L E S A L E
Autom obiles — Distribution both at retail and
wholesale during the past thirty days continued at
the high rate noted in the past several months.
Business in the country was assisted by more sea­
sonable weather, and in a number of instances deal­
ers in the small towns were behind on deliveries.
A feature of the month’s business, particular!" Pro­
nounced in the country, was the unusually large
number of straight sales, that is sales on which no
used cars were taken in as part payment for new
vehicles. A s compared with the same period last
year an increase of from 10 to 12 per cent on such
transactions was reported. Stocks of new cars in
dealers’ hands were larger than a month earlier,
and about the same as at this time last year. R e­
flecting the heavier sales o f new cars, dealers’
stocks o f used cars increased, but the movement of
second hand vehicles was reported satisfactory,
and except in a very few instances, stocks are not
excessive. Comment was made upon the continued
trend away from cheap models to the mediumpriced automobiles. Sales of new cars during April
by 320 dealers scattered through the district were
53.4 per cent larger than for the same month last
year and .04 per cent larger than the March total
this year. T he accessory and parts business was
reported active, with sales in April 10.3 per cent
larger than during the same month in 1925, and
22.3 per cent in excess of the March total this year.
The tire situation underwent no change worthy of
note as compared with the preceding thirty days.
There was the usual seasonal increase in retail
sales, but dealers are buying conservatively and'T^Pi
immediate requirements only.

B oots and Shoes — Sales of the 9 reporting in­
terests during April were 14.7 per cent smaller than
during the same month in 1925, and 7.7 per cent
below the March total this year. Stocks on May 1
were 9.4 per cent larger than on the same date last
year, but 7.7 per cent less than on April 1 this year.
Orders received since M ay 1 show marked im prove­
ment, and are running slightly ahead of the same
period in 1925. Prices of finished goods were un­
changed as compared with the preceding month,
but raw materials, particularly hides, advanced.
Factory operation fell slightly below the rate in
March.
Clothing — W eather was again unfavorable for
best results in this industry. Sales of spring apparel,
both men’s and w om en’s wear, at retail have been
disappointing, and during the past three weeks spe­
cial efforts in the way o f price reductions and heavy
advertising campaigns have been made to stimu­
late buying. Manufacturers of w om en’s and chil­
dren’s clothing report advance orders for the sum­
mer trade about equal in volum e to a year ago, but
due to uncertainty relative to style and fabric
trends they are making up few goods for stock
purposes. Bookings of men’s heavy suits and over­
coats for fall delivery are fairly good, but the de­
mand centers chiefly in low priced garments. Prices
of raw w ool are the lowest since 1921, and piece
goods have declined about 8 per cent since the
beginning of the year. Sales of the nine reporting
interests during April were 0.5 per cent larger than
during the same month in 1925, and showed the
usual seasonal gain over March this year. The late
season has been unfavorable for millinery and men’s
hat trade.
Drugs and Chemicals — Business in this classi­
fication was reported good, with sales continuing
to run ahead of those last year. A s compared with
the preceding month, there was a fair increase in
advance business, particularly marked on insecti­
cides, fertilizer and seasonal drugs. Jobbers in the
district are offering liberal discounts on selected
lists of com m odities to meet outside competition in
local territory, which has tended to curtail profits
to some extent. Sales of soda fountain equipment
and supplies were below those of a year ago. Prices
averaged about steady with the preceding month,
advances offsetting declines. Sales of the 9 report­
ing interests during April were 3.5 per cent larger
than for the same month in 1925, and 9.1 per cent
below the March total this year.
D ry Goods — April sales of the 9 reporting
interests were 13.3 per cent under those of the




same month in 1925, and 27.2 per cent below the
March total this year. Stocks on M ay 1 were 7.9
per cent larger than a month earlier and 14.7 per
cent less than those on M ay 1, 1925. Ordering for
prompt delivery is generally reported satisfactory,
but advance business shows a large decrease under
a year ago. Uncertainty relative to prices and the
unusually cool spring are given as the main factors
in backward buying. In the immediate past there
has been some improvement in ordering for fall
delivery, particularly of blankets and other heavy
woolen goods.
Electrical Supplies — In spite of the cold spring
advance sales of fans and other seasonal goods have
been satisfactory. Unfavorable weather for out­
door work held down the movement of building
materials and pole and line hardware. Purchasing
of all sorts of materials by the coal industry con­
tinues at a low ebb, and there was the usual sea­
sonal decline in radio sales. The demand for house­
hold appliances, lighting fixtures and small motors
was reported active. April sales of the 10 reporting
interests were 14.0 per cent larger than for the
same month in 1925, and 4.0 per cent in excess of
the March total this year.
F lo u r — Production at the twelve leading mills
of the district during April was 277,339 barrels,
which compares with 315,650 barrels in March and
237,757 barrels in April, 1925. Stocks of flour in
St. Louis on May 1 were 14.4 per cent less than on
April 1, and .08 per cent under those on May 1,
1925. There was no change from the quiet trade
conditions obtaining during the preceding several
months. Purchasing by both dealers and consum ­
ers is on a hand-to-mouth basis, with car lot sales
almost entirely absent. Prices declined slightly in
sympathy with the downturn in cash wheat, but
buyers were not disposed to follow the decline. In
the immediate past a better tone has developed in
the domestic trade, particularly in the South, and
bids from Europe for clears and low grade flours
were closer to actual values than in a long while.
Mill operation was at 55 to 60 per cent of capacity.
Furniture — April sales of the 19 reporting in­
terests were 15.9 per cent under those of the same
month in 1925, and 20.7 per cent below the March
total this year. Stocks on M ay 1 were 48.7 per cent
larger than at the same time last year, and 24.4 per
cent in excess of the April 1 total this year. U n­
favorable weather and the policy of dealers to pur­
chase only for immediate requirements are given
as the chief reasons for the decreases. Prices were
unchanged as compared with the preceding month,
but the trend is lower.

Groceries — The demand for staples was re­
ported fairly active, but the movement of canned
goods and the general line of miscellaneous grocer­
ies was disappointing. Advance orders booked for
canned goods were smaller than at the same time
last year, and the trend of prices was downward.
Sales of the 11 reporting interests during April
were 4.3 per cent larger than in the same month in
1925, and 10.1 per cent below the March total this
year. Stocks on May 1 were 0.9 per cent larger
than thirty days earlier and 11.0 per cent below
the M ay 1, 1925, total.
Hardware — T he backward spring was given
as the principal cause for a decrease^ in April sales
of the 10 reporting interests of 4.6 per cent as con­
trasted with the same month last year, and of 11.7
per cent as compared with the March total this
year. T h e m ajor part of the decrease in either com ­
parison was recorded during the first half of April,
orders since that date having favorably responded
to a change for the better in weather conditions.
The demand for builders’ hardware is less active
than heretofore.
Iron and Steel Products — A ctivity in both
finished and raw materials sustained a slight slow ­
ing down during the past thirty days as compared
with the similar period immediately preceding.
Shipments by mills, foundries and machine shops
were fairly w ell sustained, but specifications, parti­
cularly on seasonal goods for consumption in the
rural districts, were below expectations, and new
business is being sparingly and conservatively
placed. W hile prices were for the m ost part steady
with levels obtaining the month before, the trend
was lower, and there was a disposition to shade
current quotations to effect sales. Purchasing by
the railroads continues backward, and is confined
chiefly to materials necessary for immediate use.
The building and automotive industries were rela
tively the m ost active outlets for ferrous materials.
Fabricators o f structural steel reported sufficient
orders to keep their plants w orking at about the
same rate as a month earlier, and the movemen
o f standard structural shapes, reinforcing concrete
bars and plates was in large volume. There was a
rather sharp recession in the demand for sheets o r
all descriptions, and the leading producer in the
district has curtailed its operations to 70 per cent
of capacity, which compares with 85 per cent thirty
days ago. Stove manufacturers complain of lack
of new orders, and a number of the leading plants
are active only tw o to three days per week. Engine
builders and implement manufacturers are for the
most part busy, and are better supplied with un­
filled orders than other sections o f the industry.




Since the middle of April there has been some im­
provement in the demand for tank plates and other
oil country goods, but purchasing in the coal-fields
continues at a low ebb. Producers and distribu­
tors of tin plate report a smaller volume of orders
than last year, due to hesitancy on the part of the
canning industry in covering future requirements.
Production of pig iron for the country as a whole
in April showed a slight decrease under March,
but was the heaviest for any April since 1923. After
establishing a new record production in March,
steel ingot production in April declined to a level
only slightly better than the February rate, but the
total output— 4,123,941 tons— was the largest for any
April in history. P ig iron prices declined from
50c to $1 per ton, but the reduction failed to stimu­
late buying, the market continuing dull. Scrap iron
and steel recorded a further decline, and new low
points on the downward movement were estab­
lished.
Lum ber — W ith m ore favorable weather for
building operations, there has been a more active
movement from softw ood yards in the larger cities
of the district. On the other hand, retailers depend­
ing on farm trade reported a quiet business, due to
the fact that farmers are preoccupied with prepara­
tions for and planting of crops. W holesale prices
continued to sag on virtually all lumber stock,
though there was a notable absence o f drastic de­
clines. Current consumption holds up well, and
there is a heavy aggregate volume of small-order,
quick delivery business.
R E T A IL T R A D E
Conditions in the retail trade are reflected in
the follow ing comparative tables showing activi­
ties at department stores and shoe and men’s fur­
nishing stores in leading cities of the district:
Stocks on hand
Net sales comparisons
Apr. 1926 4 months ending Apr. 30, 1926
comp, to
comp, to Apr. 30, 1926, to
Apr. 1925 same period 1925 Apr. 30, 1925
— 13.6%
Evansville .......— 7.9%
— 8.9%
— 1.7
+ 2.2
Little Rock....... — 2.5
— 0.4
+ 2.4
Louisville .........+ 3.0
......+ 4.8
+ 10.5
+ 0.4
— 6.0
.....— 6.1
— 3.3
+ 5.0
+ 0.7
......+ 3.7
Springfield, Mo.— 1.2
+ 5.6
— 6.4
8th District....... + 2.9
+ 4.6
+ 0.6
Net sales comparisons
April 1926 compared to
Apr. 1925
Mar. 1926
Men’s Furnishing.......— 5.7%
+ 1.7%
Boots and Shoes.........— 4.3
— 36.9

Stock turnover
January 1,
to Apr. 30,
1925
1926
65.0
68.5
82.2
82.6
115.5
109.9
77.0
87.7
77.9
78.9
119.2
118.8
43.5
49.4
105.7
107.4

Stocks on hand
April 1926 compared to
Apr. 1925 Mar. 1926
+ 1.2%
— 5.7%
+ 8.1
+ 8.9

C O N S U M P T IO N O F E L E C T R IC IT Y
Electric power consumed by selected indus­
trial customers of public utilities companies in the
five largest cities of the district during April showed

an increase of 5.5 per cent over the corresponding
month in 1925, but a decrease of 4.1 per cent under
March this year. In the year to year comparison
the gain was spread pretty generally over all in­
dustries. The decrease from March to April was
due to smaller loads taken by flour mills, pottery
industries and the temporary closing for repairs of
an important cement plant, together with reduced
requirements of steel fabricators. Detailed figures
fo llo w :
Mar.
April
Apr. 1926
No. of
custom­
1926
1926
comp, to
ers
*K.W.H. *K.W.H. Mar. 1926
1,266
Evansville .....40
1,186
+ 6.7%
Little Rock...35
1,271
1,184
— 6.8
Louisville ....65
4,909
5,231
— 6.2
Memphis .....31
1,769
1,630
+ 8.5
St. Louis.......92
15,025
15,878
— 5.4
Totals.....263
24,153
25,196
*In thousands (000 omitted).

— 4.1

April
1925
*K.W.H.
1,104
1,237
4,995
1,358
14,197

Apr. 1926
comp, to
Apr. 1925
+ 14.7%
— 4.3
— 1.7
+30.3
+ 5.8

22,891

+ 5.5

The follow ing figures, com piled by the Depart­
ment of the Interior, show kilowatt production both
for lighting and industrial purposes for the country
as a w h ole:
By water power
By fuels
3,854,997,000'
March, 1926......................2,246,453,000
February, 1926................ 1,905,705,000
3,692,533,000
March, 1925.................... ..2,039,552,000
3,322,630,000

Totals
6,101,450,000
5,598,238,000
5,362,182,000

A G R IC U L T U R E
D ue to the late spring agricultural progress is
considerably behind the seasonal schedule. Weather
during the past thirty days was unfavorable for
grow th and development o f planted crops and the
accomplishment of farm work, notably plowing and
soil preparation. Beginning with the second week
in May, however, there was a marked change for
the better in m eteorological conditions, full advan­
tage o f which was taken by farmers to push forward
operations, and while seeding of grains, vegetables,
tobacco and other crops is still behind the average
for this date, excellent progress was made, and
total acreages of the chief crops will compare favor­
ably with past years. There remains ample time
for planting corn, potatoes and other spring crops,
but the backward season w ill doubtless result in a
curtailed acreage o f oats.
In Missouri farm w ork is tw o to three weeks
late, while in Illinois plow ing for spring planting
was reported only 42 per cent completed on May
8, against the average o f 64 per cent. In Indiana
only 38 per cent of spring plow ing and planting
had been completed on M ay 1, while last year on
the same date 85 per cent was done. In Arkansas
63 per cent o f this work had been accomplished on
M ay 1, com paring with the 10-year average of 78
per cent. For the country as a whole on May 1,
68.3 per cent of all plow ing and 56.1 per cent of
planting had been completed. W ith the exception
o f a relatively small number o f localities, farm labor
was adequate to the demand.




W inter W heat — W hile the estimated yield of
winter wheat for the United States, based on the
May 1 condition, was 548,908,000 bushels, against
398.486.000 bushels harvested in 1925, prospective
yields in all states of this district, except Missis­
sippi, are smaller than last year. ^The heaviest
losses are in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana, and
are attributable principally to the extremely unfav­
orable planting season last fall. Other causes con­
tributing to the poor outlook were abandonment
due to winter killing, unfavorable grow ing weather
during the late winter and early spring, and heavy
winds and hail storms. The principal damage was
in the North, wheat in the South having come
through the cold weather in comparatively good
shape. For the country as a whole the abandon­
ment of winter wheat acreage to May 1 was esti­
mated to be 5.6 per cent, or 2,216,000 acres, of the
39.301.000 acres sown last fall, which is much be­
low the 10-year average of 13 per cent.
C orn — Planting of corn has been delayed by
rains and cold weather and considerably less than
the usual amount has been sown. In the South rela­
tively greater progress has been made than in the
northern stretches of the district, and in many
counties the plant is up to a good stand. In many
northern counties soil conditions were not auspi­
cious for seeding corn during April, but this condi­
tion has been remedied by good rains during the
past three weeks. Stocks of old corn in all posi­
tions are heavy, and largely in excess of the same
period last year.
Fruits and Vegetables — Reports relative to
fruit vary widely, but on the whole prospects are
good. Frosts and freezes in April did much damage
to the peach crop in some sections, but the injury
was spotted and scattered, and in the southern and
extreme northern sections of the district the out­
look is good. Apples were not seriously damaged,
but the bloom in certain commercial sections was
light. In Arkansas the condition of apples on May
1 was 75 per cent of a full crop, indicating a com ­
mercial production of 3,700 car loads. In Indiana
and Illinois and parts of Missouri the apple crop
will be large. Strawberries were two to three weeks
late, but indications for the chief producing states
of the district were for heavier yields than last
year. Cherries, plums and other tree fruits are
expected to yield heavily. Planting of vegetables is
late, particularly potatoes, but the condition is high
and with favorable weather from this on, results
should be satisfactory. Gardens were planted later
this year in more than a decade, but have responded

well to the improved weather since May 1, and are
in generally good condition.
Live Stock — M ost recent reports indicate im­
proved conditions am ong live stock as compared
with the preceding month. T he early lamb situa­
tion, while quite varied in different areas, is on the
whole satisfactory, and prices were the highest
since early in January. Due to the cold spring, there
was unusually high mortality among young pigs.
The general trend am ong raisers is to increase
their herds o f cattle and swine, both because of the
abundance of cheap feeds, and the high market
prices. The average condition of pasture in the
United States on M ay 1 was 74.6 per cent of nor­
mal, compared with 86.5 per cent on the same date
in 1925, and 84.0 per cent, the average condition for
the past ten years on M ay 1.
Receipts and shipments at St. Louis, reported
by the National Stock Yards, were as follow s:
Receipts
Shipments
Apr.
Mar.
Apr.
Apr.
Mar.
Apr.
1926
1926
1925
1926
1926
1925
55,627 55,169 50,495
Cattle and Calves..... 86,439 94,740 84,864
Hogs ........................311,011301,580 262,267227,80 210,284 191,949
0
Horses and Mules.... 1,471
5,096
1,123
1,969
5,807
2,014
Sheep ...................... 15,859 30,250 13,969
7,741 14,433
8,930

Cotton — W eather was more favorable for
planting cotton and considerable progress was made
in putting in the crop. There is still considerable
seeding to be accomplished in the northern section
of the district. Unusually low temperatures were
against germination, and for the most part stands
are disappointing. There were some complaints of
seed rotting in the ground, necessitating replanting.
Recent precipitation has furnished abundant mois­
ture generally through the district, and soil condi­
tions are fine. Unofficial reports indicate acreages
about on a parity with last year. The demand for
cotton continued quiet and prices fluctuated over a
very narrow range. T he middling grade in the St.
Louis market closed at 1 7 ^ c per pound on May 15,
which was % c below the price on April 15, and
compared with 2 2 ^ c on M ay 15, 1925. Stocks con­
tinue heavy, the total in Arkansas warehouses on
May 14 being 386,033 bales, against 407,289 bales
a month earlier, and 41,636 bales on May 7, 1925.
Rice — Preparation of the soil for the 1926
crop has been virtually completed, and approximate­
ly 75 per cent of the acreage seeded. Soil conditions
are ideal, there being abundant soil and sub-soil
moisture. Mills report the most active demand for
polished rice experienced since the middle of Janu­
ary. Prices were unchanged.
T obacco — Offerings of old crop tobacco have
decreased sharply as the marketing season draws
to a close, and quality is mainly indifferent. The
medium to fine leaf offered is bringing as high




prices as at any time during the season, but the
ordinary grades are selling considerably below the
levels at this time last year. W eather in the imme­
diate past has been favorable for farm work, and
good headway has been made with preparations for
the new crop. Plants are reported plentiful, but
small and backward. Due to the cold weather, very
little actual planting has been done.
Com m odity Prices — Range of prices in the St.
Louis market between April 15, 1926, and May 15,
1926, with closing quotations on the latter date and
on May 15, 1925:
Wheat
July ...............
September .....
No. 2 red winter
No. 2 hard.....
Corn

Close
High
Low May 15, 1926 May 15, 1925
bu.$1.68^2 $1, 545^
$1.58
$1.6754
1 4 s I.331/2
.4 /
1.35
1.48-H
i
1.37M i.,3on
L32
1.42
‘
1.79
1.65
$1.65 @ 1.68
1.90
1.74
1.60
1.65
1.68

•74^2
.67/2
3
July ...............
.78% .7
September ....
.80 % . 7 /
64
No. 2 ...............
9
.71
.7334 .6
No. 2 white....
.75^
.7 /
22
Oats
No. 2 white__
.43H A2'/ .43
Flour
Soft patent.... ...perbbl. 9.25
8.25
.8.25
Spring patent,
7.90
8.00
8.75
Middling cotton....per lb.
.18
-1 M
7
Hogs on hoof,.,. ..per cwt.10.50 14.35
12.40

.70
.73 V
s

@
@

1.10

77H
.71/2

1.14*6
1.12J4
1.1354
1.15*4

.43^2

.49

•

.75

@
@

8.75
$8.75 @ 9.50
8.30
8.20 @ 8.40
.17U
.22 M
@ 14.35
10.25 @ 11.90

B U IL D IN G
Some slowing down in building operations
throughout the district was indicated by building
permits issued in April. W ork on buildings in
course of construction, however, proceeded with
virtually no interruption and skilled artisans in the
building trades are fully employed in all the large
cities. Prices of building materials showed no ap­
preciable change as compared with the preceding
thirty days. In point of dollar value, building per­
mits issued during April in the five largest cities
of the district decreased 18.8 per cent as compared
with the month before and the total was 45.5 per
cent smaller than in April, 1925. A ccording to sta­
tistics compiled by F. W . D odge Corporation,
building contracts awarded in the Eighth Federal
Reserve District in April totaled $30,369,870, against
$33,527,414 in March and $37,684,000 in April, 1925.
Production of portland cement for the country as
a whole in April totaled 12,403,000 barrels, against
10,355,000 barrels in March and 13,807,000 barrels
in April, 1925.
Building figures for April fo llo w :
New Construction
*Cost
Permits
1926
1925
1926 1925
255
$ 671 $ 150
Evansville . 198
122
288
518
Little Roc : 100
599
2,628
4,634
Louisville . 431
1,765
474
Memphis . . 617
1,844
. 862
960
3,196
8,526
Apr. totals 2,208
Mar. totals 2,266
Feb. totals 1,487

2,410
2,352
1,845

$8,548 $15,672
9,625
10,537
5,575
8,589

Repairs, etc.
*Cost
Permits
1926 1925
1926 1925
$ 63 $ 37
144
154
66
38
114
105
163
136
126
158
81
92
141
46
563
520
615
500
986
905
726

1,068
1,037
680

$ 953 $855
1,049
848
529 1,734

F IN A N C IA L
T he demand for credit accom m odation from
general commercial and industrial sources sustained
a further slight slow ing down during the period
under review. T h e volum e of collections with lead­
ing mercantile interests was large and their cash
position is such as to enable them to carry on to a
larger extent than usual with their own resources.
Generally small inventories of both raw materials
and finished goods were mentioned as another fac­
tor in the smaller demand for funds. Due to the
liquid condition of country banks, these institu­
tions are borrow ing less money from their city cor­
respondents than at the corresponding period during
the past tw o years. T he city banks report scattered
liquidation, and the irregular decrease in loans of
the reporting member banks, which began at the
middle of February, continued during the past
thirty days. Deposits also continued their down­
ward movement, touching a new low point for the
year in late April. Since that time, however, there
has been a fair recovery, the total on May 12 being
close to the level of the first week in April. Some
improvement in the condition o f country banks in
the tobacco district was noted, due to a distribution
by the Burley T ob acco Growers Cooperative Asso­
ciation of over $10,000,000 to its members during
die last week of April. Except in the cotton sec­
tions, the demand for funds for financing early
agricultural operations has been negligible, but the
demand for conditioning live stock for market is
reported good. O w ing to the lateness of the spring
the movement of early fruits and vegetables is
backward, and the demand for funds to finance
these operations is below the seasonal average of
recent years. T he trend o f interest rates in St.
Louis was lower as compared with the preceding
month and were quoted as follow s: Commercial
paper 4 to 4J4 P^r cent, ordinary commercial loans
to 5 y per cent, collateral loans 4 y2 to S y per
cent and live stock loans 5 to 6 per cent.

banks to checking accounts, savings accounts, cer­
tificates of deposit accounts and trust accounts of
individuals, firms, corporations and U. S. Govern­
ment in the leading cities of the district. Charges
to accounts of banks are not included:
E. St. Louis and
Nat. Stock Yards. 111..$ 45,229
El Dorado, Ark............ 12,755
Evansville, Ind............. 38,681
Fort Smith, Ark........... 13,564
Greenville, Miss............
4,517
Helena, Ark................
5,303
Little Rock, Ark......... 76,789
Louisville, Ky.............. 202,313
Memphis, Tenn............. 142,808
Owensboro, Ky............
5,374
Quincy, 111.................... 13,725
St. Louis, Mo.............. 760,357
Sedalia, Mo.................
4,694
Springfield, Mo............. 16,241

*Apr.
1925

$ 44,411 $ 41,109
9,249
12,250
37,565
36,580
12,876
13,525
3,831
4,739
4,631
5,094
62,492
81,274
187,613
209,256
131,140
158,101
5,750
5,494
13,410
13,468
773,900
758,867
4,729
4,655
15,590
13,629

Totals................... $1,342,350 $1,378,593 $1,286,635
*In thousands (000 omitted).

Apr. 1926, comp, to
Mar. 1926 Apr. 1925
+
+
+
+
—
+
—
—
—
—
+
—

1.89?
4.3
6.3
0.3
4.7
4.1
5.5
3.3
9.7
6.5
1.9
1.7

+ 0.8
+ 4.2

— 2.6

+ 10.0<H

+37.9
+ 2.9
+ 5.3
+ 17.9
+ 14.5
+22.9
+ 7.8
+ 8.9
—

2.2

+ 2.3
+ 0.2
— 0.7

+ 19.2
+ 4.3

Condition of Banks — Loans and discounts of
the reporting member banks decreased slightly dur­
ing the past thirty days, the total on May 19 being
$516,451,000, against $525,457,000 on April 21 and
$484,903,000 on M ay 20, 1925. Deposits on May 19
totaled $628,741,000, which compares with $627,750,000 on April 21, and $602,024,000 on May 20, 1925.
Comparative statement follow s:

Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts)

Investments
U. S. Gov’

Cash in vault...
Deposits
N et demand
T ime deposit;

Bills payable and rediscounts with
Federal reserve bank

*May 19, *Apr. 21, ♦May 20,
1925
1926
1926
33
33
„,$ 10,372
,,, 195,918
... 310,161

$ 11,663
201,102
312,692

$ 10,253
171,762
302,888

$516,451

$525,457

$484,903

... 77,949
... 110,065

63,375
106,044

78,845
108,554

$169,419
46,848
7,609

$187,399
44,214
6,971

.. 404,758

402,675
216,916
8,159

389,278
204,737
8,009

,..$628,741

$627,750

$602,024

...
4,846
5,987
1,296
All other........................................
10,530
6,206
*In thousands (000 omitted)
Total resources of these 33 banks comprise approximately 54 per cent
of the resources of all member banks in the district.

Federal Reserve Operations — During April
the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted
for 212 member banks, against 200 in March and
193 in April, 1925. The discount rate remained un­
changed at 4 per cent. Changes in the principal
assets and liabilities of this institution as compared
with the preceding month and a year ago are
shown in the follow ing table:

Commercial Paper — Offerings of commercial
paper, particularly o f choice names, was in limited
volume during the past thirty days, and this fact,
coupled with lower rates, resulted in a decrease in
business, both as compared with the preceding
month and a year ago. Brokerage interests report
the demand good, with both city and country banks
buying freely. Rates ranged from 4 to 4%. per
Bills discounted..............
Bills bought...................
cent, which compares with 4% to 4 y2 per cent the
U. S. Securities...........
Foreign loans on gold..
month before, and 3^4 to 4 per cent at the corre­
sponding period last year.
Debits to Individual Accounts — T he following
Ratio of reserves to deposit
and F. R. Note liabilities....
comparative table gives the total debits charged by
*In thousands (000 omitted).
(Compiled May 21, 1926)




*Mar.
1926

f Apr.
1926

*May 17,
1926
,$27,293
.. 7,388
27,342
318

*Apr. 17, *May 17,
1925
1926
$20,010
$29,272
11,380
7,321
26,640
25,742
374
483

..$62,341
38,358
.. 81,662

$62,709
37,368
84,904

$58,513
47,570
83,740

„ 53.7%

52.8%

57.6%

B U SIN E SS C O N D IT IO N S IN T H E U N IT E D S T A T E S
T here was a slight decline in the activity o f industry
and trade in April and a further reduction in the general
price level. Com m ercial demand for bank credit continued
large and the volum e o f security loans, after a rapid decline
since the turn o f the year, remained at a constant level.
P R O D U C T IO N — P roduction in basic industries, ac­
cording to the Federal Reserve Board’s index, decreased
one per cent in April, slight increases in production of
lumber and pig iron being m ore than offset by declines in

Index of 22 basic commodities adjusted for seasonal variations.
Latest figure, April=122.

output in other industries. Particularly large recessions
were shown in the production o f steel ingots and in tex­
tile mill activity. Autom obile production, not included in
the index, continued in large volum e. Factory employment
and payrolls declined slightly, particularly the food, tobac­
co, textile, and b oot and shoe industries. The volume of
building contracts awarded during April was smaller than
in M arch and practically the same as in April o f last year.
Aw ards for the first tw o weeks in May, however, showed
increases as com pared with the same weeks in 1925. R e­
ports by the D epartm ent o f Agriculture indicate that up
to the first o f M ay 68 per cent o f spring plow ing and 56
per cent o f sow in g and planting was completed, compared
with about 83 per cent and 66 per cent last year.
T R A D E — T h e volum e o f wholesale trade in April
was seasonally smaller than in M arch for all lines except
meats. Com pared with a year ago, sales o f groceries,
meats and drugs were larger in April, while sales of dry
goods, shoes and hardware w ere smaller. Department

they w ere larger than a year ago. W eek ly freight car
loadings decreased in the early part o f April, but later
increased, and the volum e o f shipments for the month o f
April as a w hole and for the first tw o weeks in M ay was
larger than in the corresponding periods o f any previous
year.
P R ICE S — W h olesale com m odities prices, according
to the Bureau o f Labor Statistics index, declined slightly
from March to April. Increases in the farm products and

Latest figure, April=151.

foods groups, which had been declining for several months,
were m ore than offset by decreases in other groups. T he
greatest declines w ere in the prices o f clothing materials.
In the first three weeks o f M ay prices o f wheat, cattle,
sheep, cotton goods, pig iron, bricks, and rubber declined,
while those o f hogs, raw silk and crude petroleum increased.
B A N K C R E D IT — Com m ercial demand for bank
credit at m em ber banks in leading cities continued in large
volume between the middle o f April and the middle ox May.
Liquidation o f security loans, which had been rapid since
the beginning o f the year, did not continue after the m id­
dle o f April and the volum e o f these loans remained fairly
constant at a level about $450,000,000 below the peak at
the end o f 1925. T h ere was som e addition to the banks*
investments and the total o f their loans and investments
was about $1,000,000,000 larger than at the same period
o f last year. W ithdrawals o f funds from New Y ork w ere
reflected in an increase betw een the middle o f April and
the middle o f M ay in borrow ings by m em ber banks from
the Federal Reserve Bank o f N ew Y ork, while borrow ings

Monthly averages of daily figures for 12 Federal Reserve Banks.
figures are averages of first 19 days in May.

stores sales increased less than usual and were somewhat
smaller than a year ago. Sales o f mail order houses were
slightly smaller than in March, but continued to be larger
than in the. corresponding months o f 1925. There was
som e decrease in the stocks o f merchandise held by w hole­
sale firms during the month, and inventories o f department
stores show ed less than the usual seasonal increases, though




Latest

at m ost o f the other R eserve banks declined. O pen market
holdings o f the R eserve banks remained fairly constant
during the period and there was little change in the total
volum e o f Reserve bank credit outstanding. M oney rates
late in April reached the low est level for a year, but iii
M ay conditions in the m oney market became som ewhat
firmer.

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