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MONTHLY REVIEW O f Agricultural, Industrial, Trade and Financial Conditions in the Eighth Federal Reserve District RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION ON THE AFTERNOON OF MAY 29, 1937 FEDERAL RESERVE District Summary May 1, 1937, comp, with output Av. 1928-32 Agriculture: 1936 Estimated produc. of Winter Wheat-[-21.3% +57.5% April, 1937, comp, with Mar. 1937 Apr. 1936 Live Stock: Receipts at National Stock Yards.....+ 2.5% Shipments from aforesaid Yards...... — 1.8 Production and Distribution: Sales by mfrs. and wholesalers........ —11.5 Department store sales.......................— 4.4 Car loadings......................................... — 7.8 Building and Construction: Bldg. permits, incl. repairs j Cos?^**’"+30.0 Value construc. contracts awarded.— 2.2 — Miscellaneous: n . « rm SNumber..........—19.2 Commercial failures ] Liabilities...... . _ 2S.0 Consumption of electricity................. + 7.0 Debits to individual accounts............— 4.5 _ , . +25.5% + 5.9 +31.8 + 10.3 + 13.4 +28.0 — 0.8 — 4.2 — 16.0 —30.1 + 15.6 +21.9 May 12/37 comp, with Member Banks (24) : Apr. 14/37 May 13,‘ 36 Gross deposits...................................... — 3.8% + 4.9% Loans.................................................... + 0.5 +25.4 Investments..........................................— 4.1 — 6.5 N D USTRY and commerce in the Eighth Dis trict during late April and the first half of May developed little change from the similar period immediately preceding when the general level was the highest attained in the recovery movement. Such minor changes as occurred were the result of sea sonal influences, with the principal factor making for decreased activities being the unusually cool, wet weather which persisted into the third week of May. The movement through retail channels of certain lines of merchandise, notably apparel, boots and shoes, and groceries was restricted to some ex tent by the late spring and this reacted adversely on the wholesaling and and jobbing trade and cer tain phases of productive activity. However, in practically all lines of manufacturing investigated by this bank production in April was measurably greater than a year earlier, and in several important classifications, including iron and steel, building materials and electrical supplies, output was the highest for the month since the predepression era. April production of bituminous coal in this area decreased sharply from March, and was also smaller I BANK OF ST. LOUIS than in April, 1936. The drop in the month-tomonth comparison was occasioned by heavy de mands of industrial interests in March to fortify their inventories against possible strikes at mines. Output of lumber, cement, glass and other building materials continued at the high rates which marked earlier months this year. As evidenced by car-loadings and statistics of the several groups of wholesaling and jobbing in terests reporting to this bank, distribution of com modities continued well above the volume at the corresponding time a year ago. Decreases from March to April in all lines were reported, but the declines were seasonal, and in a majority of in stances less than the average during the past decade. The decline in commodity prices has caused some hesitation on the part of retailers in making advance commitments. However, in a majority of lines, the volume of forward orders on books of the reporting firms continues above that of a year and two years earlier. Preliminary reports indicate a moderate increase in nonagricultural employment from March to April, and since May 1 settlement of a number of strikes has added to the number of persons em ployed at industrial plants. According to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, total employment on farms increased seasonally during April, but due to the lateness of the season, the level of employment is still somewhat below last year. Preparations for and planting of spring crops are generally from two to three weeks behind the seasonal schedule. Almost continuous rains have made fields unworkable, and in the northern stretch es of the district at mid-May less than half of in tended acreage of corn and some other crops had been seeded. However, in face of the inauspicious spring weather, Agricultural prospects as a whole in the district are the most promising in a number of years. Early unofficial reports indicate increased plantings of practically all the principal crops over a year ago. Farm income was greatly benefitted by the rise in prices of major farm products prior to April and larger expenditures than in recent years Page 1 are being made for fertilizer, implements and other farm equipment. Abundant precipitation has great ly improved subsoil conditions, making up the cum ulative deficiency caused by successive drouth years. The volume of retail trade in this district dur ing April, as reflected in sales of department stores in leading cities, was 4.4 per cent smaller than in March and 10.3 per cent greater than in April, 1936; cumulative total for the first four months was 12.4 per cent in excess of that for the comparable period last year. Combined sales in April of all wholesal ing and jobbing firms reporting to this bank were 11.5 per cent less than in March and 31.8 per cent greater than in April, 1936; for the first four months the aggregate exceeded that of the same interval in 1936 by 31.2 per cent. The dollar value of permits for new buildings in the principal cities in April was 42.7 per cent greater and 10.5 per cent smaller, respectively, than a month and a year earlier, and for the first four months this year there was an increase of 3.4 per cent as compared with the like period in 1936. Dollar value of construction con tracts let in the Eighth District in April was 2.2 per cent less than in March and 4.2 per cent smaller as compared with April, 1936; for the first four months cumulative total exceeded that for the similar period last year by 16.7 per cent. According to officials of railroads operating in this district, all classifications of freight handled during April, with the exception of grain and grain products, continued the upward trend noted during the preceding month. Total volume exceeded that of any April since 1931. Following successful labor negotiations between coal mine operators and the unions, there was a falling off in bituminous coal production, which was reflected in late April in a curtailed movement of that commodity. Passenger traffic of the reporting lines in April recorded gains over both a month and a year earlier. Tonnage of the Federal Barge Line between St. Louis and New Orleans in April was 30 per cent greater than a month earlier and 10 per cent less than a year ago. For the first four months this year cumulative total was 11 per cent below the like period in 1936. The general status of collections in the district during April and the first half of May showed little change as contrasted with earlier months in the year. Questionnaires addressed to representative interests in the several lines scattered through the district showed the following results : E xcellent April, 1937 March, 1937 April, 1936 Page 2 ....... 4.5% 3.6 2.7 Good Fair P oor 44.5% 46.3 53.4 44.0% 43.9 42.5 7.0% 6.2 1.4 Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Re serve District in April, according to Dun and Bradstreet, numbered 21, involving liabilities of $207,000, against 26 insolvencies in March with liabilities of $276,000 and 25 defaults for a total of $296,000 in April, 1936. Detailed Survey MANUFACTURING AND W HOLESALIN G Stocks N et Sales Apr. 30, 1937 April, 1937 4 months 1937 compared with comp, with same comp, with Apr. 30, 1936 Mar. ’ 37 A pr. ’ 36 period 1936 — 14.2% Boots and Shoes.......... — 1 0 .1 % ' "+ 54.3% “ + 4 4 .5 % + 31.5 D rugs and Chemicals.. — 2.1 + 15.7 + 2 8 .3 + 63.0 + 14.1 + 7.2 — 18.1 + 68.9 Electrical Supplies---- — 17.6 + 4 4 .8 + 53.3 + 14.0 — 12.5 + 29.4 + 44.8 + 18.8 + 11.5 — 3.0 + 12.4 + 3 5 .3 + 29.9 + 31.1 — 13.1 Lines of Commodities A ll above lines.......,. — 11.5 + 31.8 + 31.2 + 35.6 Automobiles — Combined passenger car, truck and taxicab production in the United States in April was 536,334 against 494,276 (revised) in March and 502,674 (revised) in April, 1936. Boots and Shoes — The decrease in sales of the reporting firms from March to April was seasonal in character, but slightly greater than the average during the past decade. The April total, however, was the highest for the month since 1931. Retailers generally through the trade area were disposed to augment inventories in anticipation of higher prices. Clothing — The late spring, with heavy precipi tation and unusually low temperatures, have had a tendency to hold down the movement of apparel through retail channels, and this condition has re acted upon sales of wholesalers and jobbers. Withal, sales of the reporting clothiers in April were 28 per cent larger than for the same month a year earlier, though 14 per cent below the March total this year. Stocks as of May 1 were practically unchanged as compared with a month and a year earlier. Produc tion during April and early May was restricted by scattered strikes. Drugs and Chemicals — Increases in sales in this classification over a year earlier, which have marked recent months, continued during April and the first half of May. Unusually heavy infestation of insect and fungus pests, incident to the late, wet spring, has been reflected in heavy purchasing of spraying materials. There was a slight easing in prices during early May, but the average continued measurably above a year ago. Dry Goods — While preliminary reports of the reporting interests covering the first half of May in dicate a moderate increase over a year ago, there has developed a quite definite price resistance. Retailers are purchasing less freely, with the result that spot sales were reported in smaller volume than hereto fore. Advance orders on books of the reporting firms as of May 1 were measurably higher than a year ago. Electrical Supplies — Sales of the reporting in terests during April, while showing about the ex pected seasonal decline from March, were the largest for any April since these records began in 1924. Local strikes during April interfered with pro duction, and deliveries on certain lines of commodi ties are backward. Sales of electric fans and some other seasonal goods have been retarded by the late spring. Furniture— Expansion in building of new homes and purchasing to replenish stocks damaged by the spring floods were reported important factors in the gain in April sales over the same month in 1936. A further increase in demand for office furniture and equipment was noted in the principal cities. Prices showed little change from a month earlier, but were measurably higher than a year ago. Groceries — April sales of the reporting firms wrere the largest for the month since 1931. Lateness of the spring has adversely affected sales of farm supplies and other merchandise consumed chiefly in the rural areas. The recent downturn in prices has caused hesitation on the part of retailers in making advance commitments. Hardware — The sharp expansion in residential building this spring is reflected in an active demand for builders’ tools and hardware, paints, varnishes and kindred lines. Despite the late spring, sales of hand implements and other items for the country have moved in considerable volume, with reports of reordering by country distributors fairly large. Iron and Steel Products — In virtually all sec tions of the iron and steel industry, activities during the past thirty days have been maintained at the high rate which has obtained during the past several months. The slowing down in operations in certain quarters, occasioned by local strikes, wras counter balanced by expansion in working schedules at plants not so handicapped. Following announce ment that present steel prices would be continued through the third quarter, there was some slowing down in new ordering, but the mills for the most part have backlogs of sufficient size to hold produc tion at the current high rate for a number of weeks, and in many important instances, well into the fall. Specialty makers, notably of farm implements, stoves, machine tools and heating apparatus, report orders booked the most favorable for this particular period since the predepression era. Manufacturers of railroad cars have stepped up their operations noticeably during the past sixty days. One leading car builder has resumed operations at a district plant which had been closed for seven years and supplied employment to approximately 700 men. Rolling mills are still extended from two to four weeks on deliveries. Iron and steel warehouse and jobbing interests report a moderate recession in business from March to April, but the decrease was less than usual, despite the record volume in March, when sales were stimulated by anticipation of price advances. Jobbing foundries reported decreased operations, caused by strikes at electrical manufac turing establishments and those of some other im portant customers. Outlet through the building in dustry has broadened seasonally, though lack of lettings of public work projects has adversely af fected steel fabricating plants, where operations at mid-May were at about SO per cent of capacity. Buying of pig iron in April and early May was in relatively light volume, due to prior coverage of a majority of melters, but shipments were maintained at the highest levels of the recovery period. Sharp price declines were recorded in scrap iron and steel. At mid-May heavy melting steel was off about $4 per ton from the top, reached around April 1. For the entire country production of pig iron in April, according to the magazine “ Steel” , totaled 3,404,060 tons, against 3,470,470 tons in March, the decrease being caused by the shorter month. In April, 1936, 2,409,474 tons were produced. Steel ingot produc tion in the United States in April amounted to 5,071,875 tons, which compares with 5,216,666 tons in March and 3,932,605 tons in April, 1936. MINING Apprehension of a strike at bituminous coal mines caused railroads and industrial interests to build up large inventories during March, and pro duction during that month was the highest for any single month in recent years. Following the suc cessful termination of labor negotiations, such fears were dispelled, which situation was reflected in a sharp decrease in production during April, generally through the country. At mines in this area output of bituminous coal in April decreased 56 per cent below the March total and 16 per cent below produc tion in April, 1936. For the first four months this year, however, cumulative tonnage was approxi mately 4 per cent greater than for the like interval in 1936. For the entire country estimated produc tion of soft coal was 25,735,000 tons, against 51,315,000 tons in March and 30,452,000 tons in April, 1936. Page 3 For the year to May 1, cumulative tonnage amounted to 160,100,000 tons, which compares with 142,930,000 tons for the first four months of 1936. At Illi nois mines in April, 1,967,339 tons were produced, against 6,518,304 tons in March and 3,023,452 tons in April, 1936. There were 120 mines in operation in April and 27,473 men on payrolls, against 164 active mines and 38,004 operatives in March. RETAIL TRADE Department Stores — The condition of retail trade is reflected in the following comparative state ments showing activities in the leading cities of the district: Stocks Net Sales on Hand Apr. 1937 4 mos. 1937 Apr. 30/37 compared with to same comp, with Mar. 1937 Apr. 1936 period ’ 36 Apr. 30/36 El Dorado, Ark......... + 1 0 .2 % + 10.9 % + 6.2% + 6.1% Ft. Smith, Ark......... — 16.2 — 11.3 + 3.6 + 5.8 Little Rock, Ark....... — 6.7 + 8.2 + 9.4 + 21.8 + 17.7 + 7.5 +18.3 Louisville, K y ........... — 8.3 Memphis, Temi......... — 14.4 + 4.3 + 12.7 +16.8 Pine Bluff, Ark......... + 5.4 +13.2 + 13.6 +15.3 St. Louis, M o........... — 0.3 + 11.5 + 13.9 +17.0 Springfield, M o......... — 1.1 + 15.0 + 12.5 +28.1 All Other Cities........ — 20.3 — 8.7 + 6.2 + 7.1 8th F. R. District.... — 4.4 +10.3 + 12.4 +18.1 Stock Turnover Jan. 1, to Apr. 30, 1937 1936 .90 .85 .80 .83 .85 .91 1.24 1.35 1.00 1.00 1.11 1.22 1.31 1.34 .76 .80 .98 .97 1.19 1.23 Percentage of collections in April to accounts and notes receivable first day of April, 1937,by cities : Installment Excl. Instal. Accounts Accounts El Dorado... ........ % ... ......67.6% ... 38.7 Fort Smith.. Little Rock. ......15.2 ..... ......37.8 Louisville ......... 12.1 ..... ...... 45.9 Memphis .... ...... 18.4 .... .......42.7 Installment Excl. Instal. Accounts Accounts Pine Bluff................ %. .......... 35.1% Springfield .................... .......... 29.1 St. Louis........... 19.5 . .......... 56.3 Other Cities..... 17.6 . .......... 45.3 8th F. R. Dist..l7.3 ........... 49.7 Specialty Stores — April results in men’s fur nishings and boot and shoe lines are shown in the following table: Stocks Stock ___________ Net Sales_____________ on Hand Turnover Apr. 1937 4 mos. 1937 Apr. 30/37 Jan. 1, to compared with to same comp, with Apr. 30, Mar. 1937 Apr. 1936 period ’ 36 Apr. 30/36 1937 1936 Men’s Furnishings....— 32.5% — 21.1% + 6.2% + 16.6 % ’ .84 .82 Boots and Shoes....... — 22.5 — 8.2 + 16.4 +11.9 2.01 2.04 Percentage of collections in April to accounts and notes receivable first day of April, 1937: Men’s Furnishings................. 35.7% Boots and Shoes........................40.5% AGRICULTURE Generally throughout the Eighth District, spring weather has been adverse to progress of agricultural operations, preparations for and plant ing of crops at mid-May being from two to three weeks behind the usual seasonal schedule. During April and the first half of May, precipitation was excessive and temperatures below normal. Accord ing to the U. S. Weather Bureau, in many sections April rainfall was the heaviest for the month since 1929, and reports covering the first half of May indi cate a continuance of these conditions, though in a somewhat less marked degree. In addition to re tarded farm work incident to wet weather, a consid erable amount of damage has been wrought by over Page 4 flowing of rivers and streams. Latest advices from a number of localities indicate that much replanting of cotton, potatoes and certain other crops will be necessary. On the other hand the moisture has proved extremely beneficial to pastures and fall planted cereals, the condition of which underwent noticeable betterment from March to April. Sub-soil conditions in this area are the best in a number of years, the abundant rains having served to make up for deficient moisture resulting from successive years of drouth. Despite the handicap of a late spring, agricul tural prospects for the district as a whole are the most promising in a number of years. There is still ample time for seeding corn, cotton and other spring crops, and an increasing demand for farm products, according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, coupled with shortages which are largely due to drouths, is encouraging producers in many areas, as indicated by heavily increased purchasing of lime, fertilizer and equipment. The farm labor situation showed little change as contrasted with the preced ing thirty days. Generally a decrease from a year ago is indicated, not only for family workers but hired help. Wage scales paid are from 8 to 11 per cent higher than a year ago. Rather sharp declines in prices of certain farm products took place in late April, a number of which were seasonal in character. As of May 1, the farm products group of the Bureau of Labor Statistics Price Index stood at 91.5 per cent of the 1926 average, a decline of 1.2 per cent from the preceding week, and comparing with 96.0 per cent on April 3, 1937; 77.1 per cent on May 2, 1936; 81.1 per cent on May 4, 1935, and 46.4 per cent on April 29, 1933. Cotton — In the most southern stretches of the district planting of the new cotton crop had been virtually completed at mid-May, and in face of wet, cool weather, considerable progress had been made further north. There have been scattered complaints of slow germination, due to the low temperatures, and it is evident that considerable replanting will be necessary. In all states of the district, reports from county agents, trade associations, bankers and other unofficial sources, indicate larger acreages than a year ago, estimates ranging from 10 to 15 per cent. The mild, open winter and late, wet spring have served to encourage insect pests. The emergence of boll weevil is reported considerably greater than a year ago, and cut worms have done considerable damage to cotton and feed crops, particularly oats. According to the National Fertilizer Association, sales of fertilizer tags in states including the Eighth District during the ten-month period, July-April were 50 per cent and 74 per cent greater, respective ly, than during the similar periods a year and two years earlier. Cotton prices in late April and the first half of May declined to the lowest point since last February. In the St. Louis market the middling grade ranged from 12.90c to 13.70c per pound be tween April 15 and May 15, closing at 13.00c on the latest date, wrhich compares with 13.75c on April 15 and 11.00c on May 15, 1936. The movement out of district warehouses slowed up noticeably during the past three weeks. At Arkansas and Missouri com presses combined receipts from August 1, 1936, to May 7, 1937, totaled 1,345,041 bales, against 970,755 bales for the corresponding period a year earlier. Stocks on hand as of May 7 amounted to 202,111 bales, which compares with 264,094 bales on April 9 and 381,988 bales on the corresponding date a year ago. Fruits and Vegetables — As of mid-May the general condition of fruits and vegetables in this dis trict was considerably more promising than a year earlier and somewhat above the 10-year average. Outlook for apples is in the main favorable. Winter injury was light, and the bloom universally heavy, though cloudy weather interfered to some extent with pollination. Orchardists are resorting to in tensive spray programs and cultivation. The outlook for peaches is generally favorable. In its May 1 re port the U. S. Department of Agriculture estimates the production of peaches in this area at 2,290,000 bushels, an increase of 226,000 bushels over the number harvested in 1936, and comparing with the 1928-1932 average of 2,300,000 bushels. Livestock — Lateness of the spring has served to accentuate the general shortage of feed. Farmers have been obliged to carry their herds later than usual on prepared rations, particularly in areas more acutely affected by last year's drouth. In its report as of May 1, the U. S. Department of Agriculture estimates reserve stocks of hay on farms in states partly or entirely within the Eighth District at 1,201,000 tons, against 2,343,000 tons on the same date in 1936, and the 5-year May 1 average (19281932) of 2,019,000 tons. The improvement in the condition of pastures since the middle of April has materially helped the situation. Receipts and shipments at St. Louis as reported by the National Stock Yards were as follows: Receipts Apr., Mar., Apr., 1937 1937 1936 Cattle and Calves..... 94,383 101,756 95,262 Hogs ..........................221,027 243,838 183,533 Horses and Mules..... 3,813 7,452 3,930 Sheep ......................... 85,051 41,268 39,452 Totals.....................404,274 394,314 322,177 ______ Shipments_____ Apr., Mar., Apr., 1937 1937 1936 49,771 52,321 58,365 122,088 133,945 115,588 3,884 7,819 4,988 25,084 10,482 10,732 200,827 204,567 189,673 Tobacco — Continued rains during the first half of May, generally accompanied by cool weather, retarded growth and development of tobacco plants. In certain localities plants in beds are plentiful and appear healthy while elsewhere less favorable con ditions obtain. However, with the number of beds sown, there is every assurance that there will be sufficient plants for the increased acreage this year. Revised figures of acreage, production, and value of the 1935 and 1936 tobacco crops in states including the Eighth District are shown in the fol lowing table: Acreage Harvested ^ 35 1926^ Acres Indiana .......... 7,600 6,400 Missouri ......... 4,100 3,900 Kentucky ...... 291,000 306,700 Tennessee ..... 105,200 93,000 Totals.........407,900 410,000 Production 1935 7936 Thousand Lbs. 6,580 4,480 3,895 2,632 226,718 216,438 88,678 76,205 325,871 299,755 Value 1935 1936 In Thousands $ 1,165 $ 1,197 475 842 34,910 62,910 12,767 18,977 49,317 83,926 Winter Wheat — There was moderate improve ment in the condition of winter wheat in states of the Eighth District during April. According to the report of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, based on conditions as of May 1, total indicated yield in these states is 132,669,000 bushels, an increase of 377,000 bushels over the April 1 forecast, and com paring with 109,399,000 bushels harvested in 1936, and the 5-year average (1928-1932) of 84,231,000 bushels. Generally the crop is in good condition, though there are complaints of rank growth from excessive moisture, with consequent weakening of stems. Because of the mild, open winter, damage from cold was relatively light, and abandonment of acreage from all causes below average^ Stocks of wheat in interior mills and elevators in this district were the smallest in recent years, the total on April 1 being estimated at 4,085,000 bushels, against 5,270,000 bushels a year ago, and the average for the 1934-1936 period of 7,279,000 bushels. FARM REAL ESTATE VALUES Milk production per cow increased more rapid ly than usual in April, according to the report, and indications point to a further increase during May. As compared with the usual seasonal trend, in creases in milk production per cow during April were particularly notable this year in Kentucky, Missouri and Arkansas. Farm real estate values, which have exhibited a steady upward trend since 1933, continued to ad vance during the twelve months ended March 1, 1937. The preliminary index of average value per acre for the entire country, prepared by the U. S. Bureau of Agricultural Economics, stood at 85 per Page 5 cent of 1912 to 1914 period on March 4, or 4 per cent above a year earlier and 16 per cent over the 1933 low point. Increases since 1933 may be attributed largely to improved farm incomes, which have risen approximately a billion dollars a year during the last four years. Relieved farm credit conditions have also contributed to the betterment. The following table shows the estimated value per acre, in terms of pre-war average value, for states including the Eighth Federal Reserve District as of March 1, with comparisons: Indiana..................... Illinois...................... M issouri................... K entucky................. Tennessee................ M ississippi.............. Arkansas......., .......... 1920 161 160 167 200 200 218 222 (State 1925 102 115 112 140 137 136 160 average value in 1912-1914 = 100% ) 1930 1931 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 80 72 60 53 56 61 66 70 91 80 66 54 59 61 65 70 92 79 67 55 57 58 60 60 127 115 97 80 81 87 89 98 123 114 96 79 84 91 97 100 122 112 92 73 82 90 92 97 141 118 104 80 8688 92 92 COMMODITY PRICES Range of prices in the St. Louis market be tween April 15, 1937, and May 15, 1937, with clos ing quotations on the latter date and on May 15, 1936, follow s: H igh W heat *M ay .....................per bu..$1.34^4 *July .........................“ 1.21*4 *Sept........................ ... “ 1.1954 *N o. 2 red winter “ 1.44 *N o. 2 hard “ “ 1.37 Corn *M ay ..................... ... “ 1.3654 •July ........................ “ 1.23 Yz *Sept........................ “ 1.14*6 *N o. 2 M ixed .... “ 1.41 *N o. 2 W hite .... “ 1.41 Oats “ .42 *Sept........................ *N o. 2 W hite .... “ .5 7 ^ Flour Soft Patent........per bbl. 7.05 Spring “ ........ “ 8.80 M iddling Cotton...per lb. .1370 H ogs on h oof..... per cw t.11.10 ^Nominal quotations. L ow $1.21 ^ 1.1454 1.13 1.30 1.25 54 _______ Close _____ May 15, 1937 M ay 15, 19*36 ~ $ 1.27% $ ............ 1.175* .84-^ 1.16*6 .8 4 ^ 1.3354 1 .0 1 @ 1 .0 1 ^ 1.31 1.10 1.22& 1.1354 1-08 A 1.29 1.31 1 .3 0 ^ 1.20 1.10^4 1.35 1.31 .63 5^ .61. H .58 V S .67 .69 .39 T 4 .53 .39 H .57 ............ .29 6.20@ 6.70 7.70@ 8.10 .1300 email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com .1100 firstname.lastname@example.org 6.20 7.70 .1290 7.15 TRANSPORTATION Both freight and passenger traffic of railroads operating in this district during April and the first two weeks in May continued well ahead of the cor responding period in 1936 and of all similar periods since 1931. The St. Louis Terminal Railway Asso ciation, which handles interchanges for 28 connect ing lines, interchanged 97,454 loads in April, against 105,712 loads in March and 85,959 loads in April, 1936. During the first nine days of May the inter change amounted to 27,068 loads, which compares with 30,566 loads during the like interval in April and 26,352 loads during the first nine days of May, 1936. Passenger traffic of the reporting lines in April showed an increase over the same month a year earlier of 18 per cent in the number of tickets sold and 16 per cent in revenue. For the entire country loadings of revenue freight for the first eighteen weeks this year, or to May 1, totaled 12,836,303 loads, against 11,116,376 loads during Page 6 the like interval in 1936 and 10,375,946 loads in 1935. Estimated tonnage of the Federal Barge Line be tween St. Louis and New Orleans in April was 171,000 tons, which compares with 130,954 tons in March and 188,133 tons in April, 1936; cumulative tonnage for the first four months wras 470,580 tons against 528,960 tons for the comparable period a year ago. BUILDING The dollar value of permits issued for new con struction in the five largest cities of the district in April was 42.7 per cent more than in March and 10.5 per cent smaller than the April, 1936, total. According to statistics compiled by the F. W . Dodge Corporation, construction contracts let in the Eighth Federal Reserve District in April amounted to $16,054,600 which compares with $16,416,800 in March and $16,760,791 in April, 1936. Building fig ures for April follow : R epairs, etc. Permits Cost 1937 1936 1937 1936 $ 83 $ 40 118 207 67 15 127 69 99 31 49 82 87 103 214 244 181 266 97 240 N ew construction Cost Permits 1937 1936 1937 1936 $ 91 $ 422 77 Evansville.... .... 66 30 173 39 18 Little R ock 537 306 99 106 462 973 150 Memphis .... 327 624 969 344 St. Louis.... 330 thousands) April Totals Mar. “ Feb. 861 789 334 2,167 1.519 951 695 732 191 2,420 1,339 682 900 873 618 681 705 338 534 551 371 304 522 208 CONSUMPTION OF ELECTRICITY Public utilities companies in six large cities of the district report consumption of electric current by selected industrial customers in April as being 7.0 per cent greater than in March and 15.6 per cent more than in April, 1936. Detailed figures fo llo w : A pr., (K .W .H . N o. of 1937 in thous.) Custom K .W .H . ers Evansville..... 40 3,648” 1,787 Little R ock.. 35 9,221 Louisville .... 82 2,448 1,103 Pine Bluff .... 20 22,563 M ar., 1937 K .W .H . ~ 3,702 1,902 8,705 2,378 1,021 20,590 40,770 38,298 A pr. 1937 com p, with Mar. 1937 1.5% — 6.0 + 5.9 + 2.9 + 8.0 + 9.6 + 7.0 A pr., Apr. 1937 com p, with 1936 K .W .H . Apr. 1936 + 29.2% ' 2,824 + 5.0 1.702 7,796* + 18.3 + 40.4 1,743 + 138.2 463 20,741 4- 8.8 35,269 + 15.6 * Revised. LIFE INSURANCE Sales of new, paid-for, ordinary life insurance in states including the Eighth District during April, the preceding month, and a year ago, together with the cumulative totals for the first four months this year and the comparable period in 1936 are shown in the following table: A pr., 1937 __ . $ 4,287 54,282 . 15,900 7,339 M ississippi....... 4,082 21,654 9,332 (I n thousands of dollars) A pr., Cumulative Totals Mar., 1936 1937 1936 1937 $ 4,124 $ 3,651 $ 15,535 $ 1 4 ,7 5 6 208,622 187,345 46,844 59,537 53,496 57,849 16,769 13,625 25,702 7,401 6,429 23,736 11,999 3,200 14,351 3,918 72,151 77,971 22,390 18,136 29,579 34,473 10,566 7,567 Cumul. change + 5.3% + 11.4 + 8.1 — 7.6 + 19.6 + 8.1 + 16.5 395,028 + 9.5 124,705 99,452 432,537 116,876 T otals........... 722,631 596,754 2,539,666 2,324,332 + 9.3 United States.... 692,062 N o te : Figures have been revised to represent all insurance com pa nies in the U . S. Previous figures were for 54 companies which repre sented 85% of insurance companies in U . S. M ONEY AND BANKING The banking situation in this district during the past thirty days was featured by a further moderate expansion in demand for credit from the principal borrowing groups. Reflecting generally favorable collections, liquidation by mercantile and manufac turing interests was in considerable volume, but new loans and renewals at commercial banks exceeded settlements by a fair margin. Despite the late spring, there was a noticeable increase in demand for funds to finance agricultural operations, particularly in the south. Farmers are using more bank credit than a year ago because of having to purchase more and higher priced feed. In the immediate past there has been a scattered demand from country banks for loans from city correspondents. Quite generally throughout the district there was a brisk demand for building and real estate loans. Member Banks— Between April 14 and May 12, total loans and investments of reporting banks in the principal cities declined 2.1 per cent, but on the latter date were 5.2 per cent higher than a year ago. There was a moderate increase in loans during the four-week period and the total of this item was ap proximately one-fourth higher than at the corre sponding period in 1936. Gross deposits declined sharply during late April and early May, reaching a new low for the year on May 5. Total reserve balances, which had declined in March, turned up ward at mid-April and on May 12 were 4.5 per cent and 35.9 per cent greater, respectively, than a month and a year earlier. A composite statement of the principal resource and liability items of the reporting member banks is given in the following comparative table: May 12, 1937 (In thousands of dollars) Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts) : Secured by U. S. Gov’ t obligations and other stocks and bonds........... $ 78,945 All other loans and discounts........... 214,227 Apr. 14, 1937 May 13, 1936 $ 76,926 214,710 $ 69,056 164,769 Total loans and discounts....................... ... 293,172 291,636 233,825 Investments U. S. Gov’ t securities......................... . 219,249 Other securities..................................... . 156,100 230,102 161,445 242,714 158,789 Total investments..................................... ... 375,349 391,547 401,503 699,015 deposits........................................... , 186,976 734,150 187,299 664,296 179,961 Gross deposits........................................... ... 885,991 921,449 844,257 Reserve balances with F. R. Bank..... , 138,028 . 11,138 Bills payable and rediscounts with T A OAriTA T^onlr ? 132,054 10,662 101,557 11,578 Time Number of banks reporting..................... 24 24 24 The total resources of these banks comprise approximately 62.8% of all member banks in this district. The aggregate amount of savings deposits held by selected banks on May 5 were 0.5 per cent great er than on April 7 and 7.4 per cent in excess of the total on May 6, 1936. Interest rates showed little change as con trasted with the preceding thirty days. At down town St. Louis banks rates charged as of the week ending May 15 were as follows: Customers’ prime commercial paper, 1% to 6 per cent; collateral loans, 2 to 6 per cent; interbank loans, 4 per cent; loans secured by warehouse receipts, 1% to 5y2 per cent and cattle loans 5 to 6 per cent. Federal Reserve Operations — Changes in the principal assets and liabilities of this bank appear in the following table: May 21, (In thousands of dollars) 1937 Industrial advances under Sec. 13b...... 7$ '336 Other advances and rediscounts.............. 399 Bills bought (including participations). 112 U. S. securities.......................................... . 111,385 Apr. 21, 1937 ~ 342 206 86 110,236 May 21, 1936 $ 565 2 87 123,200 Total earning assets.............................. . 112,232 110,870 123,854 Total reserves .......................................... . 285,476 Total deposits .......................................... . 213,385 F. R. Notes in circulation...................... .. 177,812 285,227 211,020 179,179 221,159 177,460 160,780 Industrial commitments under Sec. 13b 1,201 1,004 1,835 Ratio of reserve to deposit and F. R. Note liabilities.................. . 73.0% 73.1% 65.4% Following is a complete schedule of rates of this bank for accommodations under the Federal Re serve A ct: (1) Rediscounts and advances to member banks, under Section 13 and 13a............................................................. 2 % per annum (2) Advances to member banks, under Section 10b........... 2J^% per annum (3) Rediscounts, purchases, and advances to member banks, nonmember banks and other financing insti tutions, under Section 13b: (a) On portion for which financing institution is obligated............................................................... 3J^% per annum (b) On remaining portion............................................ 4 % per annum (4) Commitments not exceeding six months to member banks, nonmember banks and other financing insti tutions, to rediscount, purchase, or make advances, under Section 13b............................................................... J^% flat (5) Advances to established industrial or commercial f 4 % to businesses, under Section 13b..................................... ( 5 x % per annum /i (6) Advances to individuals, firms and corporations, including nonmember banks, secured by direct obli gations of the United States, under Section 13........... 4 % per annum Debits to Individual Accounts — The following comparative table of debits to individual accounts reflects spending trends in this district: Apr., (In thousands of dollars) 1937 East St. Louis and Natl. Stock Yards, 111..$ 34,604 El Dorado, Ark..., 5,310 33,132 Evansville, Ind.... Fort Smith, Ark..,.. 12,146 4,868 Greenville, Miss... Helena, Ark.......... 1,766 Little Rock, Ark.,.. 39,031 Louisville, K y..... .. 175,986 Memphis, Tenn..., 130,987 Owensboro, Ky..., 5,395 Pine Bluff, Ark..., 10,726 Quincy, 111............,. 9,343 St. Louis, M o......,. 616,200 Sedalia, M o......... ... 2,081 Springfield, Mo... ,, 16,003 *Texarkana, Ark.... 9,357 Mar., 1937 Apr., 1936 $ 34,819 4,870 33,250 12,339 5,664 1,853 42,976 188,799 149,398 6,407 8,512 8,520 622,600 1,906 16,327 8,276 $ 26,998 4,233 26,214 9,595 3,909 1,308 33,639 149,619 99,535 4,650 7,079 7,150 513,133 1,923 12,834 6,064 Totals........... 1,106,935 1,146,516 907,883 Apr., 1937 comp, with Mar. 1937 Apr. 1936 — 0.6% + 9.0 — 0.4 — 1.6 — 14.1 — 4.7 — 9.2 — 6.8 — 12.3 — 15.8 +26.0 + 9.7 — 1.0 + 9.2 — 2.0 + 13.1 + 28.2 % +25.4 + 26.4 +26.6 +24.5 +35.0 + 16.0 + 17.6 + 31.6 + 16.0 + 51.5 + 16.5 +20.1 + 8.2 +24.7 + 54.3 — 4.5 +21.9 *Includes one bank in Texarkana, Texas, not in Eighth District. Note — Above figures include total debits charged by banks to check ing accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposit accounts, and trust accounts of individuals, firms, corporations and U. S. Government. Charges to accounts of banks, debits in settlement of clearing house balances, payments of cashiers checks, charges to expense and miscel laneous accounts, corrections and similar charges, are not included. (Completed May 24, 1937) Page 7 N A T IO N A L SU M M ARY OF BUSINESS C O N D ITIO N S BY B O ARD OF G O VERN ORS OF F E D E R A L R E S E R V E SYSTEM Production, Employment, and Trade — The Board’s season ally adjusted index of industrial production in April continued at 118 per cent of the 1923-1925 average. Manufacturing production rose further, reflecting increased output of durable goods. Activity at steel mills was at a rate slightly higher than in March and about equal to that in the peak month of 1929. Automobile pro duction continued to expand. In the first three weeks of May output in these industries was maintained at the levels reached at the close of April. Increases in output in April were also re- In April sales at department stores showed little change and mail order sales were also maintained at the March level, while sales at variety stores declined. Commodity Prices — The general level of wholesale commo dity prices, as measured by the index of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, declined from 88.3 per cent of the 1296 average at the beginning of April to 86.9 per cent in the middle of May. Prices of nonferrous metals, steel scrap, cotton, and rubber declined con siderably and there were also decreases in the prices of grains, Index of physical volume of production, adjusted for seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average = 100. By months, January, 1929, through April, 1937. Latest figure April 118. Wednesday figures for reporting member banks in 101 leading cities. September 5, 1934, to May 19, 1937. ported for lumber and plate glass. At textile mills, where output has been at a high level in recent months, there was a slight re duction in activity. At bituminous coal mines output declined sharply following an increase in March, when consumers accumulated stocks of coal in anticipation of a strike. Crude pertoleum output which has risen sharply from November to March, showed further growth in April. Production of most metals also increased. Value of construction contracts awarded, as reported by the F. W. Dodge Corporation, increased more than seasonally from March to April and continued higher than a year ago, reflecting, as in earlier months of the year, a larger volume of residential FACTORY 1929 1930 1931 EM PLOYM EN T AND PAYRO LLS 1932 1933 1934 1935 1936 1937 Indexes of number employed and payrolls, without adjustment for seasonal varia tion, 1923-1925 average = 100. By months, January, 1929, through April, 1937. Indexes compiled by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Latest figures, April, employment 102.2, payrolls 104.8. building and of other privately-financed work. Contracts awarded for publicly-financed construction have been considerably smaller in the first four months of this year than in the corresponding period of 1936. Employment rose further between the middle of March and the middle of April. There was a considerable growth in the number of persons employed in manufacturing and on the rail roads, little change in those employed in the public utility indus tries and in trade, and a decline at bituminous coal mines. At factories the principal increases in employment were reported by the steel, machinery, and automobile industries, while the number employed in the clothing industry declined. Working forces at textile mills were maintained, although a decrease is usual at this season. Factory payrolls increased more than employment, re flecting chiefly further increases in wage rates. Page 8 cotton goods, silk, hides, and chemicals, while prices of shoes and clothing showed further small advances. Since the middle of May prices of hogs and pork have advanced sharply and grain prices have also risen. Bank Credit— Following upon the final increase in reserve requirements, which became effective on May 1, excess reserves of member banks declined from $1,600,000,000 to about $900,000,000, and in the first three weeks of May fluctuated around the new level. Adjustments by banks to the new requirements were reflected in a decrease in interbank balances and in a small increase in bor rowings. The Federal Reserve System in April purchased $96,000,000 of United States Government securities, for the pur pose of easing the adjustment to the new requirements and pre serving orderly conditions in the money market. Wednesday figures of estimated excess reserves for all member banks and for New York City, January 6, 1932, to May 19, 1937. Total loans and investments of reporting member banks showed a small decline from the middle of April through May 19. Holdings of United States Government obligations and other securities showed some decline, which was offset in part by in creases in loans. While domestic interbank and United States Government deposits declined further, balances of foreign banks and other demand and time deposits at reporting member banks increased. Money Rates — The open-market rate on 90-day bankers’ acceptances, which between January and the latter part of March had advanced from 3/16 to 9/16 per cent, was reduced to 1/2 per cent on May 7, and the rate on nine-months T r e a s u r y Bills de clined to .62 per cent on May 24 compared with a high point of .74 per cent on May 3. Other short-term rates have shown little change in recent weeks. Yields on long-term Treasury and other high-grade bonds have declined somewhat.