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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
9.60@11.00

4.90@5.60
6.40@6.55
.1100
8.25@9.55

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.