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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS
MONTHLY REVIEW
OF B U SIN ESS CONDITIONS
IN FEDERAL RESERVE DISTRICT NO. 8
Released for Publication On and After the Afternoon of May 31, 1924.

W I L L I A M M cC. M A R T IN
CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD AND FEDERAL RESERVE AGENT

D

E C L IN IN G tendencies in both the production
and distribution of com m odities were indicated
in a large m ajority of reports covering business
conditions in this district during the past thirty days.
The recession, however, was not attributed to any
unfavorable change in fundamental conditions, but
rather to further emphasis of the policy of ultra con ­
servatism and caution which has obtained in many
quarters during recent months. The demand for goods
continues active and there has been no impairment in
the general purchasing power of the public, but the
disposition am ong consumers is to buy in quantities
sufficient only to fill immediate needs. An almost uni ­
versal com ment am ong wholesalers and jobbers is that
in recent weeks the average size of orders is the small­
est in years. In such lines as dry goods, boots and
shoes, drugs and chemicals and hardware, where here­
tofore the practice has been to buy in large quantities,
piecemeal purchasing is the rule, and more goods are
being shipper by express and parcels post than ever
before.
^
.
.
<
The backward season is given as another reason
for the delayed movement of certain descriptions of
merchandise, notably apparel, farm supplies and sporting goods. There was excellent response to the im­
proved weather in early May, but this was follow ed
by a return of unseasonably low temperatures and
excessive rainfall, which served to deprive the m ove­
ment of a considerable part of its spontaniety. Effects
of the unfavorable wreather have been felt particularly
in the country, w^here sales of seasonal goods have
been below expectations and collections disappointing.
In the large centers of population retail distribution
has been relatively more satisfactory, and both retail­
ers and wholesalers report an improvement in collec­
tions as contrasted with the preceding thirty days.
The slow ing down in distribution and the marked
absence of forward buying were reflected in curtailed
operations on the part of manufacturers. In both basic
and subsidiary industries outputs in April showed a
number of decreases. Production of pig iron and steel
for the country as a whole was smaller, and there was
a decrease in the output of automobiles, coal, lumber,
furniture and textiles. Generally iron and steel mills,
iotindries and machine shops in this district worked
on reduced schedules. Commitments in the matter of
raw material are along the same cautious lines as noted
in finished and semi-finished goods. Uncertainty rela­
tive to the demand for their products and price trends
is causing manufacturers to hold off, and even where
J rice concessions are offered, little interest is maniM e d in future requirements.

farm implements, groceries, furniture, job foundries,
millinery, railroad supplies and stoves.
Increases
were reported in drugs and chemicals, electrical sup­
plies, bakeries, hardware, confections and packing.
The general trend of prices was downward, but
changes during the period under review were not of
a radical character, and on some commodities minor
advances were recorded. Building continued active,
permits issued in the five largest cities of the dis­
trict being the largest on record in point of money
involved. Consumption of electricity in the five chief
cities during April showed slight gains over the same
month in 1923 and March this year.
Taken as a whole the employment situation in this
district developed little change during the period under
review. There was some falling off in the number of
active workers in industrial plants, particularly in the
iron and steel industry and men’s clothing. In the
general total, however, their losses were counterbal­
anced by seasonal gains in employment on farms and
in road building and river work. Throughout the dis­
trict artisans in the building trades are fully employed,
and the number of active workers in that classification
was augmented by the settlement of strikes in certain
crafts. In the South there are scattered complaints
of lack of cotton hands, and a scarcity of help devel­
oped in sections where strawberries are raised in quan­
tities. Settlement of the coal strike in the Southwest
went far to offset the additional idleness in other
coal fields. No wage reductions of consequence were
reported. For the United States as a whole em ploy­
ment in manufacturing industries decreased 2.1 per
cent in April, and pay roll totals decreased 2.5 per cent.
M arketing of grain, with the exception of corn,
decreased slightly in April as compared with the same
month a year ago, and the movement of early fruits
and vegetables was under normal for this season.
Larger receipts ,of corn had a depressing tendency
on values of that cereal, and between April 15 and
May 15 corn futures declined 2 % to 2 ^ c per bushel.
W heat futures, on the other hand, advanced about 3c,
the upturn being in part due to the Government’s
reduced estimate of the winter wheat crop, based on
conditions as of May 1. The demand for good milling
wheat was active, but lower grades were dull, and
there was practically no export demand. The m ove­
ment of live stock was on a fairly liberal scale, and
prices during the early part of the period held quite
strong. Later, however, cattle and lambs declined
slightly. Middling cotton at St. Louis ranged between
29% c and 31c, and closed at 3 0 ^ c on M ay 15 as against
31c on April 15.

.. O f the several lines investigated, decreases in
April sales as contrasted wT
ith a year ago were shown
reporting manufacturers and wholesalers in the
follow ing lin es: B oots and shoes, clothing, dry goods,

Except for a slight improvement in undertone,
due to the diminished movement of tonnage having
served to stabilize the market by eliminating excess
accumulations on track and elsewhere, the fuel situa­




tion has undergone no change. Contracting is more
backward than has been the case at this particular
season for a number o f years. Despite curtailed pro­
duction, offerings are on a liberal scale, and keen
competition exists for all current business. Railroad
buying has fallen off, and the movem ent for domestic
use is confined chiefly to small cars for em ergency pur­
poses. The demand for screenings has been better
than for prepared sizes, but due to lack of demand
for the latter, producers are short of slack. A further
reduction in w orking time at active mines was
reported, and a number of additional pits have closed
for an indefinite period. Leading steam users, parti­
cularly the public utilities companies, are holding off
on filling future requirements, mainly on the theory
that they may obtain better terms later in the year.
By-product coke manufacturers report extreme dull­
ness in the demand for their outputs. Lack of interest
on the part of the domestic trade and curtailment of
operations at foundries and furnaces are the chief
factors affecting their business. The wage dispute
which caused a shutdown of mines in the Southwest
wras settled on May 3 by renewal of the old scale for
three years. Production of soft coal for the country as
a whole for the first 106 w orking days of the calendar
year, or to M ay 3, totaled 169,161,000 net tons, which
compares with 187,097,000 tons for the corresponding
period in 1923 and 152,363,000 tons in 1922. Lack of
demand remains by far the chief factor limiting pro­
duction, and was responsible for losses o f more than
50 per cent of full-time capacity in a large m ajority
of the producing districts.
Freight traffic of the railroads, while still in large
volume, continued to show decreases under the cor­
responding period a year ago. During each week in
April there were losses as compared with the same
weeks in 1923, but large gains as contrasted with
1922. For the week ending May 10 loadings of reven­
ue freight totaled 909,187 cars, against 974,741 for the
corresponding week in 1923, and 767,094 cars in 1922.
The movement of merchandise is holding up relatively
well, but heavy losses were recorded on coal and m is­
cellaneous freight. The Terminal Railway A ssocia­
tion of St. Louis, which handles the interchange of
28 connecting carriers, interchanged 196,111 loads in
April, against 204,656 loads in March and 212,006
loads in April, 1923. Passenger traffic of reporting
roads in A pril showed a decrease o f 4 per cent as com ­
pared with the same month last year.
Total receipts and shipments of tonnage via river
at St. Louis during the first four months of 1924, ac­
cording to the M erchants’ Exchange, were 64,515, as
compared with 47,815 tons during the same period in
1923. Tonnage m oved on the Mississippi River section
of the Federal barge line between St. Louis and New
Orleans amounted to 82,200 tons during April, against
74,117 tons in March and 60,229 tons in April, 1923.
The April traffic was the heaviest for any month since
June, 1923.
Reports relative to collections continue to reflect
rather spotted conditions, both in reference to locality
and lines of business. A s a w hole, however, efficiency
was somewhat better in A pril than during the preced­
ing month. A s was the case earlier in the year, heavy
roads, floods and unseasonable weather interfered with
collections in the rural districts. Retailers in the large
cities report satisfactory returns and the same is true
of the general run of wholesalers. In the coal mining
areas and certain localities affected by specific condi­



tions, payments are backward. Answers to 408 ques­
tionnaires addressed to representative interests in
various lines throughout the district show the fol­
low ing results:
K xcellent

Good

Fair

P oor

29.4%
56.3%
12.6%
April, 1924....... 1.7%
March, 1924 0.0
24.8
58.7
16.5
April, 1923....... 3.8
38.1
51.4
6.7
Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal Reserve
District during April, according to D un’s, numbered
79, involving liabilities of $1,033,327, against 100
defaults with indebtedness of $1,313,655 in March and
80 failures for $2,168,109 in April, 1923.
The per capita circulation of the United States on
Mav 1 was $42.33, against $42.85 on April 1 and
$42^04 on May 1, 1923.
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
Production of automobiles and trucks for the
country as a whole during April fell 2.3 per cent under
the March total, and was 2.5 per cent less than in
April, 1923. Companies reporting direct or through
the Autom obile Chamber of Commerce manufactured
336,968 passenger cars in April, against 348,287 in
March. The output of trucks was 34,977 in April,
which compares with 33,061 in March. Total number
of passenger cars and trucks manufactured during the
first 4 months of 1924, however, totals 1,435,434,
against 1,265,874 during the same period in 1923, a
gain of 13.4 per cent. A ccordin g to reports of 230
dealers scattered through the district, sales of auto­
mobiles in April were 9.5 per cent larger than for
the same month in 1923, and 18 per cent over the
preceding month this year. Business of country deal­
ers continues well up to expectations, despite unfav­
orable weather conditions. The grow ing popularity
of closed cars is given as an important factor in in­
creased sales. Stocks of new cars are reported about
normal for this season, except in the case of the lowest
price makes. The movement of accessories continues
brisk, but no improvement was reported in the recent
dull status of the tire trade. Intensive efforts on the
part of dealers in St. Louis and other cities have re­
sulted in a substantial reduction in the number of
used cars on hand.
Boots and Shoes
Sales of the 11 reporting interests in April were
10.9 per cent less than for the corresponding month
in 1923, but 11.1 per cent in excess of the March total
this year. A s has been the case for a number of
months past, the demand for w om en’s footw ear is
relatively much more active than for men’s shoes, and
all sorts of novelties are m oving well. Comment is
made that the average size of orders is the smallest
in years, and buying is being pursued on extremely
conservative lines. Mail orders are numerous, and
shipments by parcels post and express unusually large.
The outlet through this medium has materially assisted
volume, but the cost of filling such orders is relatively
much higher than on heavy shipments and materially
reduces profits. N o price changes in finished goods
wrere reported. Factory operation was at about 74 per
cent of capacity. The total number of pairs of shoes^
manufactured in this district during April w^as 4. "
per cent less than during the preceding month and
for the country as a whole April production was 3.2
per cent under the March total.

Clothing

Fire-Clay Products

Advance bookings are decidedly scarce, with
prospective buyers asking price concessions that man­
ufacturers say they are unable to grant in the face
of present production costs. Demand for medium and
cheap priced apparel is relatively good, several local
manufacturers of these lines being well sold up, though
not to last year’s level. Scattered advance bookings
in quantity are noted am ong these producers of
cheaper lines, but elsewhere orders for fall delivery
are insignificant. Continued price buying, reporting
firms say, while not seriously cutting into volume
in all cases, has served to reduce profits. One further
factor, the unseasonable weather, has caused post­
ponement o f buying in summer lines, and has already
prompted special sales of some typically summer
items. April sales of the 11 reporting interests were
31.4 per cent under those of the same month a year
ago, but 2.2 per cent above the March, 1924 total.

Current demand for refractories products seems
to reflect particularly well the spotted conditions pre­
vailing elsewhere. Sales to cement producers and glass
manufacturers are holding up well while demand from
the oil industry and iron and steel producers is sag­
ging. The principal interest is centered in numerous
public improvement works, several of them vitrified,
already under way. Contracts for others are pending.
Inquiries since May 1 have been fewer and specifica­
tions smaller. Prices are unchanged. April sales of
the 5 reporting interests were 5.9 per cent in excess of
the same month a year ago and 38.8 per cent above
the March, 1924, total.

Drugs and Chemicals
Sales o f the 11 reporting interests in April ex­
ceeded the total o f the same month in 1923 by 5.2
per cent and were 0.4 per cent larger than in March
this year. Fair activity is reported through the entire
line, except in the case of certain heavy chemicals
used by manufacturers. The m ovement of certain
items which was delayed by unseasonable weather
earlier in the year is now above normal. The call
for insecticides and spraying materials, especially from
the South, is large, and there is also a heavy demand
for live stock remedies. Sales of soda fountain sup­
plies, while in good volume, are reported somewhat
under this time last year.
Dry Goods
Purchasing in this line continues principally on
a hand to mouth basis and centers largely in season­
able items. The incipient improvement in volume
of sales and tone noted during the fair weather of the
first week in M ay was cut short by a return o f low
temperatures and heavy rains. Stocks in the country
are as a rule low, but few replenishments are neces­
sary because of the unfavorable weather condition and
the fact that farmers are preoccupied with planting.
In the cities some retail price reductions have ap­
peared, the idea being to stimulate the movement of
summer goods. Increased curtailment of mill produc­
tion is lessening the pressure of stock goods, and the
strength in spot cotton has resulted in minor advances
on gray goods, sheetings and one or tw o other items.
Otherwise prices were unchanged. April sales of the
11 reporting interests were 9.2 per cent under those of
the same month in 1923 and 17.9 per cent under the
March total this year. W holesale milliners report
April sales as 10.4 per cent under those of the same
month a year ago.
Electrical Supplies
A ctivity in the building industry and m ore favor­
able weather for outdoor w ork by the public utility
companies were given as the chief factors in an in­
crease o f 2.5 per cent in April sales o f the 12 reporting
interests as contrasted with the same month a year
ago. Sales of pole line hardware and copper wire
were reported excellent, and advance business on
electric fans and other seasonal goods has been fully
up to expectations. A further seasonal recession in
demand for radio sets was reported, and sales of auto­
mobile equipment developed a recessionary tendency.




Flour
Production of the 11 leading mills in the district
during April was 311,312 barrels, against 358,055 bar­
rels in March and 297,726 barrels in April, 1923. Con­
tinued dullness in the demand for all grades of flour
is reported by both mills and jobbers. New business
other than in less than car lot quantities is extremely
light, and shipping directions on flour previously pur­
chased are only fair. Dom estic consumers are taking
only enough to carry them from month to month, and
are carrying the smallest reserve stock in years. No
export business with Europe is possible on the bids
made, but in the immediate past inquiries from South
and Central American countries have improved slight­
ly. Mill operation during the period under review
averaged about 64 per cent of capacity. No change
in prices was reported.
Furniture
Sales of the 28 reporting interests during April
were 20.6 per cent less than for the same month in
1923 and 10.3 per cent under the March total this
year. The comment is made that dealers are pur­
chasing only for immediate needs, and there is an
almost entire absence of stock orders. Unfavorable
weather and muddy roads are holding down sales in
the rural districts. Prices showed no change w orthy
of note during the period under review, and manufac­
turers report that production costs are such as to
prevent any concessions at this time. Factory opera­
tion averaged approximately 65 per cent of capacity.
Groceries
Although some improvement is noted in demand
in typically urban sections, increasing idleness in min­
ing districts has served to offset this upturn so that
total volume is just about holding its own. Extremely
unseasonable weather and the consequent lateness o f
garden vegetables has lent a stimulus to demand for
canned goods, which are m oving in good volume for
this time of year. Coffee continues in good demand,
with prices firm on all grades. Sugar is dull with
prices near the low o f the year. Business in rural sec­
tions, while slightly better than a month ago, is afected b y the disinclination of farmers to com e to town,
due to the planting season. April sales of 21 reporting
firms were 0.5 per cent under the same month last
year, and 4.6 per cent under the March, 1924 total.
April sales of reporting candy manufacturers were
7.8 per cent in excess of those of April, 1923.
Hardware
April sales of the 12 reporting interests were 6.9
per cent less than for the corresponding month in
1923, but 4.9 per cent in excess of the March total
this year. A s has been the case for the past several

months, builders’ hardware continues the most active
section of the line. Some improvement in the demand
for hand implements and wire products was reported,
but generally the movement of farm supplies is below
normal for this season.
Iron and Steel Products
The demand for both finished and semi-finished
materials sustained a further slow ing down during
the period under review. Shipments by mills and
foundries were fairly well sustained, but the business
represented was largely old orders, new bookings
being in considerably 3maller volum e than work
turned out. The dullness was accompanied by a gen­
erally easier price trend, with a number of specific
reductions recorded. Purchasing by the railroads was
confined largely to materials of which they are in
immediate need, and there was a recession in takings
of all varieties of materials by the autom otive indus­
try. Autom obile sheets were lower, while reductions
were made in prices of black sheets, rivets, wire, nails
and some other items. Oil country pipe and supplies
for the oil fields generally are not m oving in as large
volume as heretofore, and buying by the coal mining
industry is at the lowest ebb noted in many months.
Fabricators of structural iron and steel report a con ­
tinued fair demand for their wares, but specifications
are mainly on small jobs, few new large undertakings
being initiated. There was a sharp decrease in pro­
duction of both pig iron and steel ingots during April
as compared with March. Purchasing of pig iron was
the slowest in more than a year, and tonnages taken
were mainly for prompt shipment, no interest what­
ever being manifested in second half requirements.
Factories specializing in grey castings report a dearth
of new orders, and a number of plants have cut down
their operations to three to four days per week. A d d i­
tional open hearth furnaces have been blown out at
the steel mills, and producers report greater difficulty
in rounding out their rolling schedules.
Specialty
makers, particularly the stove interests, report that
ordering is on an extremely conservative basis, with
advance sales the smallest at this particular season
in years. Uncertainty relative to prices and the general
policy of buying for immediate needs only are men­
tioned as the chief factors in the present lull. Quotably
pig iron prices were unchanged, but concessions under
current asking prices were obtainable where round
tonnages were involved. There was a further decline
in prices of scrap iron and steel, with virtually all
grades affected by the weakness. April sales of stove
manufacturers, 7 reporting, were 18.3 per cent under
the same month in 1923 and 10.6 per cent less than the
March total this year; railway supplies, 5 interests
reporting, decreased 30.3 per cent under April, 1923,
but gained 16 per cent over March this year; farm
implement makers, 6 reporting, decreased 23.6 per
cent under April, 1923, and 17 per cent under March
this year; job foundries, 5 reporting, decreased 19.9
per cent under April, 1923, and 14.3 per cent under
March this y e a r; manufacturers of boilers, stacks,
elevators, radiators and miscellaneous products, 12
interests reporting, decreased 31.5 per cent under April,
1923, and 17.6 per cent under March this year.
Lumber
W hile the actual movement of stock from mills
and from retail yards in the larger centers of the
district has been very heavy the past thirty days,
replenishing demand has been disproportionately light.
The continued decline in prices provides the explana­



tion for present under-buying for retail needs. Indus­
trial takings of lumber have also further decreased,
but the decline here is largely of seasonal occurrence,
and except as to the automotive industry and possibly
one or two other lines of production, the lessened buy­
ing is not regarded with any misgivings. Prices of
lumber have now reached levels in the dow nw ard1
movement which, in the case of the major softw oods
especially, are close around or below production costs.
Douglas fir is noticeably below in many items.
Consumption of Electricity
Consumption of electricity for industrial power
purposes is well maintained around the recent high
levels. Decreases noted in tw o of the five reporting
centers were more than offset by augmented consum p­
tion in the three remaining cities. The decline in St.
Louis is attributable to reduced requirements of steel
and automobile manufacturers exclusively. In three
of the five centers, unseasonable weather has reduced
the load taken by ice manufacturers as compared with
the same month a year ago, and decreases are also
shown by coal mines and furniture manufacturers. In
Louisville, however, large building operations have
resulted in greater consumption at w oodw orking
plants, with the result that the increase there is due
to these expansions and to heavier loads being taken
by ice and cold storage plants. Detailed figures follow :
No. of
April,
March,
custom1924
1924
ers
*K.W.H. *K.W.H.
Evansville ....40
950
1,023
Little Rock....11
752
712
Louisville ....67
4,070
3,203
1,340
1,272
11,915
12,148

Apr. 1924
comp, to
Mar. 1924
— 7.1%
+ 5.6
+27.1
+ 5.3
— 1.9

Totals....224
19,027
18,358
*In thousands (000 omitted).

+ 3.6

April, Apr. 1924
1923
comp, to
*K.W.H. Apr. 1923
1,039
— 8.5%
+ 19.0
632
3,262
+24.8
+ 14.4
1,171
— 4.1
12,419
18,523

+ 2.7

The follow ing figures, compiled by the Depart­
ment of Interior, give kilowatt production ior both
lighting and industrial purposes for the entire cou n try :
1924
By water power
January ..........................1,675,393,000
February ........................ 1,563,040,000
March ..............................1,711,104,000

By fuels
3,514,071,000
3,274,118,000
2,271,837,000

Totals
5,189,464,000
4,837,158,000
4,982,941,000

R E T A IL
Unseasonable weather has occasioned a marked
depression in the demand for typically summer goods,
particularly in the country. The movement of men’s
summer suits, underwear, shirts, straw hats, etc., has
been disappointing, and sales of men’s shoes continue
slightly below normal. Demand for w om en’s fancy
shoes and children’s footwear is holding up well.
Reports from all sections of the district indicate slug­
gishness in the movement of the entire line of w om en’s
apparel, particularly the lighter w eight garments.
Summer millinery has been adversely affected by the
cool weather, and no change is noted in the recent
dull conditions in hosiery. Some interest is noted in
fancy dress goods, both silk and cotton, and sport
clothes for men and women are in relatively better
demand than other items of apparel. Except in the
case of cheap novelty goods, the jew elry line contin­
ues quiet, with the demand for gems and high priced
articles especially dull. Cold, wet weather has held
down the movement of sporting gfoods generally,
though a good demand is reported for golf and camp
supplies.
Cutlery, shelf hardware and building hardware
and tools are reported fairly active, but the late sea­
son has retarded the movement of hand implements,

and garden and farm supplies. Considerable interest
is manifested in washing machines and other house­
hold electrical appliances, but sales of fans are back­
ward, and the usual seasonal recession in sales of radio
sets is noted. Floor coverings and cheaper furniture
items are fairly active, but the general line of furniture
continues slow. In the immediate past there has been
considerable effort to move summer goods through
medium o f special sales and price concessions.
April was a somewhat better month than May, as
compared with a year ago, but this is partly due to
the fact that m ost 1923 Easter buying came during
March, whereas this year it was in the following
month. A pril sales of 3 interests operating 1,491 chain
grocery stores in the district exceeded those of the
same month a year ago by 8.9 per cent and a fair
increase is indicated for May. April sales of the 21
largest department stores in the district were 2.6 per
cent in excess of those of April, 1923, and dollar sales
for the year to date show no change as compared with
the same period a year ago, although the price level is
lower, indicating the movement of a slightly larger
volume. Stocks are everywhere light.
Detailed department store figures fo llo w :
Net sales comparisons
Stocks on hand
April, 1924 Four months ending April 30, 1924
comp, to
April 30, 1924, to
comp, to
April, 1923 same period, 1923 April 30, 1923
— 1.0%
— 9.0%
Evansville .....+12.0%
Little Rock.....—- 3.8
— 2.1
— 1.8
+ 0 .7
+ 2 .5
Louisville .......+ 6.3
Memphis .......— 1.9
— 3.1
+ 0.2
Quincy ...........+16.6
— 1.7
+ 0.6
+ 1.4
+ 6.0
St. Louis.........+ 3.4
8th District....+ 2.6
0.0
+ 3.3
Entire U. S....+ 9.9
+ 4.5
+ 5.4

Annual rate of
stock turnover
For 4 months
ending
April 30, 1924
1.73
2.21
2.68
2.24
2.13
3.11
2.69
2.96

A G R IC U L T U R E
W eather conditions beginning the latter part of
April were more favorable for growth and develop­
ment of crops, and generally through the district
agricultural prospects have improved during the past
thirty days. A s a rule things are still backward, due
to protracted cool weather and excessive precipitation
in many sections. Despite this handicap, however,
farmers have accomplished a large amount of work,
plowing, planting and cultivation being much nearer
com pletion now than was thought possible for this
date earlier in the season. W ith the possible excep­
tion of oats and tw o or three minor products, seeding
of which was hampered by unfavorable conditions
earlier in the spring, normal acreages of spring-sown
crops are indicated.
A ccordin g to the M ay 1 report of the U. S. Depart­
ment of Agriculture, winter wheat acreage abandon­
ment is one of the w orst in years, particularly in
states east of the Mississippi River. Losses range
from 5 per cent in Arkansas to 25 per cent in Kentucky
and 50 per cent in Mississippi. In Illinois, the chief
wheat State of the district, the abandonment amounted
to 17 per cent. The condition of the grow ing crop is
also reported low, every State in the district being
under the 10-year average for M ay 1. Since the com ­
pilation of the Department's data, however, vastly
improved weather has prevailed, and except where
complete destruction has been wrought, much of the
lost ground may be retrieved before harvest. The
indicated winter wheat output for the country as a
whole is 553,013,000 bushels, the smallest since 1917,
and com paring with 572,340,000 bushels harvested
in 1923.



W inter W heat
The U. S. Department of Agriculture, in its report
as of May 1, 1924, gives the condition of winter wheat
as follows I
Forecast
*Har-

Per
1924
vested
*Acres Condition May 1
4
*
Production produc- Farm price
cent remaining
%
Apr. 15
Ten from May 1 tion
aban­ to be har1923
1924 1923
doned vested 1924 1923 yr.av. condition
.....1
■
'
'
cents cents
bu.
bu.
573
106
122
90
770
Arkansas .. 5.0
81
59
86
100
118
33,950
60,534
Illinois ....17.0
2,425
70
81
84
124
100
34,188
Indiana . . . . 9.0
1,845
78
84
25,904
78
112
131
3,743
7,688
Kentucky 25.0
434
69
86
88
28
60
Mississippi 50.0
84
86
2
83
100
114
24,027
37,882
Missouri . . 7.0
2,069
79
86
87
134
122
2,620
4,508
Tennessee 14.0
319
74
88
87
U. S........ 7.6
36,898
84.8 80.1 86.3 553,013
572,340
95.8 108.4
*In thousands (000 omitted).

Corn planting was in full swing, and in the South
has been completed, with some fields where the plant
is up having received first cultivation. In the more
northern stretches of the district work is being pushed
as weather will permit, and it is expected that seed­
ing will be finished by the second week in June.
Scattered reports indicate acreages of corn about equal
to last year, with some small increases in the South.
Stocks of old corn in farmers’ hands are generally light.
The outlook for fruits is in the main excellent.
The peach crop has been damaged in certain sections
and some complaints are received relative to apples,
but prospects for cherries, plums, and ground fruits
are uniformly good. Notable progress was made in the
planting of commercial crops of vegetables which
has been delayed and although the season is late,
ample time remains for their cultivation.
Pastures, though late, are in the main in as good
condition as at this time last season, but in many
sections are below tw o years ago and the 10-year
average. The condition of live stock is slightly below
the average for this season, due in part to shortage of
forage, the severe winter and poor quality of feed in
many sections. M ortality among sheep, cattle and
swine is reported slightly above the average.
Live Stock M ovem ent
Receipts and shipments of live stock at St. Louis,
as reported by the National Stock Yards, were as
fo llo w s:

*
•Receipts

April
1924
...........388
Hogs
Horses! and Mules..........
Sheep
........... 26
*In thousands (000 omitted).

March
1924
'"6<r
388
4
19

April
1923
393
6
20

* Shipments
April March April
1924 1923
1924
36
38
47
268
265
217
3
5
7
17
12
8

The supply of farm labor is reported generally
below normal, but demand is also somewhat less than
normal, and in a few sections supply is about equal
to requirements. A temporary shortage o f help was
reported in sections where the strawberry crop was
being picked.
A ctive preparations for planting this year's tobac­
co crop are in progress. Due to cool weather, plants
in the beds are not as large as usual at this season.
Indications point to a reduction in acreage of both
burlev and dark tobacco by the market association
farmers, but this reduction may be offset by increased
efforts on the part of independent growers. A number
of planters in southern Kentucky have signified their
intention to reduce tobacco acreages and experiment
in the grow ing of cotton.
During the past few weeks advantage has been
taken of every period of seasonable weather to com ­
plete deliveries of the 1923 tobacco crop. T he greatest
percentage of this crop is outstanding in the dark
fired district. Market conditions continue auspicious
and the lower grades are being readily taken at the

highest prices of the season. The proportion of good
and fine tobacco was relatively small in the 1923 crop,
and these grades are bringing high prices.
Virtually all of the old crop of rough rice has been
marketed by producers, and planting of the new crop
is well under way. Acreages equal to last year are
generally indicated in the chief grow ing sections, but
in some counties quite sharp increases are reported.
Due to the excellent market and high prices for rice
in recent months, farmers are making every effort to
put in their crops in good condition, particular atten­
tion being given to selection of seed and to cultivation.
The demand for clean rice continues strong, at prices
unchanged from thirty days ago.
Interest in cotton centers in the new crop prepara­
tion and progress. W eather conditions have not been
uniformly favorable for seeding and growth, and in
some sections excessive rains have necessitated re­
planting of limited areas. The amount of fertilizers
being used is larger than last year, and quality is bet­
ter. Soil conditions are mainly excellent and some of
the cotton planted is up to a good stand. In southern
Missouri and sections of Kentucky and Tennessee,
where cotton raising is a relatively new venture, con­
siderably larger acreages will be planted this year
than last.
Commodity Movement
Receipts and shipments o f important commodities
at St. Louis, as reported by the Merchants’ Exchange,
were as fo llo w s :
April
1924
Beef, lbs......................
379
Com, bu...................... 3,587
Flour, bbls..................
381
Hides, lbs.................... 5,234
Lard, lbs...................... 6,567
257
Lead, pigs..................
Lumber, cars..............
22
Oats, bu...................... 2,870
Pork, lbs...................... 20,323
Wheat, bu.................... 1,481
Zinc, slabs..................
239
*In thousands (000 omitted).

♦Receipts
Maich
April
1924
1923
150
861
2,863
2,180
451
404
7,933
5,597
7,198
5,595
304
239
20
21
2,670
2,824
21,420
18,350
1,656
2,024
329
361

*Shipments_______
April
March
April
1924
1924
1923
21,643
23,351
21,780
2,054
2,188
1,880
421
515
544
6,738
11,207
9,601
11,216
13,109
13,417
202
182
136
14
13
16
2,317
2,476
2,853
28,861
31,131
30,104
1,393
1,651
2,084
217
344
219

Commodity Prices
Range of prices on typical products in the St.
Louis market between A pril 15, 1924, and May 15,
1924, with closing quotations on the latter date, and
on May 15, 1923:
________ close_________
Wheat
High
May ................ ....Per bu.$1.04^
July ................
1.065*
“
September .....
1.0 754
“
No. 2 red winter..
a 1.15 54
No. 2 hard.....
1.08
Corn
«
May ................
.80
*
*
.81
July ................
“
September .....
.7954
No. 2................
.7954
“
No. 2 white.....
.82
Oats
May ................
.4954
“
No. 2 white.....
.5154
T luur
xT
* lrilir*
Soft patent.....
bbl. 6.50
“
Spring patent....
6.50
Middling cotton.... ....per lb.
.31
Hogs on hoof.....
7.75

Low May 15, 1924
May 15, 1923
$1.17
$1,015*
$1.0454
1 3/
.15 s
1.06§^
1.0254
1.032*
1.065*
1.125*
$1.11 @ 1.13
1.39
1.08
1.21
1.07
1.04
.7554
.76
.75
.7654
.7854

.7554
.7654
.7554
.76% @ .77
.80 @ .81
$ .85 @

.48
.4854
•4954 .5054 @ -5054
5.25
5.25
5.75
6.20
*29^4
5.00 5.00

@ 6.50

@ 6.40
.3054
@ 7.65

.8354
.815*
.7854
.83
.8554

.4454
.46 @ .4654
6.00 @ 7.00
6.30 @ 6.65
.26
5.25 @ 8.10

B U IL D IN G
J.II j J U l I l l U I V c lIU C , p c i m i i s

1 5S U C U 111 U IC I1 V C lc llg C S L

cities of the district for new construction during April
exceeded all preceding records. A s compared with
March this year the total was 18.1 per cent larger,
while a gain of 26.5 per cent was recorded over April,
1923. Numerically, April permits were the largest for
any month this year. T h e largest increase in amount
was shown in Louisville, where several large con­
struction projects were initiated. Generally through
the district building continued active during the
period under review. A feature of the activity was
the large number of small homes, chiefly of the bunga­



low type, being erected in the smaller towns and
suburbs of the large cities. The April lists, however,
contained a fair proportion of business structures,
theatres, hotels and apartment houses. Manufacturers
of building materials report a continued brisk demand
for their goods. Generally prices were unchanged,
but minor reductions in reinforcing steel and lumber
resulted in slight lowering of the average price of all
building materials. Road construction work in all
States of the district is being pushed under generally
favorable weather and labor conditions. Production
of portland cement for the country as a whole during
April totaled 11,726,000 barrels, the highest figure this
year and comparing with 10,370,000 barrels in March
and 11,359,000 barrels in April, 1923.
Building figures for April fo llo w :

Evansville .
Little Rock..
Louisville .
Memphis .....
St. Loui

New construction
*Cost
Permits
1924
1923
1924
1923
‘ 200
' 142 ' $ 325
$ 940
109
153
338
460
512
405
4,558
1,443
555
469
1,850
1,393
[,053 • 970
2,431
3,276

April totals....2,429
1,429 2,139
$9,502
$7,512
March totals..2,057
2,057
1,797
7,725
8,047
Feb. tot;
1,383
1,092
5,329
5,783
*In thousands of dollars (000 omitted).

Repairs, etc.
*tost
Permits
1924 1923 1924
1923
’ 283
128
$ 67
$ 29
111
131
56
51
196
215
102
123
152
101
65
37
721
635
379
615
1,463 1,210
1,053
949
651
652

$669
661
673

$855
918
746

Building and Loan Associations
Unprecedented building activity and the general
disposition to save are reflected in the steady expan­
sion of building and loan associations during the past
three years. In six States of this district their com ­
bined resources, on the last reporting date in 1923,
were 17.8 per cent greater than in the preceding year
and 37.3 per cent in excess of the 1921 total.
Detailed figures fo llo w :
Arkansas

....... . . . .
....
....
Kentucky ....... ....
Missouri ....... ....
Tennessee ..... ....

No. of Associations
1923
1922
1921
“T?
T 7
54
771
739
710
376
369
372
140
121
118
201
190
224
14
12
11

1,497
Totals....... ...1,582
*In thousands (000 omitted).

1,455

1923
$ 29,377
232,093
167,943
55,000
75,376
3,877

*Resources
1922
$ 2^,049
201,928
140,945
46,429
60,498
3,473

1921
$ 21,500
174,360
121.595
40,092
49,769
3,285

$563,666

$478,322

$410,601

F IN A N C IA L
A slight slow ing down in the demand for funds
from general commercial and industrial sources and
lower trend in interest rates were the principal fac­
tors in the banking and financial situation during the
period under review. There was a rather sharp reduc­
tion in the volume of borrow ing by member banks
from the Federal Reserve Bank, but total loans of the
member banks at the middle of M ay were somewhat
larger than at the corresponding time in April. D epos­
its showed only minor variations as contrasted with
the preceding thirty days. Some improvement is noted
in the demand for m oney in the country for agricultur­
al purposes, particularly in the South, where cotton
planting is nearing completion. Banks specializing
in live stock loans report a continued active demand
from that source. Fair liquidation of a scattered char­
acter has taken place, with settlements in the tobacco
areas reported very satisfactory. Marketing o f early
fruits and vegetables has been delayed by unseason­
able weather, and the demand for financing those
operations is under normal for this time of year.
There was a further reduction in credits based on
cereals, particularly corn, which has been m oving to
market in larger volum e than heretofore. Between
April 15 and May 15 accommodations granted by this
institution to member banks decreased $1,002,105, and
Federal reserve note circulation decreased $1,875,000.

Commercial Paper
Sales of reporting brokers in April were 18.4 per
cent under the same month in 1923 and 37.9 per cent
under the March total this year. The decrease is
cribed to the lower rate and the fact that generally
*
wr inventories are resulting in smaller financial
requirements by both manufacturers and wholesalers.
Purchasing by country banks is relatively light, but
a plethora of funds in city banks has had a tendency
to increase buying by the latter class of financial insti­
tutions. Offerings have been in fair volume, but choice
names are scarce and bear the minor figure of the rate
differential. Some improvement has taken place in
the demand during the past tw o weeks, and sales dur­
ing the first half of M ay were slightly in excess of the
corresponding period a year ago. Rates range from
4% to 4 /2 per cent as compared with 4 /2 to 4j4 per
J
J
cent during the preceding thirty days.
Savings Deposits
N um ber of
banks
reporting
Evansville .... 4
L ittle R ock.. 5
Louisville .... 7
M em phis ......t4
St. L o u is ..... 12

A m ount of savings deposits
A pril 2,
M ay 2,
M ay 7,
1924
1924
1923
$ 9,069
$ 9,053
$ 8,964
7,620
7,625
7,233
26,106
26,372
23,221
18,225
16,210
18,826
75,669
75,224
71,292

T otals.... t32
$137,545
*In thousands (000 om itted ),
tD ecrease due to consolidation.

$136,244

M ay 1924
com p, to
A pr. 1924

M ay 1924
comp, to
May 1923

*— 0.2%
+ 0.1
-J 1.0
-

+ 1.0%

+

0.6

+ 5.4
+ 13.6
+ 16.1
6.1

+

1.0

+

+

3.3

+

T otals..

,...$1,040,183

$ 43,048
12,689
30,414
10,980
3,200
4,105
53,820
142,998
116,150
5,790
11,563
632,004
*13,352

+ 16.8%
6.6
+ 0.5

+

0.1

—

__ 2.2
— 7.G
1.0
+ 4.3
— 1.7
— 5.1
— 2.7
— 3.1
+ 7.7
— 42.0

+

— 1.4

$1,054,473

— 9.9%

—4 .1
1

—

12.1

—
—
—
+
+
+
—
—

5.6
5.9
3.5
1.5
8.7
2.9
9.6
10.3

—

6.2

— 4.1

*In thousands (000 om itted ).

Condition of Banks
Changes in the condition of banks in this district
are reflected in the follow ing statement showing prin­
cipal resources and liabilities of reporting member
banks in Evansville, Little Rock, Louisville, Memphis,
and St. L o u is :
*M ay 14,
1924
..
t34
L oans and discounts (incl. rediscounts)
Secured b y U. S. G o v ’ t obligations......
Secured b y other stocks and b onds.....
A ll other loans and discounts........... .......

*A pr. 16, *M ay 16,
1923
1924
f 35
36

..$ 9,199
.. 147,231
.. 312,642

$

..$469,072
T otal loans and discounts................... ......................$469,072
Investm ents
.. 14,810
U . S. Pre-w ar bonds....................................
. 22,361
L iberty bonds.................................................
4,378
T reasury bonds...............................................
.. 14,111
3,313
Indebtedness..
Certificates of
.. 92,049
O ther securit

9,457
145,491
315,592

$ 15,018
135,562
308,225

$470,540

$458,805

14,981
24,193
4,371
14,748
3,995
89,745

15,332
21,969
9,068
29,667
5,512
86,864

$151,022 $152,033 $168,412
T otal investm ents...........................
43,019
41,089
38,597
R eserve balance with F. R. ba
7,484
7,676
8,036
Cash in vault.................................
360,215
358,761
360,552
N et demand deposits....................
200,061
201,493
182,472
T im e deposits.................................
5,324
4,222
20,154
G overnm ent deposits....................
Bills payable and rediscounts w ith
f e d e r a l reserve bank
1,600
5,257
7,873
Secured b y U . S. G ov’ t o
..
4,656
9,648
10,089
A ll other....................................
*In thousands (000 om itted ),
f D ecrease due to consolidation, Total resources of these 34 banks comprise
approxim ately 54 per cent of the resources of all m em ber banks in the
district.




*M ay 14,
1924
Gold with Federal R eserve A g e n t............ ....$ 63,685
Gold redemption fund with U . S. Treasury
2,426

*April 16,
1924
$ 64,213
3,187

Gold held exclusively against F. R . notes....$ 66,111
Gold settlement fund with F. R . Board.... .... 22,127
7,636
Gold and gold certificates held................... ....

$ 67,400
15,085
6,903

$ 62,607
15,818
3,512

Total gold reserves..................................... ....$ 95,874
Reserves other than g o ld .............................. .... 14,078

$ 89,388
14,228

$ 81,937
17,738

reserves................................................ ....$109,952

$103,616
3,934

$ 99,675
4,580

6,963
17,086

10,906
21,438

15,026
17,497

T otal bills discounted............................ $ 24,049
3,418
Bills bought in open m arket....................... ....
U. S. Governm ent secu rities:

$ 32,344
5,183

$ 32,523
4,580

Total

Bills d iscou n ted :
Secured by U. S. Governm ent obligations
Other bills discounted................................

— —

Certificates of

5,136
1,830

Total U. S. Governm ent securities... .... $

6,966

6,150
8,728
2,555

-------------

-

5,136
1,830

indebtedness.....................

*M ay 16,
1923
$ 59,752
2,855

6,966

$ 17,433

$ 44,493
40,263
1,790
151

$ 61,114
37,731
948
301

R E S O U R C E S ...................... .... $187,596

$194,247

$204,349

$ 66,896

$ 76,961

69,283
1,681
749

71,307
2,280
465

67,145
4,237
491

$ 71,713
34,685
5,075
10,072
720

$ 74,052
37,475
5,065
10,072
687

$ 71,873
39,945
4,932
9,665
973

T O T A L L I A B I L I T I E S .................... , .,$187,596
M E M O — Contingent liability on bills
1,260
purchased for foreign correspondents...
Ratio of total reserves to deposit and
80.2%
F. R . note liabilities com bined,...,......
* ln thousands (000 om itted).

$194,247

$204,349

$

8.4

*F or four weeks ending
M ay 1924 May 1924
A pr. 16,
M ay 14,
M ay 16, com p, to comp, to
1924
Apr. 1924 M ay 1923
1924
1923
$ 33,222
7,011
26,588
10,374
3,080
4,287
54.118
148,975
121,617
5,513
10,657
611,965
3,792
13,274

R E SO U R C E S

Total earning assets............................... .... $ 34,433
37,200
U ncollected item s............................................
1,898
Bank prem ises......................................... .........
141
All other resources..........................................

$126,920

Debits to Individual A ccounts

E. St. L ouis and
N a t’ l. Stock Yards, 111..$ 38,787
El D orado, A r k ........... .
7.473
Evansville, In d ................. 26,721
F ort Smith, A r k ..............
10.362
3,012
G r r r - ’'iHe, M iss..............
H e h * ^ , A rk .....................
3,963
Little R ock , A rk ............
54,635
L ouisville, K y ................... 155,373
M em phis, Term ................ 119,527
O w ensboro, K y ..............
5,234
Q u in cy, III.........................
10,367
St. L ouis, M o ................... 592,947
Scdalia, M o .......................
4,083
7,699
Springfield, M o ..............

Federal Reserve Operations
During April the Federal Reserve Bank of St.
Louis discounted for 275 of its 633 member banks,
which compares with 261 of its 631 member banks
accommodated in March. The discount rate of this
bank remains unchanged at 4 /2 per cent.
J
Changes in the assets and liabilities of the Fed­
eral Reserve Bank of St. Louis since a month ago
and last year are shown in the follow ing statem ent:

TOTAL

L IA B IL IT IE S
F. R. N otes in actual circulation.............
Deposits :
M em ber banks-reserve accou nt.............
Other deposits...............................................
Total deposits..........................................
Deferred availability item s...........................

,,$ 65,331
,

850
73.5%

1,263
67.0%

C O S T O F L IV IN G
Cost of living in the United States on April 15,
1924, had decreased nine-tenths of one per cent from
the level of March 15, 1924, according to the National
Industrial Conference Board. The most important
changes within that period were decreases of 2.1 per
cent in food prices and 3.2 per cent in fuel prices.
Between July, 1920, when the peak of the rise in the
cost of living since 1914 was reached, and April, 1924,
the cost of living decreased 20.9 per cent. The increase
since July, 1914, was 61.8 per cent.
The follow ing table shows detailed changes:
Percentage of decrease
Percentage o f increase
Relative
in the cost of living
in the cost of living
im por­
on A pril
15, 1924,
above average prices
tance
from average prices in
in July, 1914, to
—
in
Item
April
July
M arch
M arch
July
family
1920
1924
1924
1924
1920.
budget
2.1
35.6
41
44
H
T9
Food* ................ 43.1
17.1**
0.0
85
85
58
Shelter ............... 17.7
0.7*'
33.7
77
76
166
Clothing ............ 13.2
1.2**
2.3
68
72
66
Fuel and Light 5.6
(5 .7 )
(3 .2 )
(8 1 )
(8 7)
(9 2 )
(F u e l) .......... (3 .7 )
0.0
(2 3 .4 )* *
(4 2)
(4 2 )
(1 5 )
(L ig h t) ........ (1 .9 )
0.0
5.9
74
74
85
Sundries .......... 20.4
W eighted average
0.9
61.8
20.9
83.2
104.5
of all items....100.0
F ood price changes are from the U nited States Bureau of L abor Statistics.

The purchasing value of the dollar based on the
cost of living in April, 1924, was 61.8 cents as con­
trasted with one dollar in July, 1914.
(Compiled May 24, 1924)

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
Production
The Federal Reserve Board’s index of production in basic
industries, adjusted to allow for seasonal variations, declined
2 per cent in April. Declines were particularly large in the
iron and steel, coal and woolen industries. Mill consumption
of cotton, on the other hand, showed less than the usual sea­
sonal reduction between March and April. Factory employ­
ment declined 2 per cent in April owing chiefly to large reduc­
tion of forces at textile and clothing establishments.
Contract awards for new buildings reached a higher
value than in March and were also larger than a year ago.

Latest figure, April— 114.
Value of building permits granted, however, declined and was
smaller than in the corresponding month of 1923.
The Department of Agriculture’s estimates on May 1 of
yields of winter wheat and rye are somewhat above the fore­
casts made in April. The acreage of winter wheat is estimated
at 7 per cent less than last year.

Trade

Railroad shipments, which since the middle of March have
been smaller than last year, were 3 per cent less in April than
a year ago. Shipments of coal were much below last year,
while loadings of merchandise and miscellaneous freight were
higher.
Wholesale trade in April was in about the same volume
as during the preceding month and as in April, 1923. Sales
of dry goods and hardware were smaller than a year ago, while
sales of drugs and shoes showed some increase.
Department store sales were considerably larger in April
than in March, partly owing to the unusually late Easter.
Total sales for the two months were 2 per cent greater than
in the corresponding period of 1923. Merchandise stocks at
department stores showed less than the usual seasonal increase
in April, but were at a higher level than a year ago.




Prices
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ index, prices
declined 1 per cent during April and reached the iowest point
since May, 1922. Farm products, however, advanced 2 per
cent in April. Metals and foods showed substantial ^ u c t io f y
Prices of clothing, fuel and chemicals also declined,
prices of building materials and house furnishings, remained
unchanged.
During the first half of May, quotations on cotton, wheat,
flour and hogs increased, while prices of sugar, silk, wool and
metals declined.

Latest figure, April=148.
Bank Credit
During the five w eek period ending May 14, the volume of
T
borrowing for commercial purposes at member banks in lead­
ing cities declined somewhat from the high level reached
early in April. There were increases, however, in loaiisfou
stocks and bonds and in investments in securities, so that
the total of all loans and investments at the middle of May
was higher than a month previous, and in larger volume than
at any time in more than three years.
Volume of borrowing by member banks at Federal reserve
banks declined further during the last week of April and in
May. while holdings of securities bought in the open market
increased slightly. Total earning assets declined to $795,000,000
on May 21, the lowest figure since the autumn of 1917.
Further easing of money conditions during the last week
of April and the first three weeks of May was reflected in a
continued rise of the price of government securities, in a
reduction from Ay2 to 4% per cent in the rate for prime com­
mercial paper, and a decline in the rate for bankers’ acceptances
from 4 to 3 per cent. On May 1 the discount rate of the
Federal Reserve Bank of New York was reduced from 4 ^
to 4 per cent.

Latest figure, May 21,