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FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF ST. LOUIS
MONTHLY REVIEW
OF BUSINESS CONDITIONS IN
EIGHTH DISTRICT
Released for Publication On and After the Afternoon of May 31, 1927
WILLIAM McC. MARTIN
Chairman of the Board and Federal Reserve Agent

U SIN E SS in this district during the past
thirty days has developed declining tenden­
cies as contrasted with earlier months this
year, and in a large majority of the lines investi­
gated, the volume of sales fell below that of the
corresponding period last year. The chief influenc­
ing factors in the decreased activity were the un­
precedented flood conditions along the Mississippi
River and its tributaries and the unseasonable
weather. L ow temperatures and almost continuous
heavy rains held down the distribution of merchan­
dise of all descriptions, but more particularly sea­
sonal goods. Throughout the important trade terri­
tory directly affected by the overflows great proper­
ty damage was suffered, and agricultural operations
were brought to a standstill or seriously delayed.
The result has been a substantial reduction of pur­
chasing power in these areas and the development
of a policy or extreme caution on the part of mer­
chants in the matter of commitments. In turn these
conditions have reacted on manufacturers, who in
many instances have revised their operating sched­
ules in preparation for any adverse change which
may occur in the demand for their products.

B

The Eighth Federal Reserve District, which
includes within its borders the entire state of Arkan­
sas, all but the western tier of counties of Missouri,
southern Illinois, western Kentucky, Tennessee and
northwestern Mississippi, was more seriously af­
fected by the floods than any other general area.
This territory is traversed by the Mississippi River
and its confluents, and on their borders is situated
much of its productive agricultural land. Early
estimates place the area overflowed at from 7,000
to 8,000 square miles, of which above 4,500,000
acres consisted of arable land. Greatest damage oc­
curred in Arkansas and next in order, Mississippi.
In the former state inundation was general along
the rivers, and the unusually heavy rains caused
small creeks to overflow their banks and created




near-flood conditions in sections where there are
no rivers or small streams.
A t the crest periods of the flood communica­
tions were disrupted to a considerable extent, and
in some sections delays are still being experienced
in delivery of commodities. Generally, however,
this phase of the situation has passed, and with
recession of the waters normal conditions are being
rapidly restored. Due to the continued rains very
little progress has been made in preparation of the
soil for planting crops and repairing building and
farm equipment damaged by high water. Farm
work is from four to six weeks behind the usual
seasonal schedule, and sunshine is badly needed in
order that the deficiency in this respect be made up.
Activities at the large industrial centers exhib­
ited more unevenness and irregularity than in a
number of months. W holesalers dealing in lines
for ordinary consumption report a further shrinkage
in orders for future delivery, the one exception be­
ing boots and shoes. Losses in sales as compared
with a year ago were most pronounced in goods
consumed chiefly in the rural districts, such as
farm implements, stoves, fertilizers and insecticides,
poultry and dairy supplies and certain building
materials. Retail trade in both city and country
was disappointing, with clearance of merchandise
less complete than at this time last year or in 1925.
Retailers report good shopping response to the
few days of clear weather, but there were not
enough such days to change the decreasing trend
of sales volume. Department store sales in the five
largest cities of the district recorded a small frac­
tional increase over the same month in 1926, but
debits to individual accounts in the reporting cities
in April were 5.8 per cent below those of March
and 3.4 per cent under the April, 1926, total.
The dollar value of building permits issued in
the five largest cities was higher in April than
March, but was 13.2 per cent smaller than in the

same month last year. In the iron and steel industry
activity was below the rate of the month before,
and there were more complaints of keen com peti­
tion and narrowing profits on certain groups of
commodities. Generally employment showed little
change as contrasted with thirty days earlier. Sea­
sonal gains in certain activities about counterbal­
anced losses in industries where curtailment of pro­
duction was in progress. In some sections a surplus
of farm labor is reported, but resumption of high­
way construction work and extensive repair opera­
tions by railroads and on levees in the flooded areas
served to substantially reduce the surplus of com ­
mon labor.
W ith reserve stocks of coal the largest on
record, consumers are exhibiting little interest in
future supplies and generally the feeling prevails
that it will be possible to obtain sufficient for all
requirements when the fuel is needed. Mines in
the district are m oving out large quantities of
steaming coal, but there are still complaints of
heavy accumulations of loaded cars of domestic
sizes for which no orders have been received. Thus
far coal from the nonunion fields has not been enter­
ing the trade territory of the Illinois and Indiana
mines to any great extent, consumers depending
largely upon their storage stocks. In the imme­
diate past tonnage from the Kentucky mines has
been m oving in larger volume to the lakes, and
generally there is a slightly firmer tone in prices.
Dealers report that householders are ordering their
fall and winter fuel somewhat earlier than has been
the case during the past several years. A ccording
to the U. S. Bureau of Mines, consumers’ stocks of
bituminous coal on April 1 amounted to 75,000,000
tons, the largest stock in the history of the country.
The previous maximum of 63,000,000 tons was
reached in November, 1918. Production of bitumin­
ous coal for the country as a whole during the
present calendar year to May 14, approximately 114
working days, amounted to 221,193,000 tons, against
203,959,000 tons for the corrseponding period last
year and 176,116,000 tons in 1925.
In spite of interruptions due to the floods, rail­
roads operating in this district continue to report
the heaviest freight traffic on record for this season
of the year. For the country as a whole loadings
of revenue freight for the first nineteen weeks this
year, or to May 7, totaled 18,280,000 cars, against
17,770,207 cars for the corresponding period last
year and 17,476,346 cars in 1925. The St. Louis T er­
minal Railway Association, which handles inter­
changes for 28 connecting lines, interchanged
189,951 loads in April, against 243,282 loads in
March and 219,246 loads in April, 1926. During the




first 9 days of May the interchange amounted to
64,234 loads, against 64,693 loads during the same
period in April and 65,113 loads during the first
9 days of May, 1926. Passenger traffic of the report­
ing lines decreased 5 per cent during April as com ­
pared with the same month last year. Estimated
tonnage of the Federal Barge Line between St.
Louis and New Orleans for April was 122,000 tons,
the highest on record, and comparing with 104,301
tons (revised figures) in March, and 72,682 tons in
April, 1926.
Collections during the past thirty days showed
a rather distinct recession, both as compared with
the preceding month and the corresponding period
last year. Results in the country were considerably
less favorable than in the larger cities, due to poor
condition of dirt roads in many sections and to
floods. Some slow ing down as compared with re­
cent months was noted in the coal areas. In the
tobacco districts, where the cooperative marketing
association made heavy payments to members in
settlement of sales of the 1926 crop, there was good
liquidation with both banks and merchants. W h ole­
salers in the large centers reported considerable
unevenness, though for the most part their custom ­
ers are paying their bills promptly. Answers to
questionnaires addressed to 460 representative inter­
ests in the several lines throughout the district
showed the follow ing results:
Excellent

Good

Fair

Poor

April, 1927................... 1.1% 22.1% 61.7% 15.1%
March, 1927................. 3.3
26.8
56.6
13.3
April, 1926................... 2.3
30.3
56.2
11.2
Commercial failures in the Eighth Federal R e­
serve District during April, according to Dun’s
numbered 95, involving liabilities of $1,590,517,
against 111 defaults in March with liabilities of
$1,088,841, and 84 failures for $1,656,577 in April,
1926.
The per capita circulation of the United States
on May 1, 1927, was $40.99, against $40.81 on April
1, 1927, and $42.11 on May 1, 1926.
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 — Combined passenger car and
truck production in the United States in April
totaled 396,566, against 386,721 in March and 433,219
in April, 1926. Unfavorable weather and flood con­
ditions in the district were factors in a smaller dis­
tribution of automobiles than in the preceding
month or the corresponding period last year. A s
has been the case for the past several months, de­
creases were principally in the rural sections, sales
in the cities, except those directly affected by the
high water, making a relatively favorable showing.
There is still a marked disposition on the part of

farmers to postpone filling their requirements until
something more definite is known relative to the
outcom e of the year’s crops. Country dealers, how ­
ever, report an active business in parts and acces­
sories. The demand for trucks continues active,
with a number of important distributors showing
good gains in sales of both heavy vehicles and
smaller models for city delivery service. Stocks of
new cars in dealers’ hands showed little variation
as compared with the preceding thirty days, but
the total was below the corresponding period last
year. Sales of new cars in April by 320 dealers
scattered through the district were 24.3 per cent
smaller than during the same month last year and
8.7 per cent below the March total this year. A cces­
sory sales in April declined 3.2 per cent under a
year ago, and 0.8 per cent under the March total
this year. The used car situation underwent slight
improvement during April as contrasted with ear­
lier months this year. Stocks showed the usual
seasonal gains over the preceding month, but were
smaller than in April, 1926. N o change worthy of
note was reported in the tire situation as compared
with the preceding thirty days.
Boots and Shoes — April sales of the 7 report­
ing interests were 4.0 per cent smaller than during
the preceding month, but 5.3 per cent in excess of
the April, 1926, total. Stocks on M ay 1 were 5.9
per cent larger than a month earlier and 18.8 per
cent less than on the same date last year. F ollow ­
ing the curtailment at factories preceding the taking
of inventories in April, operations have been in­
creased, and at the end o f the month were at about
90 per cent of capacity. In sympathy with the re­
cent rise in raw material values, finished goods
were advanced, the average on all lines being from
2.5 to 3.0 per cent. The prospective upturn in prices
had a stimulating effect on advance buying, future
orders o f several of the reporting firms being larger
than at any time this year.
Clothing — Purchasing of both men’s and
w om en’s clothing during the past thirty days was
disappointing. W eather conditions were against
the m ovement of seasonal apparel, and orders for
immediate delivery were in smaller volume than at
the corresponding period last year. There is almost
universal absence o f reordering of spring coats and
suits. Advance sales of w om en’s ready-to-wear
wash goods are reported heavy, and the same is
true of the general line o f summer sport clothes.
Prices showed no change w orthy o f mention as
compared with the month before. Sales of the 8
reporting interests during April were 64.5 per cent
smaller than in the same month in 1926, and 186.9
per cent in excess of the preceding month this year.




The heavy increase in the month-to-month compari­
son is due to the unusually late date on which
salesmen of three of the principal firms were sent
on the road.
Drugs and Chemicals — A s compared with a
year ago, April sales of the 7 reporting interests
showed a gain of 4.9 per cent, but the total was
7.8 per cent below that of March this year. Stocks
on May 1 were on a parity with the same date in
1926, and 3.5 per cent larger than on April 1 this
year. Demand for heavy chemicals from manufac­
turers holds up well, and the movement of phar­
maceuticals and sundries continued the gains of
earlier in the year. Advance sales of soda fountain
supplies are below a year ago, and the smallest at
this season since 1921.
D ry Goods — A further slowing down in this
classification was noted, with losses being confined
largely to the flooded areas. April sales of the 8
reporting firms were 0.7 per cent smaller than dur­
ing the same month in 1926, and 20.8 per cent under
the March total this year. Stocks on May 1 were
larger by 2.6 per cent than thirty days earlier, but
9.0 per cent below those on May 1, 1926. Reflecting
the recent rise in raw cotton, prices of cotton goods
showed an upward trend, with demand for virtually
all lines active. Knit goods, particularly hosiery,
developed some improvement, and sales of w om en’s
ready-to-wear clothing were the largest in recent
years.
Electrical Supplies — April sales of the 5 re­
porting interests were 1.0 per cent below those of
the same month in 1926, and 2.7 per cent under
the March total this year. Stocks on May 1 showed
a gain of 15.7 over the same date last year, but were
5.9 per cent smaller than on April 1' this year. A
rather sharp decrease in sales of radio material was
partly offset by increased purchasing of a variety
of materials by the utility companies for repair
work incident to flood damage. Some slight down­
ward price revisions were recorded as compared
with thirty days ago, and the general average of
prices is 5 to 7}^ per cent under a year ago.
Flour — Production at the 12 leading mills of
the district in April was 329,522 barrels, against
345,095 barrels in March and 277,339 barrels in
April, 1926. Stocks of flour in St. Louis on May 1
were 8.4 per cent larger than on April 1, and 15.0
per cent in excess of those on May 1, 1926. Prices
advanced during the early part of April in sympathy
with the sharp upturn in cash wheat values, but
flour buyers were not inclined to follow the advance,
and new buying was in small volume. Shipping
directions on flour previously purchased were good.

Mill operations were at slightly under 50 per cent
of capacity.
Furniture — April sales of the 17 reporting
interests were 4.0 per cent larger than for the same
month in 1926, and 15.1 per cent under the March
total this year. Stocks on May 1 were 3.5 per cent
smaller than on April 1, and 16.0 per cent below
those on M ay 1, 1926. Dealers are still adhereing
closely to the policy of buying for well defined
needs, and stock orders are smaller than usual at
this time of year. Factory operations were at about
the same rate as a month earlier, and except for a
firmer tone on some lines based on hard woods,
prices were unchanged.
Groceries— Unseasonable weather, floods and
the impassable condition of roads in some sections
were factors in a further decrease in business in
this classification, both as compared with a year
ago and the preceding month. Sales of the 11 re­
porting firms in April were 15.3 per cent smaller
than the same month in 1926 and 9.7 per cent below
the March total this year. Stocks on May 1 were
11.0 per cent smaller than on April 1, and 9.7 per
cent under those on May 1, 1926. There was the
usual seasonal decline in prices of fresh fruits, vege­
tables and dairy and poultry products, but flour,
sugar and some canned goods were higher than
thirty days earlier.
Hardware — April sales of the 9 reporting inter­
ests were 10.5 per cent smaller than during the
same month in 1926, and 12.8 per cent below the
March total this year. Stocks on M ay 1 were smal­
ler by 0.6 per cent than thirty days earlier and 21.8
per cent below those on May 1, 1926. The slowing
down in sales, which is general through the entire
line, is attributed chiefly to unfavorable weather and
the floods. Demand for building hardware has de­
clined, and the call for farm implements and sup­
plies of all sorts is much below the seasonal aver­
age. The trend of prices was lower on a number of
commodities, but few specific changes in quota­
tions were recorded.
Iron and Steel Products — A moderate reces­
sion in activities in both raw and finished iron and
steel materials was noted during the past thirty
days as contrasted with the similar period imme­
diately preceding. Mills, foundries and machine
shops report that business is being more sparingly
placed, and current shipments are running ahead
of new orders. Specifications on goods which are
consumed principally in the rural districts are disap­
pointing, and some cancellations are being received.
On a number of standard steel commodities, nota­
bly bars, plates and structural shapes, more than
the ordinary com petition has developed, with the




result that prices have been shaded in some in­
stances, though no specific reductions were an­
nounced. Demand for building materials has tap­
ered off, and several fabricators have reduced their
working forces. An exception to the slow ing down
in the building material classification is reinforcing
concrete bars, which continue to move in large
volume. The general run of sheets is reported
quiet, and specifications on tank plates were the
smallest since last November. Demand for oil
country goods sustained a further decrease, and or­
dering of lumber mill supplies was adversely af­
fected by floods in the South. Plants specializing
in gray iron castings report a marked slowing down
in orders. April business of the reporting job
foundries was 14.4 per cent below that of the cor­
responding month in 1926, but 3.4 per cent above
that of March this year. Purchasing of all varieties
of materials by the coal fields is at a low ebb, and
engine builders and farm implement manufacturers
report a less active demand for their goods than at
this time last year. Flood conditions have led to
a temporary stimulation in purchasing of track ac­
cessories and some other materials, but buying by
railroads generally continues to lag. Several im­
portant stove foundries have reduced their opera­
tions to tw o days per week, and April sales of the
7 reporting stove manufacturers were 22.6 per cent
smaller than for the same month last year and 20.3
per cent below the March total this year. Produc­
tion of pig iron for the country in April totaled
3,422,226 tons, against 3,482,223 tons in March and
3,450,122 tons in April, 1926. April production of
steel ingots totaled 4,129,952 tons, which compares
with 4,534,926 tons in March and 4,105,799 tons in
April, 1926. P ig iron prices eased slightly under
the preceding month and demand was quiet. Scrap
iron and steel prices declined further, with heavy
melting steel recording a new low on the present
downward movement.
Lumber — Interest during the past thirty days
has centered in flood conditions in the Mississippi
V alley, with attendant curtailment of hardwood
production. M any mills were idle, either through
being flooded, or because their timber was under
water. Output was reduced to about 60 per cent of
normal volume for this season. W ith the emergence
of Arkansas and Mississippi mills from the water,
production is being gradually resumed. Due to the
reduced output hardwoods especially oak flooring,
have increased sharply in price, the average ad­
vance on all items being about $8 per thousand
feet. Consumers are strongly resisting the price
advances, and the market is very unsettled. N orth­
ern hardwoods have developed strength in sym­

pathy with the Southern product, and the trend
of softw oods is also upward, though few specific
advances in quotations are recorded. For the most
part soft w ood mills missed the floods, but many
plants have been on reduced schedules because of
the heavy rains.
R E T A IL T R A D E
The condition of retail trade is reflected in the
follow ing comparative statement showing activity
of department stores in leading cities of the district:
Stocks on hand
Net sales comparison
Apr. 1927 4 months ending Apr. 30, 1927
comp, to
comp, to Apr. 30, 1927 to
Apr. 1926 same period 1926 Apr. 30, 1926
, + 8.2%
Evansville ...... .+23.2%
+20.3%
— 4.5
— 8.4
Little Rock.... .— 13.6
1.2
— 3.0
— 8.8
Louisville ......
— 8.1
— 5.7
Memphis ......... — 7.9
— 8.3
— 17.4
Quincy .......... + 0.3
— 2.0
— 3.1
St. Louis........ + 3.5
6.0
— 6.4
Springfield, Mo..—
+ 1-9
— 3.4
— 4.1
8th District.... .+ 0.3
Net sales comparison
April 1927 compared to ’
April 1926 Mar. 1927
+ 3.1%
Men’s Furnishing.......... +21.3%
Boots and Shoes............ + 1.2
+22.0

Stock turnover
January 1 to
April 30
1926
1927
68.5
77.8
76.7
73.7
109.9
113.8
84.0
87.7
64.2
67.0
113.3
113.4
50.6
49.4
102.4
102.6

Stocks on hand
April 1927 compared to
April 1926 Mar. 1927
— 0.2%
— 3.5%
+ 2.0
— 4.9

C O N S U M P T IO N O F E L E C T R IC IT Y
Public utilities companies in the five largest
cities of the district reported consumption of elec­
tric power by selected industrial consumers in April
as being 1.2 per cent smaller than in the preceding
month and 0.2 per cent larger than in April, 1926.
The loss in the month-to-month comparison was
accounted for partly by smaller loads taken by the
coal mines and temporary suspension of operations
at a large cement plant. Detailed figures fo llo w :
April
March
No. of
1927
Custom­
1927
ers
*K.W.H. *K.W.H.
1,323'
1,226
Evansville ....40
1,338
Little Rock....35
1,321
Louisville .....84
5,196
5,090
Memphis .......31
1,879
1,707
St. Louis.......98
15,279
15,741

Apr. 1927
comp, to
Mar. 1927
— 7.3%'
— 1.3
+ 2.1
+ 10.1
— 2.9

Total.......288
24,901
*In thousands (000 omitted).

— 1.2

25,199

April
1926
*K.W.H.
1,266
1,347
5,099
1,769
15,376

Apr. 1927
comp, to
Apr. 1926
— 3.2%
— 1.9
+ L9
+ 6.2
— 0.6

24,857

+ 0.2

B U IL D IN G
The dollar value of permits for new buildings
issued in the five largest cities o f the district in
April was 18.0 per cent larger than in March, but
13.2 per cent smaller than in April, 1926. According
to figures compiled by the F. W . D odge Corpora­
tion, building contracts let in the Eighth Federal
Reserve District in April amounted to $34,887,865,
which compares with $42,703,808 in March, and
$30,697,000 in April, 1926. The trend of building
cost is slightly downward, due to minor reductions
in the price of certain materials. No change was
reported in wage scales. Production o f portland
cement for the country as a whole during April was
14,048,000 barrels, against 11,452,000 barrels in
March and 12,440,000 barrels in April, 1926. Build­
ing figures for April fo llo w :




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

New Construction
Permits
*Cost
1927
1926
1927 1926
$ 215 $ 671
198
378
403
288
100
71
2,628
2,646
431
264
1,765
1,765
617
340
2,286
3,196
862
637

$7,315 $8,548
April totals 1,690 2,208
6,166 10,537
Mar. totals 1,969 2,266
6,200
5,575
Feb. totals 1,371 1,487
*In thousands of dollars (000 omitted).

______ Repairs, etc.
Permits
*Cost
1927 1926
1927
'~T28 T 5 4
$ 29
115
114
56
117
126
275
156
92
105
372
500
284
888
1,017
638

986
905
726

$ 749
856
438

A G R IC U L T U R E
W eather conditions throughout virtually the
entire district were distinctly unfavorable during
the past thirty days, resulting in a further serious
delay in farm work of all sorts and a low ering in
prospects for most crops. The principal derogatory
factor was excessive moisture and second in order
was unseasonably low temperatures. In areas
where the flood waters have receded the soil has
not had an opportunity to dry out sufficiently to
work because of the almost daily rains and on the
plains not directly touched by the rise in the rivers,
fields were to a large extent covered with standing
water from the excessive precipitation. In addition
numerous sections were visited by wind, rain and
hail storms of unusual violence which wrought con­
siderable local damage to farm property and crops.
Severe frosts in the third week of April, which were
general over the northern stretches of the district,
took a heavy toll of fruit and early vegetable crops.
Overflows along the Mississippi River and its
tributaries were the worst ever recorded, and wheat
and other grow ing crops in the areas affected were
lost. There were also heavy losses of live stock,
farm buildings, fences and general equipment. In
many sections seed for planting the corn and cotton
crops was lost or ruined. Plans for replacing seed
and equipment have been largely perfected, how ­
ever, and the chief need at present is dry weather
which will enable farmers to plow and prepare their
fields for planting crops. Generally farm work is
from four to six weeks behind the seasonal sched­
ule, and in many important agricultural areas not
more than 25 to 30 per cent of the essential prepar­
atory operations had been completed at the middle
of May.
W inter W heat — The early grow ing season
was mainly favorable, and winter wheat in States
of this district came through the cold weather with
less than the usual amount of winter killing. E x­
cept where damaged by floods the crop is generally
in good condition. There were scattered reports of
insect activity, but nothing of a general or serious
character, and in the principal producing areas
which escaped the high water, acreage abandoned
is less than the 10-year average. According to the
U. S. Department of Agriculture the total area of

winter wheat to be harvested in the United States
on M ay 1 was 38,701,000 acres, or about 8.4 per
cent less than planted last autumn and 1,788,000
acres more than harvested last year. The average
condition on May 1 was 85.6 per cent of normal,
compared with 84.5 on April 1, 84.0 on May 1, 1926,
and 83.7, the average condition for the past ten
years on May 1. The May 1 condition is indicative
of a yield per acre of approximately 15.3 bushels.
On the estimated area to be harvested this would
produce 593,940,000 bushels, against 626,929,000
bushels in 1926 and a 10-year average (1917-1926)
572,887,000 bushels.
jCorn — Preparations for planting corn have
been delayed in all states of the district and in many
southern counties where the crop had been put in,
replanting will be necessary because of the floods.
Up to the middle of May plowing in much of the
most important corn producing areas in the north­
ern sections had not even begun, whereas ordinarily
at that date it is from 50 to 75 per cent completed.
W here fields were in condition to be worked, far­
mers were taking advantage of every day of sun­
shine to push forward the work, but there are
numerous complaints of lumpy, difficult soil condi­
tions, and with entirely favorable weather through
the balance of the season the crop will be three to
four weeks late.
Fruits and Vegetables — Unusually high pros­
pects for fruits in the early spring were substan­
tially reduced in this district by the severe frosts
occurring in the third week of April. Present indi­
cations are for a fair crop of fall and winter apples,
peaches and berries, but the pear, plum and cherry
crops will be short and in some sections a complete
failure. Reports relative to grapes are irregular
with best prospects in the south, and heavy damage
from late frosts in the northern areas. In the
immediate past there have been increasing com­
plaint of a heavy drop of apples and peaches, due
to the excessive rains and high winds. Estimated
damage to truck crops and early commercial pota­
toes vary from 40 to 60 per cent. Generally stands
in the commercial potato sections are poor. Straw­
berries lost 40 to 50 per cent of early spring pros­
pects, but part of this was made up by high prices
and quality and excellent marketing conditions.
Gardens and small crops are universally late and
planting of tomatoes in the commercial areas is
considerably behind the seasonal schedule.
Live Stock — The unusually wet
been unfavorable for spring pigs and
from scattered sections com e reports of
tality and prevalence of disease among




season has
lambs, and
heavy mor­
herds. H og

cholera has appeared in the flooded areas, particu­
larly in Missouri, Illinois and Arkansas, but ener­
getic measures have been taken to check the spread
of this disease. The abundant moisture has resulted
in a high average condition of pastures throughout
the district and the condition of hay is also good.
For the country as a whole pasture conditions on
May 1 were 87 per cent, which compares with 74.6
per cent on the same date in 1926.
Receipts and shipments at St. Louis, as re­
ported by the National Stock Yards, were as fol­
lows :
Receipts______
Apr.
Mar.
Apr.
1927
1927
1926
Cattle and Calves..... 87,213 96,47^ 86,439
Hogs ........................297,788 343,587 311,011
Horses and Mules.... 3,294
5,836
1,471
Sheep ....................... 26,752 26,148 15,859

_____ Shipments
Apr.
Mar.
Apr.
1927
1927
1926
57,623 62,788 55,627
213,416 245,248 227,800
3,150
7,344
1,969
16,965 14,991
7,741

Cotton — Temperatures during the past thirty
days have been unfavorably low, which, coupled
with the continuous rains and floods, have delayed
preparations for and planting of cotton. In Missouri
and Northern Arkansas, farmers have in many
instances decided to devote a considerable portion
of their cotton lands to other crops, principally corn
and legumes. Germanation and growth of cotton
planted is reported poor, and replanting has been
necessary in many sections. Mainly in response to
flood conditions and their possible effect on the
year’s production, cotton advanced in price during
the period under review, the middling grade in the
St. Louis market selling at 14%c per pound on
M ay 16, which compares with 13%c a month earlier
and 17%c on the corresponding date in 1926. Stocks
on hand at Arkansas warehouses on M ay 30 totaled
150,856 bales, against 373,132 bales on the same
date last year.
T obacco — In the fired dark district sales con­
tinue light, with much of the tobacco offered of poor
quality and damaged. Prices, however, were slight­
ly higher on all grades sold. The Burley T obacco
Growers Cooperative Association reported the sale
of 9,500,000 pounds of the 1923 redried crop, which
leaves about 80,000,000 pounds of the 1923, 1924 and
1925 crops unsold. The Association, according to
official report, will sell the present year’s crop with­
out pooling unless 75 per cent is signed up by
N ovem ber for cooperative marketing. Rains and
cold weather seriously interfered with the progress
o f farm work, and caused considerable anxiety to
planters. V ery little ground has been prepared for
tobacco, and except on limestone uplands and hill­
sides not much land is ready for setting. T ob a cco
plants are plentiful and generally in healthy condi­
tion, and are now ready for transplanting.
Com m odity Prices — Range of prices in the
St. Louis market between April 15, 1927 and M ay

15, 1927, with closing quotations on the latter date
and on May 15, 1926, fo llo w :
Close
Wheat
High
Low May 15, 1927
May 15,1926
May ..................perbu.$1.4354$1.27*4
$1.41
$1.58
July .................. “
1.36*6 1.2654$1.33 @ 1.34^4
1.35
Sept..................... “
1.3354 1.3254
1.33
1.32
No. 2 red winter “
1.4354 1.28
1.40 @ 1.41
$1.65@ 1.68
No. 2 hard....... “
1.44
'1.3554
1.42
1.65
Com
May .................. “
.8754 .7454
-8754
.70
July .................. "
.9254 .78
.90*4
.73^
No. 2 white....... "
.89
.74
.88 @ .89
.75
Oats
No. 2 white....... 1
4
.52
.47
.49 54® .51
.43@ .43J4
Flour
Soft patent.......per bbl. 7.00
6.25
6.50 @ 7.00
8.25 @ 8.75
7.25
6.50
7.00 @ 7.25
8.00@ 8.30
Spring patent..... “
Middling cotton....per lb.
.1454 .1354
-1454
*
1
Hogs on hoof.......percwt.lL60
8.05
9.25 @10.00
12.40@ 14.35

F IN A N C IA L

in April, 1926. The discount rate remained un­
changed at 4 per cent. Changes in the principal
assets and liabilities of this institution as compared
with the preceding month and a year ago are shown
in the follow ing table:
*May 18,
1927
Bills discounted............................................ ..$24,54^
Bills bought..................................................... 11,780
U. S. Securities............................................. 23,986

*April 18, *May 18,
1927
1926
$19,464
$22,744
21,656
7,224
27,659
28,342

Total bills and securities...................... $60,311$68,779
$58,310
F. R. Notes in circulation.......................... 42,459
43,782
38,123
Total deposits................................................ 80,275
87,191
83,085
Ratio of reserves to deposit
and F. R. Note liabilities........................ 55.7%
52.0%
56.3%
*In thousands (000 omitted).

Debits to Individual Accounts — The follow ing
comparative table gives the total debits charged by
banks to checking accounts, savings accounts, cer­
tificates of deposit accounts, and trust accounts of
individuals, firms, corporations and U. S. Govern­
ment in leading cities of the district. Charges to
accounts of banks are not included.

M oney rates and credit conditions generally in
the Eighth District have undergone little change
from a month ago. Demand for credit accommoda­
tion from general commercial and industrial sources
was somewhat more spotted, but the aggregate
was about equal to that of the preceding thirty days.
*March,
April 1927 comp, to
♦April,
•April,
1927
Mar. 1927 April 1926
1926
1927
Important mercantile lines report satisfactory col­
t’l.
Stock Yds., Ill..‘» 45,663
$ 44,353
$ 45,229
+ 3.0%
+ 1.0%
lections, and they are liquidating their loans as due,
El Dorado, Ark.... 10,725
— 15.9
10,318
12,755
+ 3.9
Evansville, Ind.... 47,964
+24.0
49,591
38,681
— 3.3
but are also borrowing in volum e about equal to
Fort Smith, Ark.... 12,979
— 4.3
12,578
13,564
+ 3.2
Greenville, Miss.**
current payments to their banks. There has been
Helena, Ark..........
4,307
4,'140
5,303
+ 4.0
— 18.8
— 12.4
Little Rock, Ark.. 67,262
76,789
81,365
— 17.3
less than the usual seasonal call for funds for agri­
— 6.0
202,313
— 9.0
Louisville, Ky...... 190,218
208,947
— 9.4
+ 0.3
143,168
158,097
142,808
cultural purposes, due to the backwardness of all
— 1.7
5,280
5,374
— 13.4
6,098
— 16.7
11,527 —20.3
Pine Bluff, Ark....
9,607
12,050
farming operations. Banks specializing in live
Quincy, 111............ 13,950
14,419
— 3.3
+ 1.6
13,725
— 3.7
St. Louis, Mo..... 731,882
759,234
760,357
— 3.6
stock loans report excellent liquidation, particularly
Sedalia, Mo..........
4,911
+ 4.6
5,101
4,694 — 3.7
— 7.1
Springfield, Mo.... 15,088
16,813
16,241
— 10.3
of loans based on cattle, the price of which has been
— 5.8
— 3.4
,303,004 $1,383,104 $1,349,360
high and marketing active. Deposits of the com ­
*Tn thousands (000 omitted).
**No report from Greenville, Miss, account of flood conditions.
mercial banks are holding up well, and at the mid­
dle of May were at approximately the same levels
Condition of Banks — Loans and discounts of
as at the same time a year ago. For the most part
the reporting member banks on May 18 showed a
country Banks are in liquid position, and in a num­
decrease of 1.5 per cent as compared with April 20,
ber o f instances are seeking investment for surplus
and 5.2 per cent as contrasted with M ay 19, 1926.
funds. This is particularly true of banks in the
Deposits decreased 0.5 per cent between April 20
tobacco districts and in sections where early fruit
and May 18, and on the latter date were 1.8 per cent
and truck crops have been successfully marketed.
larger than on May 19, 1926. Composite statement
M illing and grain interests have further reduced
fo llo w s:
*May 18, *April 20, *May 19,
their loans, but increased borrow ings were reported
1926
1927
1927
by packers, the lumber industry, and several other
33
Number of banks reporting....................... .... 131
t31
Loans and discounts (incl. rediscounts)
manufacturing lines. Demand from stock brokerage
$ 4,610 $ 10,372
Secured by U. S. Gov’t, obligations....,..,$ 4,412
195,918
194,298
Secured by other stocks and bonds......... 192,159
interests continues active, with the aggregate of
310,161
298,135
All other loans and discounts................. .. 292,962
this class of loans slightly higher than a month ago.
Total loans and discounts...............................$489,533 $497,043 $516,451
Investments
Borrow ing at this bank has increased rather sharp­
77,949
78,766
U. S. Gov’t, securities.............................
110,065
121,446
Other securities....................................... .
ly, with the total in the third week of May reaching
$200,212 $188,014
a new high level for the year. A t St. Louis banks
47,323
45,464
Reserve balance with F. R. Bank.............
44,225
7,791
7,615
....
7,891
current quotations were as follow s: Prime com ­
Deposits
404,758
402,451
Net demand deposits..............................
mercial loans, 4% to 5 per cent; interbank loans,
717,481
235,608
Time deposits............................................
6,502
4,937
Government deposits................................
5 to SJ2 per cent; loans secured by warehouse re­
/
Total deposits............................................... .....639,908 $642,996 $628,741
ceipts, 4 y2 to 5*/2 per cent and cattle loans, 6 per
Bills payable and rediscounts with
Federal Reserve Bank,
cent.
4,846
4,650
Secured by U. S. Gov’t, obligations..,....
6,422
1,501
9,696
All others...............................................
Federal Reserve Operations — During April the
*In thousands (000 omitted).
tDecreases due to consolidation. These 31 banks are located in St. Louis,
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis discounted for
Louisville, Memphis, Little Rock, and Evansville, and their total re­
sources comprise approximately 55.5 per cent of the resources of all
175 member banks, against 189 in March and 212
member banks in the district.
(Compiled May 21, 1927)




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
Industrial output declined in April, reflecting reduced
activity both in mines and in factories. Distribution of
commodities by railroads and retail trade increased and the
level of prices showed a further slight decline.
P R O D U C T IO N — Decreased output of industries in
April as compared with March was due chiefly to the coal
miners' strike, which caused a sharp drop in production of
bituminous coal. Manufacturing industries as a whole were
somewhat less active in April than during the preceding
PERCENT
lOU

PERCENT

end of April as in March, while stocks of wholesale firms
were smaller. Railroad car loadings were larger in April
than usual, reflecting chiefly large shipments of iron, ore,
coke, grain and grain products, but also an increased move­
ment of miscellaneous freight and of merchandise in lessthan-car-load lots. Coal shipments were 25 per cent smaller
in April than the preceding month.
PRICES — In April there was a slight recession in the
general level of wholesale prices, as measured by the index
______

FERCENT

________

PERCENT

150

Minerals

~ 't

J

100

/ ^

\ r v
M
anuf'actures

J

4AA
1UU

^

^

A

" V
50

50

WHOLES/*^ E PRICES
L

PROD UC TION OF
MANUFACTURES AND M INERALS

I

0
1923

I
192**

o

1925

1926

1927

Index numbers of production of manufacturers and minerals, adjusted
for seasonal variations (1923-25 average—100). Latest figures,
April: Manufactures, 109; Minerals, 107.

month, when allowance is made for the usual seasonal
changes. Reductions were reported in iron and steel and
the textile industries, as well as in meat packing and in the
production of building material. The manufacture of motor
cars, though showing the usual seasonal increase in April,
continued at a lower level than a year ago. Petroleum
production continued in record volume, notwithstanding
large stocks and declining prices.
Value of building contracts awarded declined slightly
in April, from the record high figure in March, but was
larger than last year. The decline in building between
March and April reflected reduced activity in the construc­
tion of commercial, industrial and educational buildings,
while contracts for residential and public buildings in­
creased. On the basis of conditions on May 1, the Depart­
ment of Agriculture forecasts a winter wheat crop of
594,000,000 bushels, or about 5 per cent less than in 1926.
Continued wet cold weather over much of the corn belt
and in the spring wheat areas has retarded the planting
of spring crops.
T R A D E — Commodity distribution at retail was larger
in April than at the same season of any previous year,

owing in part to the lateness of the Eastern holidays.
Department store sales were approximately 7 per cent
larger than in April of last year, and sales of mail order
houses and chain stores were also in larger volume. Whole­
sale trade showed about the usual decrease between March
and April, and continued smaller than in the corresponding
month of last year. Inventories of merchandise carried by
department stores were in about the same volume at the




V

V

_ A / O fm rx x fflies
/C
-w—A ric tfua
g u r/
gic / r /
fy'on-j^r u tua
i........... .
1S23

192^

1325

1926

1927

Indexes of United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, (1913 = 100).
Latest figures, April: All commodities, 144.2; non-agricultural, 144.4; agricultural, 143.3.

of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but in the first three
weeks of May price conditions were firmer. The decline in
April reflected chiefly a decrease in the price of petroleum,
lumber and several of the non-ferrous metals. There was
little change in the level of agricultural prices, which have
been fairly constant since the beginning of the year. Dur­
ing the first three w eeks of May prices of grains, cotton,
r
iron and steel, petroleum, lumber and hides advanced while
those of livestock, coke and non-ferrous metafs declined.
B A N K C R E D IT — Volume of credit of weekly re­
porting member banks, as measured by their total loans
and investments, increased by more than $300,000,000 dur­
ing the month ending May 18, and was on that date at
the highest level on record. This growth represented for
the most part an increase in the banks' holdings of invest­
ments and in the volume of their loans on stocks and bonds,
while commercial loans showed relatively little change. At
the reserve banks there was a decrease during the month
in total volume credits outstanding, owing to the receipt
of a considerable amount of gold from abroad. In addition
to the purchase abroad by these banks of about $60,000,000
of gold that is now held ear-marked with a foreign corres­
pondent, the banks’ holdings of acceptances and of govern-

Monthly averages of weekly figures for banks in 101 leading cities.
Latest figures are averages for first three weekly report dates
in May.

ment securities declined by about $85,000,000, while dis­
counts for member banks increased by about $45,000,000.
Apparently in response to the increased reserve require­
ments arising from the growth in the member banks de­
posits, conditions in the money market were comparatively
stable. No change in rates quoted on prime commercial
paper and on acceptances.