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BUSINESS CONDITIONS
Monthly Review of Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Finance
Released for Publication on Afternoon of May 31st, 1940

FEDERAL

RESERVE

Some of the Missouri State Parks

BANK

OF

ST.

LOUIS

SUMMARY OF EIGHTH D IST R ICT
May 1, 1940', comp, with
Agriculture:
1939
Av. 1929-38
Estimated production of winter w heat..— 14.2%— 11.9%
April, 1940, comp, with
Livestock
Mar., 1940 Apr., 1939
Receipts at National Stock Yards..........+ 9.0%+ 23.4%
Shipments from aforesaid Yards............— 0.5 + 41.5
Production and Distribution:
Sales by mfrs. and wholesalers..............— 4.4 + 9.9
Department store sales............................. — 1.6 + 4.8
Car loadings............................................... — 11.5 — 3.9
Building and Construction:
„
. . 1
/ Number... + 15.6 + 35.0
Bldg. permits, mcl. repairs j Cost.........._ 19 g + 15 7
Value construction contracts awarded.. . — 9.9 — 17.6
Miscellaneous:
n
• 1 1 -i
i Number.............. + 40.7 + 18.8
Commercial failures j Liabilities............+236.9 - 74.2
Consumption of electricity....................... + 0-5 + 10.3
Debits to individual accounts..................+ 0.3 -j- 15.2
Life Insurance Sales................................. — 0.8 + 16.5
May 15/40 comp, with
Member Banks (24):
Apr. 17/40 May 17/39
Gross deposits........................................... + 0.5%+ 11.2%
Loans...........................................................+ 0.6 + 5.9
Investments................................................. + 1.6 + 3.9

C

O M M ER C IA L and industrial activity in the
E ighth Federal Reserve D istrict during the
latter part of April and early May indicated
improvement in some lines. Business generally was
still ahead of last year.
Production at iron and steel plants of the district
during the period under review remained steady and
at mid-May operations were at 47 per cent of ca­
pacity, compared with 45 per cent a m onth earlier
and 39 per cent on the same report date last year.
Inventories continued up and buying as a whole
was light. Production of bitum inous coal at mines
of the district during April was 16.7 per cent less
than in March, but 24.9 per cent greater than in
April, 1939. For the first four months this year pro­
duction was 18.4 per cent in excess of the like period
a year ago. Production of oil in fields of the district
during March continued well ahead of February and
more than doubled output during March of last
year. For the first quarter this year production was
118.3 per cent greater than for the same period of
1939.
Due to the earlier E aster date this year, sales by
departm ent stores in the principal cities of the
district during April were 1.6 per cent less than in
March. However, the sales were 4.8 per cent more
than during April, 1939. For the first four months
of 1940 sales were 6.8 per cent greater than for the
same interval last year. On May 1 inventories were
8.7 per cent larger than on the corresponding date
Page 2




in 1939. Sales of merchandise by wholesalers and
jobbers during April were 4.4 per cent less than in
March and 9.9 per cent greater than in April last
year. On May 1 inventories were 18.4 per cent more
than on the first day of May last year. In the St. Louis
area retail sales of passenger automobiles in April
were 13.7 per cent more than in March and 42.7 per
cent greater than in April a year ago. D uring the
January-A pril period of this year sales were 23.2
per cent more than during the like period last year.
The value of construction contracts let in the dis­
trict in April was 9.9 per cent and 17.6 per cent less,
respectively, than a m onth and a year earlier.
Cumulative value of contracts let for the first four
m onths of the year was 7.6 per cent less than dur­
ing the corresponding period of 1939. Value of per­
mits for new building in the larger cities of the
district during April was one-quarter less than dur­
ing March, but 18.5 per cent more than during April
last year. D uring the first four m onths of 1940 value
of perm its issued was 2.8 per cent more than during
the same period a year ago.
In the principal centers of the district consump­
tion of electric power by industrial users in April
was slightly more than during March and 10.3 per
cent more than during April last year. F reight traf­
fic of railways operating in this district was 11.5 per
cent and 3.9 per cent less, respectively, than a m onth
and a year earlier. Debits to individual accounts of
banks in the reporting centers in April were slightly
more than during March, and 15.2 per cent greater
than during April last year. For the first four
months this year debits were 11.0 per cent more
than during the corresponding period of 1939.
The cool wet spring has delayed preparations for
and planting of crops in many sections of the dis­
trict. W ork in the early weeks of May was getting
under way and by the middle of the m onth some
corn had been planted. Because of the rains many
rivers of the district rose considerably during the
period under review, but by the middle of May were
receding to normal levels. Prices of farm products
increased and in the latter part of April reached the
highest levels of the year, due prim arily to higher
prices for grains and livestock.
Commercial failures in the E ighth Federal Reserve
D istrict in April, according to Dun and Bradstreet,
numbered 38, involving liabilities of $438,000. In
March there were 27 defaults, with liabilities of
$130,000, and in April last year, 32 insolvencies for
a total of $1,695,000.

D ET AI LE D S U R V E Y OF D IS TR IC T
M A N U F A C T U R IN G A N D W H O L E S A L IN G
N e t Sales

Lines of Com m odities
D a ta furn ish ed by B u re au of Census,
U . S. D ept, of Com m erce.
A uto m o tiv e S u p p lies. . . .
B oots a n d S h o e s ..................
D ru g s an d C h em icals. . . .
D ry G o o d s .........................
E lectrical S u p p lie s............
F u r n itu re ..............................
G ro c e rie s................................
H a rd w a r e ..............................
T obacco and its P r o d u c ts .
M iscellan eo u s...........

Stocks

A p ril, 1940
A p r. 30, 1940
com pared w ith
comp, w ith
M a r., ’40 A pril, *39 A p r. 30., 1939
— 2.7%
— 11.3
—

10. 0

— 8.3
10.1
+ 23.1

+
—

2 .2

— 5.6
+ 7.0
— 5.4

+ 9.3%
+ 7.4
+ 9.5
— 9.5
—27.8
+ 34.9
+ 7.1
+ 7.5
+ 14.0
—

6.8

+ 36.8%

+22.6
—

2.2

+ 17.8

+13.6
+ 52.0
+ 16.2
+ 13.1

+ 15.6

Combined sales of wholesalers and jobbers in the
E ighth Federal Reserve D istrict, whose statistics
are available to this bank, were 4.4 per cent less
during April compared w ith M arch, but alm ost 10
per cent more than during April last year. The de­
crease from M arch to April of the composite lines
was seasonal in character, but slightly less than
average. The decrease in sales of boots and shoes
and the increase recorded for furniture were adverse
to seasonal expectations. As indicated by the above
table, all lines, w ith the exception of those in the
miscellaneous classification, reported increases over
the corresponding m onth last year. Sales of clothiers
during April were 37.0 per cent and 10.0 per cent
less, respectively, than a m onth and a year earlier.
As indicated by prelim inary figures, shoe production
in the E ighth Federal Reserve D istrict during April
was 4.0 per cent less than during March.
Automobiles—Com bined passenger car, truck and
taxicab production in the U nited States in April
totaled 432,746, as against 423,299 in M arch and
337,372 in April last year.
Iron and Steel Products — A t mid-M ay the rate
of steel ingot production at mills in this area was 47
per cent of capacity, compared w ith 45 per cent a
m onth earlier and 39 per cent on the mid-M ay report
date last year. The cut in price of hot and cold
rolled sheets of $4 a ton th at w ent into effect the
middle of April was w ithdraw n on M ay 1. P rotec­
tive com m itm ents made prior to th at date m ust be
shipped before June 30. T here was no apparent in­
crease in buying due to the reduction in price and
business as a whole is light.
The scrap m arket is quiet and prices rem ain un­
changed. T he m arket is steady as a result of stronger
m arkets in the east. Inventories at steel mills are
satisfactory for present orders on file. However,
w ith an increase in orders mills would have to come
into the m arket.
Activities at structural plants are dull with opera­
tions at about 50 per cent of capacity. W arehouse




business is spotted, but there has been some pickup
since early May and business is about on a par w ith
April. Shipm ents of pig iron during April were
about the same as in M arch and sales continued
light. Since May 1 shipm ents have expanded. Stove
foundries are operating three or four days a week.
F or the entire country, total output of pig iron in
April, according to the m agazine “Steel,” am ounted
to 3,139,043 net tons, the sm allest for any m onth
since A ugust, 1939, and compares with 3,270,575 net
tons in M arch and 2,301,965 net tons in April, 1939.
The decrease from the preceding m onth was due to
April being a shorter m onth. O utput of steel ingots
in the U nited States in April totaled 3,974,706 net
tons, against 4,264,755 net tons (revised figure) in
M arch and 3,352,774 net tons in April last year.
R E T A IL T R A D E

Department Stores — The trend of retail trade in
the E ighth D istrict, as reflected in statistics of de­
partm ent stores in the principal cities which report
to this bank, is shown in the following com parative
statem ent :
Stocks
Stock
N e t Sales
on H a n d
A pril , 1940
4 mos. ’40 A pr. 3 0 /4 0
com pared w ith
to sam e
comp, w ith
M a r.,’40 A p r.,’39 period ’39 A pr. 3 0/39

F t. Sm ith, A r k ...
L ittle Rock, A rk.
L ouisville, K y. . .
M em phis, T enn. .
P in e B luff, A rk ..
Q uincy, 111.............
St. L ouis, M o. . .
Springfield, M o. .
A ll O th e r C ities.

— 17.5%
— 12.2
+ 2.9
— 15.1
— 20.3
— 14.2
+ 3.0
+ 2 8 .8
— 17.0
— 1.6

+ 3.4%
— 0.9
+ 5.8
— 1.1
— 9.5
— 9.1
+ 6.7
+ 3 6 .6
— 5.4
+ 4.8

+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+
+

9.7%
10.5
7.6
6.8
4.4
1.2
6.2
13.4
10.7
6.8

+ 4.4%
+ 1.1
+ 2.5
+ 11.9
+ 2 0 .1
— 3.3
+ 10.3
— 12.9
+ 34.3
+ 8.7

T urnover
Jan . 1, to
A pr. 30,
1940 1939
.88
1.06
1.33
1.05
.78
1.23
1.45
1.10
1.0.4
1.32

.86
1.00,
1.27
1.08
.87
1.19
1.48
.97
1.03
1.32

Percentage of accounts and notes receivable out­
standing April 1, 1940, collected during April, by
c itie s:
In sta llm e n t Excl. In sta l.
A ccounts
A ccounts
F o rt S m ith ..............9
L ittle R o ck . . . 13.9
L ouisville . . . 15.4
M em phis . . . . 26.5

40.1%
35.8
50.0
47.0

In sta llm e n t E xcl. In s ta l.
A ccounts
A ccounts
Q uincy ......................... °/
St. L o u is .............. 21.9
O th e r C i t i e s . . . . 16.9
8th F . R. D istric t 20.6

49.1%
59.1
47.7
51.5

Specialty Stores — April results in m en’s furnish­
ings and boot and shoe lines are shown in the fol­
lowing ta b le :
Stock
S tocks
N e t Sales
on H a n d
A pril, 1940
4 mos. ’40 A pr. 30/4 0
com pared w ith
to sam e
comp, w ith
M a r.,’40 A p r./3 9 period ’39 A pr. 30/39
M en ’s F u rn ish in g s — 27.9%
B oots and Shoes. — 27.9

- 2 2 .2 %
-

21.2

+ 6 .0 %
— 0.4

+ 15.8%
+ 0.5

T u rn o v er
J a n . 1, to
A pr. 30,
1940 1939
.79
2.14

.85
2.25

Percentage of accounts and notes receivable out­
standing April 1, 1940, collected during A pril:
M en’s F u rn is h in g s ................ 36.3%

B oots and S h o e s.....................38.8%

M IN IN G A N D O IL

Coal — D uring the first quarter of 1940, stocks of
bitum inous coal in the hands of industrial consumers
decreased 19.0 per cent, or 7,045,000 net tons. Stocks
Page 3

on April 1 totaled 30,076,000 net tons, compared
w ith 32,577,000 net tons a m onth earlier and 37,121.000 net tons at the beginning of the year. Indus­
trial consum ption of bitum inous coal during M arch
am ounted to 28,522,000 net tons, a decrease of 0.9
per cent as compared w ith February.
In the U nited States, production of soft coal dur­
ing April, according to the Bitum inous Coal Division
of the U. S. D epartm ent of the Interior, totaled
32.962.000 tons, as against 35,210,000 tons in M arch
and 9,627,000 tons in April, 1939, during which
m onth activities were curtailed at the various mines.
D uring the first four m onths of this year total pro­
duction was 152,217,000 tons, com pared w ith 114,949.000 tons during the like period a year earlier.
A t mines in this general area, production during
April was 16.7 per cent less than in M arch and 24.9
per cent g reater than in April a year ago. D uring
the January-A pril period this year production was
18.4 per cent greater than for the same interval in
1939.
A t Illinois mines 2,875,485 tons were lifted in
April, as against 3,916,956 tons in M arch and 3,427,278 tons in April last year. T here were 95 mines in
operation during April w ith 24,253 men on payrolls,
against 113 active mines and 28,906 operatives in
March.
Petroleum — M arch production of crude oil in
states of the E ighth D istrict was 14.4 per cent more
than in February and 118.0 per cent g reater than in
M arch, 1939. Cum ulative total for the first three
m onths this year was 118.3 per cent in excess of the
corresponding period in 1939. Stocks on M arch 31
were 2.6 per cent and 13.7 per cent greater, respec­
tively, than a m onth and a year earlier. Detailed
production and stocks by states are given in the
following table:
________ Production
(I n thousands
of barrels)
Arkansas .........
Illinois ..............
Indiana ..............
Kentucky .........
T o ta ls..............

Mar.,
1940,

Feb.,
1940

2,125
13,580
329
435
16,469

2,010
11,727
235
422
14,394’

Stocks
Mar.,Cumulative
M ar.31, M ar.31,
1939
1940
1939
1940
1939
1,679
5,380
59
437
7,555

6,233 4,755
36,807 14,368
757
175
1,240 1,337
45,037 20,635'

1,969
13,699
4,142
1,248
21,058

2,279
11,918
3,192
1,138
18,527

T R A N SP O R T A T IO N

D uring April freight traffic handled by railroads
operating in this district, according to officials of
reporting lines, was less than during the preceding
month and the corresponding period a year earlier.
For the first four m onths of 1940, however, freight
traffic handled was larger than during the same
period last year, due prim arily to the fact th a t load­
ings of miscellaneous freight, the m ost significant
class w ith regard to the general freight movement,
were well ahead of last year.
Page 4




T he St. Louis Term inal Railw ay Association,
which handles interchanges for 28 connecting lines,
interchanged 74,870 loads in April, com pared w ith
84,595 loads in M arch and 77,911 loads during April,
1939. D uring the first nine days of M ay the inter­
change am ounted to 23,654 loads, which compares
w ith 22,410 loads during the corresponding period
in April and 23,759 loads during the first nine days
of M ay last year. Passenger traffic of the reporting
roads in April decreased 1.8 per cent in num ber of
passengers carried and 6.0 per cent in revenue as
compared w ith April, 1939.
Loadings of revenue freight for the entire country
for the first eighteen weeks this year, or to M ay 4,
totaled 11,324,713 cars, against 10,345,464 cars for
the sim ilar period in 1939 and 9,821,301 cars in 1938.
E stim ated tonnage of the Federal B arge Line be­
tween St. Louis and New O rleans in April was
165,900 tons, against 157,517 tons in M arch and
168,935 tons in April, 1939. For the first four m onths
this year cum ulative tonnage was 486,066 tons, as
compared w ith 613,002 tons for the same period
last year.
W H IS K E Y

Of the 60 distilleries in K entucky, 38 were reported
in operation in mid-May, a decrease of four from
last m onth. T here has been no m aterial change in
the industry during the last th irty days.
Bulk prices are reported steady w ith production
as a rule m aintained on a replacem ent basis. Stocks
of bulk whiskey are in firmer hands and recently
jobbers were unable to obtain sufficient quantity of
distressed stocks at bargain prices to fill cut-rate
demands. H ow ever, a slight reduction in the price
of bottled-in-bond goods on the p art of some of the
larger distillers recently was made to m eet com peti­
tion of cheaper brands. T otal consum ption in the
period under review was reported as som ew hat
below the same period for last year, although the
percentage of bottled-in-bond w hiskey continues to
increase as com pared w ith total consumption.
A G R IC U L T U R E

Farming Conditions — Farm w ork generally
throughout the E ighth Federal Reserve D istrict,
according to reports of the U. S. D epartm ent of
A griculture and agricultural departm ents of the
several states, has been retarded during the past
m onth because of the w et condition of fields. T he
precipitation was very beneficial and has restored
subsoil m oisture satisfactorily. In early M ay w ith
the aid of w arm er days and nights some progress
was made in sections of the district.
D uring the second week of M ay soil preparations

for corn planting were begun and some planting
was under way in M issouri and Illinois. In A rkan­
sas the ground has been too cold and w et for satis­
factory grow th of the crop. Germ ination has been
poor in m any sections, requiring some replanting.
Seeding of the rice crop has been delayed by rains
and cool w eather but planting is expected to be
resum ed in A rkansas w ith w eather clearing in that
State. Oats, rye and barley have made slow grow th
w ith condition of the crops ranging from poor to
good. Condition of pastures throughout the district
showed some im provem ent since the first of April
and on M ay 1 pastures were 73 per cent of normal,
compared w ith 65 per cent on the earlier date. They
were still under the 80 per cent average of 1939 and
the 10-year (1929-1938) average of 77 per cent.
Prices of farm products rose to the highest level
of the year during the week ended April 27, when
the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics index was re­
ported at 71.6 per cent of the 1926 average. The
increase was due prim arily to higher prices for
grains and livestock. D uring the week ended May
4 prices declined slightly to 71.3 per cent of the
1926 average, as compared w ith 67.0 per cent on
April 6 and 63.6 per cent on M ay 6 , 1939.
Cotton — P lanting of cotton has been delayed and
up to M ay 1 only a small part of the crop had been
planted. H ow ever, the crop made poor progress due
to unfavorable w eather conditions, and much re­
planting was necessary. D uring the early part of
May conditions were more favorable and much
planting and replanting were accomplished. Accord­
ing to the National Fertilizer Association, consump­
tion of fertilizer in states of the district, as indicated
by the sale of tax tags, during the first four months
this year was 6.4 per cent and 4.0 per cent greater,
respectively, than a year and tw o years earlier. In
the St. Louis m arket the m iddling grade of cotton
ranged from 10c to 10.55c betw een April 15 and
M ay 15, closing at 10c on the latter date, which
compares w ith 10.40c on April 15 and 8.60c on May
15, 1939.
Combined receipts at A rkansas and M issouri com­
presses from A ugust 1,1939, to May 10,1940, totaled
1,811,335 bales, against 1,568,190 bales during the
corresponding period a year earlier. Shipm ents dur­
ing the period am ounted to 2,060,602 bales, against
840,319 bales in the previous season. Stocks on
hand as of May 10 were 1,106,154 bales, compared
w ith 1,542,792 bales on the corresponding date in
1939. On April 26 stocks on hand at A rkansas com­
presses totaled 985,285 bales, falling below the
1,000,000 bale m ark for the first tim e since Septem ­
ber 23, 1938. Since the latter date, the largest vol­




ume reported was on October 30, 1939, when stock
totaled 1,780,321 bales. As of the May 10 report date
stock on hand at A rkansas compresses was 955,561
bales.
Fruits and Vegetables—T ruck crops in the south­
ern tiers of the district are progressing slowly and
will average from ten days to tw o weeks later than
usual. In the northern sections of the district cool,
wet w eather has hindered soil preparations and
/
planting, which in m any cases are now just getting
under way.
In Arkansas straw berries are blooming but ripen­
ing slowly. T he crop will be short, due to the late
freeze, with an estim ated loss, according to the U. S.
D epartm ent of A griculture, of about 10 per cent.
The Tennessee crop was severely injured by the
freeze of mid-April and production is estim ated
about 8 per cent less than last year. The A rkansas
peach crop, according to the U. S. D epartm ent of
Agriculture, will be 20 per cent smaller than last
year, but about one-fifth greater than average pro­
duction in the ten preceding years. Dam age to
peaches in southeast M issouri appears to be neg­
ligible, while a light crop is predicted for Illinois.
Outlook for other fruits, such as cherries, pears and
apples, appears to be good. Dam age to fruits by
previous low tem peratures has been overestim ated.
Livestock— Receipts at the National Stock Yards
during April were alm ost one-quarter larger than
during the same m onth last year and about 10 per
cent more than during M arch this year. These in­
creases were due to large receipts of hogs because
of last year’s large pig crop and the unfavorable
relation betw een corn and hog prices from the feed­
ing standpoint. Stocks of hay on farm s May 1 were
35.4 per cent less than the record stocks of last year,
but almost one-quarter more than the 10-year (19291938) average.
Receipts and shipm ents at St. Louis as reported
by the National Stock Y ards were as follows:
R eceipts________
Apr.,
1940

Mar.,
1940

Apr.,
1939

______ Shipments*
Apr.,
1940

Mar.,
1940

Apr.,
1939

30,,269 26,440 31,028
Cattle and C alves. . . , , 90,099 81,711 84,253
83,245 90,534 45,312
H ogs ........................... . .272,428 249,419 198,806
1,891
2,339
1,567
2,747
3,277
Horses and M u le s.. . .
1,353
2,134
7,456
. . 35,722 32,274 38,500
6,175
399,602 366,681 323,898 121,256 121,855 85,687
* Includes only stock shipped from yards for slaughter in other markets
or to farms for feeding purposes.

According to the U. S. D epartm ent of A griculture,
early lambs developed slowly and the proportion
that will be m arketed before July 1 m ay be below
average. In the lam bing areas April was cool and
conditions as a whole were unfavorable. Late pas­
tures also have affected the crop. In states of the
Eighth D istrict milk production per cow on May 1
Page 5

was 5.7 per cent less than in 1939 and 3.4 per cent
smaller than the 10-year average.
Tobacco — Because of unseasonable weather
throughout the tobacco producing sections, growth
of plants has been greatly retarded and in a number
of instances farm ers have had to resow plant beds.
Due to excess am ount of rainfall, farmers have been
greatly delayed in spring plowing but lately open
w eather and normal tem peratures have perm itted
some cultivation.
Prices received for Green River and one sucker
tobacco averaged less than for the 1938 crop. In the
Green River district plants of the new crop are re­
ported small for this season of the year, with some
of the lowlands having been flooded because of
excessive rainfall. The one sucker plants are also
small but are reported in healthy condition.
The eastern and w estern dark fired m arkets are
now reported closed and there remains in the hands
of growers only a negligible quantity of tobacco of
the 1939 crop. Final figures for the 1939 western
district crop show a total of 15,822,741 pounds sold
at an average of $7.34 per cwt. In the eastern dis­
trict m arkets 51,692,670 pounds were sold at an
average of $10.98 per cwt. Plants of this type of
tobacco are small and because of delay in working
the ground, it is indicated the crop will be set out
very late.
Winter Wheat — According to the May 1 report
of the U. S. D epartm ent of A griculture, estimated
production of w inter w heat in states of the Eighth
D istrict will be 88,944,000 bushels, against 103,642,000 bushels in 1939 and the 10-year (1929-1938)
average of 100,916,000 bushels. The crop has im­
proved generally but grow th has been rather slow
due to cold w^eather. The best fields are approx­
im ately 18 inches in height and a large percentage
of the crop has jointed. Sunshine and warmer
w eather are generally needed.
As of M ay 1 the estim ated acreage of winter
w heat rem aining for harvest in the entire country
was 34,076,000 acres. This compares with 37,802,000
acres harvested last year and a 10-year average of
39,453,000 harvested acres.
B U IL D IN G

The dollar value of perm its issued for new con­
struction in the five largest cities of the district in
April was 25.3 per cent less than in March and 18.5
per cent greater than in April, 1939. According to
statistics compiled by the F. W . Dodge Corporation,
construction contracts let in the Eighth D istrict in
April am ounted to $17,371,000, which compares with
Page 6




$19,287,000 in M arch and $21,069,000 in April, 1939.
Building figures for April follow :
N ew C onstruction
(C o st in
th o u san d s)

30.
40
145
463
M em p h is.........
.
451
St. L o u is . .
A pr. T o tals. . . 1,129
M ar.
“ . . . . 1,022
578
Feb.
“
E van sv ille. . . .
L ittle R o c k . . .

23
25
104
297
265
714
918
571

R epairs, etc.

C ost
1940
1939

P erm its
1940 1939
$

88
79
235
678
1,031
2,111
2,825
1,786

P e rm its
1940 1939

$

71
67
221
516
907
1,782
1,845
2,517

152
104
88
232
210
786
634
453

1940

136
92
60
196
220
704
668
365

C o st
1939

$ 66
30
137
98
176
507
439
668

$ 62
43
31
110
235
481
540.
256

C O M M O D ITY PR IC ES

Range of prices in the St. Louis m arket betw een
April 15 and May 15, 1940, w ith closing quotations
on the latter date and on M ay 15, 1939, follow s:
Close
H ig h

Low

W heat
* M a y ..................... per bu. $1.08^4
“
1.0 7 / 2
* J u ly .....................
“
* S ep t......................
1.07 H
N o. 2 red w inter
1.15J4
C orn
“
.655^
* M a y .....................
“
.66H
* J u ly ......................
“
.667/s
* S e p t......................
.70
N o. 2 m ixed
N o. 2 w h ite . . . .
.7 6 /2
O ats
“
.42
* M a y .....................
“
* J u ly .....................
.3754
•3454
*S ep t.......................
N o. 2 w h ite. . . .
.4654
F lo u r
Soft p a te n t.
•perb b l. 7.05
“
S p rin g “ .........
6.40
per lb.
.1055
per cwt. 6.47
^N om inal quotations.
-{-Close on M ay 14.

M ay 15, 1940
$

$ .8254
.8 2 ^
.8254
.97

.8254

.825/8

M ay 15, 1939
$

.75
.7154
.7154
.83

.8254
.97

.5 6 /

.5654
.5654
.5 65/8
.71
.355/6
.3254
.30,
.42

.355^
.3254
.305/6
.42

6.00
5.90
.1000,
4.94

6 .2 5 @ 7 .0 5 f
6 .1 5 @ 6 .4 0 f
.1000
5.55

.46^8
.48
.4854
.51
.59

.5654
.565/6
.6354
.7154

.63/2

.3256
.3154

.29H
.36
4 .5 0 @ 5.65

5.55 @ 5.85
.0860
6.76

C O N SU M P T IO N OF EL E C T R IC IT Y

Public utilities companies in six large cities of the
district report consum ption of electric current by
selected industrial custom ers in April as being 0.5
per cent more than in M arch and 10.3 per cent
greater than in April, 1939. Detailed figures follow :
(K .W .H .
in th o u s.)

A pr.,
M ar.,
N o. of
C u sto m ­ 1940
•
1940
ers
K .W .H . K .W .H .

. ..
L ittle R o c k .,.. .
...
,..
P in e B lu ff. . . . . .
...
...

40
35
82
31
20
221
429

3,383
1,936
9,452
2,768
739
26,858
45,136

A pr.,
A pril, 1940
com pared w ith
1939
K .W .H . M ar., 1940 A p r., 1939

3,723
1,998
9,657
2,553
688
26,308
44,927

3,303
1,861
7,840
2,296
899
24,718
40,917

—
—
—
+
+
+
+

9.1%
3.1
2.1
8.4
7.4
2.1
0.5

+ 2.4%
+ 4.0
+ 2 0 .6
+ 20.6
— 17.8
+ 8.7
+ 10.3

L IF E IN SU R A N C E

Sales of new, paid-for, ordinary life insurance in
states including the E ighth D istrict during April,
the preceding m onth, and a year ago, together w ith
the cum ulative totals for the first four m onths this
year and the comparable period in 1939 are shown
in the following table :
( I n th o u san d s
of dollars)

A pr.,
1940

,$ 3,297
48,068
13,904
. 5,382
K e n tu ck y
.
M ississippi . , 3,438
. 17,444
M issouri
T ennessee . . . 6,825
98,358
U n ite d S ta te s .574,453

A rk an sas

M ar.,
1940

A p r.,
1939

$ 3,237
48,725
13,628
5,651
3,111
17,117
7,701
99,170
567,872

$ 2,934
38,636
11,756
5,357
3,056
16,204
6,473
84,416
495,650

C um ulative
1940
1939
$

11,991
183,338
50,734
21,254
11,750
63,998
26,440
369,50.5
2,166,159

$

14,587
196,396
54,460
25,925
12,364
77,269
30,859
411,860
2,334,651

C um ul.
change
— 17.8%
— 6.6
— 6.8
— 18.0
— 5.0
— 17.2
— 14.3
— 10.3
7.2

B A N K IN G A N D F IN A N C E

V ery little change was reflected in E ighth D istrict
banking and finance during the past month. De­
mands for credit in m ost parts of the district were
not very large. In the rural areas the planting sea­
son is late in g etting under way and requirem ents
are not as yet known. C redit requirem ents of mer­
cantile and m anufacturing interests, as indicated by
loans at commercial banks, were about the same as
last m onth and a year ago. Up to the middle of May
loans to millers and grain handlers were reported
ahead of last m onth and activity very good.
M ember Banks — A t reporting E ighth D istrict
member banks as of M ay 15 total loans and invest­
m ents were 1.2 per cent more than on April 17 and
4.8 per cent larger than on May 17, 1939. Total
loans increased slightly during the m onth and were
5.9 per cent more than a year earlier. Holdings of
securities at reporting m ember banks continued to
increase, and on May 15 were 1.6 per cent larger
than a m onth earlier and 3.9 per cent more than at
mid-M ay last year. T he increase in the securities
item was due principally to larger holdings of T reas­
ury bills, wT
hich increased 15.2 per cent during the
m onth and was 37.2 per cent larger than on May 17,
1939. Gross deposits of reporting m ember banks on
the mid-M ay report date were slightly larger than
a m onth earlier and 11.2 per cent more than on May
17 last year. Reserve balances w ith the Federal
Reserve Bank were 2.2 per cent larger than last
month and about one-quarter more than last year.
Reserves declined during the last weeks of April
and early May, but in the second week of May
turned upward.
Statem ent of the principal resource and liability
items of the reporting m ember banks follows :
Change from
May 15,
Apr. 17,
May 17,
(I n thousands of dollars)
1940
1940
1939
Com m ercial,industrial,agricultural lo a n s .. . $189,279 +
437
+
80
Open market p a p e r .............................................
10,484 —■ 277
-j- 7,780
4,858 +
463
—
107
Loans to brokers and dealers.........................
Other loans to purchase and cariy securities.
12,747 +
277
—
275
Real E state lo a n s................................................... 53,356 +
694
+ 4,096
Loans to banks.....................................................
772 —
211
— 2,421
Other loans..............................................................
58,867 +
587
+ 9,244
Treasury b ills.........................................................
59,001 + 7,768
+ 1 6 ,0 0 9
Treasury n o tes.......................................................
32,564 +
235
— 15,129
U . S. bon ds............................................................. 151,794 —
9
+ 3,404
O bligations guaranteed by U .S . Government 67,560 -—■ 1,921
+ 2,471
Other securities....................................................... 107,878 +
588
+ 8,981
Balances with dom estic ban k s......................... 175,889 — 15,179
+ 3 4 ,9 2 2
Demand deposits— adjusted*............................ 470,482 — 6,647
+ 3 9 ,4 4 2
Time deposits......................................................... 190,825 +
261
+
514
U. S. Government deposits..............................
17,0,04 +
86
— 3,093
Inter-bank d e p o s its .............................................. 363,571 + 3,609
+ 6 5 ,4 3 6
B o r r o w in g s................................................................................
.........
.........
*
Other than inter-bank and Government deposits, less cash items on
hand or in process of collection.
Above figures are for 24 member banks in St. Louis, Louisville, Mem­
phis, L ittle Rock and E vansville. Their resources comprise approximately
62.0% of the resources of all member banks in this district.

The aggregate am ount of savings deposits held by
selected m em ber banks as of May 1 was slightly
more than on April 3, and 1.4 per cent more than
on May 3, 1939.




As of May 15 interest rates at downtown St. Louis
banks remained unchanged as follow s: Custom ers’
prime commercial paper, 1H to 5H per cent; col­
lateral loans, 21 to 6 per cent, and loans secured by
A
warehouse receipts, W\ to 5H per cent.
Federal Reserve Operations — T he volume of the
major operations of the Federal Reserve Bank of St.
Louis, during April, 1940, is indicated b e lo w :
(In cl. Louisville, M em phis, L ittle R ock branches)

Pieces

A m ounts

Checks (cash item s) h a n d le d ................................
5,678,532 $1,192,260,048
30,805,412
Collections (non-cash item s) h a n d le d ................
121,285
284,838,829
T ransfers of fu n d s ......................................................
4,548
28,229,561
C urrency received an d c o u n te d ..............................
8,863,148
961,837
Coin received and c o u n te d .....................................
9,366,575
R ediscounts, advances and c o m m itm en ts.........
482,397
13
N ew issues, redem ptions, and exchanges of
18,697,977
securities as fiscal a g en t of U . S. G ovt., etc.
12,881
Bills and securities in c u stody— coupons clipped 9,441
...............................

Changes in the principal assets and liabilities of
this bank appear in the following table :
( I n thousands of dollars)
In d u s tria l advances u n d e r Sec. 1 3 b . . . .
O ther advances and re d isco u n ts. ............
Bills bought (including participations) .

M ay 18,
1940
>
75
620
l ’ 3,' 388
l
114,083

T otal earning a s s e ts .

395,435
314,922
192,541
In d u stria l com m itm ents un d er Sec. 13b. .
R atio of reserve to deposit
and F . R. N ote lia b ilitie s .........................

179
77.9%

C hange from
A pr. 18, M ay 18,
1939
1940
60 +
55
+
564
+ 530 +
2
■0 + ' 287 — 10,786
+ 877 — 10,169

+
+
—
—

2,298
4,915
373
1

— 0.3%

+
+
+
—
+

57,603
38,556
12,0,43
420
4.0%

Following are the rates of this bank for accom­
modations under the Federal Reserve A ct:
A dvances to banks, secured by direct obligations of
the U nited S tates, u n d e r p a ra g ra p h 13 of Section, 1 3 ..1
% per a nnum
A dvances to m em ber banks, u n d e r p a ra g ra p h 8 of Sec­
tion 13, secured by dire c t obligations of the U n ite d
S tates or by such G overnm ent g u a ra n te ed o b lig a ­
tions as are eligible for co llateral th e re u n d e r................ 1 % per annum
R ediscounts and o th e r advances to> m em ber banks
under Sections 13 and 1 3 a ................................................ ..
1 V* % p e r annum
A dvances to m em ber banks u n d e r Section 10b................ 2 % per annum
A dvances to individuals, firms, an d corporations, o th e r
th a n banks, secured by d irect obligations of the
U nited States, u nder p a ra g ra p h 13 of S ection 1 3 ......... . 4 % per annum
R ediscounts, purchases, and advances to ^ m em ber
banks, nonm em ber banks, and o th e r financing in s ti­
tutions, u n d e r Section 1 3 b :
(a ) O n portion for w hich such in stitu tio n is obligated 3 Yi % p er annum
(b) O n rem aining p o rtio n .................................................. 4 % p er annum
C om m itm ents, n o t exceeding 6 m onths, to m em ber
banks, nonm em ber banks, and o th e r financing in sti­
tutions, to rediscount, purchase, o r m ake advances,
u nder Section 1 3b ......................................................................... J 4 % f ia t
Advances to established in d u strial or com m ercial ( 4
% to
businesses u n d er Section 1 3 b ................................................I 5 Yi% p er annum

On May 1, the Dupo State Savings Bank, Dupo,
111., became a member of the System.
Debits to Individual Accounts — The following
comparative table of debits to individual accounts
reflects spending trends in this d istric t:
( I n thousands
of dollars)

A pr.,
1940

E l D o ra d o ,. . . . A rk.$
5,579
12,125
F o rt Sm ith, . . . . “
“
1,725
L ittle R o ck ,. . . . “
40,327
“
6,888
Pine Bluff, . . .
7,251
T exarkana, A rk. -Tex.
B .S t.L .-N a t.S .Y .,. 111. 37,751
“
8,922
Q u in c y ,..............
E v an sv ille,......... In d .
33,444
..K y . 154,830
Ow ensboro,
5,901
G reenville,. . . . . M iss.
4,966
Mo. 596,677
2,155
“
S pringfield,. . . .
15,763
Tenn. 140,942
......... 1,0.75,246

(Completed May 24, 1940)

A pr.,
1939

M ar.,
1940
$

5,606
12,705
2,001
41,596
8,109
8,244
34,289
8,838
32,161
171,366
5,951
5,720
581,433
2,230
14,537
137,036
1,071,822

$

5,149
10,499
1,489
34,891
6,806
7,079
31,747
8,335
■29,406
137,502
7,285
4,853
526,483
1,889
12,796
107,452
933,661

A p r.,’40 comp, w ith
M ar.,’40 A p r.,’39
— 0,5%
— 4.6
— 13.8
— 3.1
— 15.1
— 12.0
+ 10.1
+ 1.0
+ 4.0
— 9.6
— 0.8
— 13.2
+ 2.6
— 3.4
+ 8.4
+ 2.9
+ 0.3

+ 8.4%
+ 15.5
h 15.8
-15.6
- 1.2
- 2.4
-18.9
- 7.0
-13.7
-12.6
-19.0
+ 2.3
+ 13.3
f-14.1
1-23.2
+ 31.2
+ 15.2

Page 7

N A TIO N A L SUMMARY O F B U S IN E S S CO N D ITIO N S
B Y B O A R D O F G O V E R N O R S O F F E D E R A L R E S E R V E SY ST E M
INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION

Index of physical volum e of production, adjusted for sea­
sonal variation, 1923-1925 average = 100. Durable manu­
factures, nondurable manufactures, and minerals expressed
in terms of points in the total index. B y months, January,
1934, to April, 1940.
DEPARTMENT STORE SALES AND STOCKS
PER CENT

PER CENT

Indexes of value of sales and stocks, adjusted for seasonal
variation, 1923-1925 average = 100. B y months, January,
1934, to April, 1940.
FREIGHT CAR LOADINGS
POINTS IN TOTAL INDEX

POINTS IN TOTAL INDEX

Index of total loadings of revenue freight, adjusted for
seasonal variation, 1923-1925 average = 100. M iscellaneous,
coal, and all other expressed in terms of points in the total
index. B y months, January, 1934, to April, 1940.
MONEY

RATES

IN

NEW

YORK

CITY

TREASlJRY BONDS
(12 Y .A» AN OVER)
E IS D

IK
.
'

—

KA

RESERVE BANK
DISCOUNT RATE ,
»
'x
i\. * A

/^

TREASU IRY NOTES
(3-5 YEARS)

k
%

TREA!5URY BILLS
(m
e

v\ , v

'

______ / w ,

1934

1935

1936

1937

1938

1939

1940

For weeks ending January 6, 1934, to M ay 18, 1940.

Page §




Production — The Board’s seasonally adjusted index of industrial pro­
duction for the month of April was 102, compared with 104 for March and
109 for February. Steel ingot production was steady during April at slightly
over 60 per cent of capacity as compared with an average rate of 64 per cent
in March. In the first half of May output rose sharply and currently is
scheduled at about 70 per cent of capacity. Automobile production in April
continued at about the March rate, although ordinarily there is an increase
at this season, and in early May declined somewhat. Retail sales of new cars
approximated production in April and dealers’ stocks of both new and used
cars remained at earlier high levels. Output of plate glass, used largely by
the automobile industry, declined considerably in April, and lumber produc­
tion showed somewhat less than the usual seasonal increase. In the machinery,
aircraft, and shipbuilding industries activity continued at the high rate of
other recent months.
In the textile industry activity at cotton and woolen mills declined some­
what further in April, following considerable reductions in March. At silk
mills activity remained at a low level, while rayon production was maintained
at a high rate. Output at meat-packing establishments continued in large
volume. There was some further curtailment in shoe production in A pril; in
most other industries producing nondurable goods changes in output were
largely seasonal in character.
Coal production, which usually declines sharply in April, showed only a
small decrease this year. Output of crude petroleum, which had reached record
high levels in March, was largely maintained in April and the first half of
May, although stocks of crude oil were increasing and gasoline stocks were
unusually large.
Value of construction contract awards increased further in April, reflect­
ing principally a rise in contracts for private building, according to figures
of the F. W. Dodge Corporation. Awards for private residential building
were in somewhat larger volume than a year ago. Private nonresidential
building was about one-third greater than at this season last year and was
near the previous peak level reached in mid-1937. Awards for public con­
struction, however, were considerably below the level of last spring.
Distribution — Distribution of commodities to consumers showed little
change in April and the first half of May. The Board’s seasonally adjusted
index of department store sales was 90 per cent of the 1923-1925 average in
April, about the level that has prevailed since the first of the year but below
the peak of 96 reached last December.
Total freight-car loadings in April were in about the same volume as in
March. Shipments of coal declined less than seasonally, while loadings of
miscellaneous freight, which include most manufactured products, showed less
that the sharp rise that is customary at this season. In the early part of May
increases were reported in shipments of most classes of freight.
Foreign Trade— Exports of United States merchandise, which have been
at a high level since last December, declined somewhat in April. A large
part of the decrease in April was accounted for by the complete cessation of
shipments to northern European countries after outbreak of hostilities there,
but declines were also reported in shipments to most other countries. Exports
to Canada, the Union of South Africa, and France, however, increased.
Shipments of commercial vehicles declined sharply, following a consider­
able rise in March, and exports of iron and steel products, which had been
increasing steadily since last summer, also showed a decline. Exports of cot­
ton and copper decreased further from earlier high levels, while machinery
and aircraft shipments continued in large volume.
During April, the monetary gold stock of the United States increased by
$337,000,000, the largest increase since August, 1939. Acquisitions of gold in
the first two weeks of May totaled $169,000,000.
Commodity Prices — Prices of a number of basic commodities, which
had been declining after a rise in April, advanced from May 10 to May 14.
Increases in this period were particularly marked for imported materials,
such as rubber, tin, and silk. Grain prices rose at first, but subsequently
showed sharp declines. Price changes for other commodities were mixed;
steel scrap advanced, while cotton declined considerably. Prices for certain
steel products, which had been reduced early in April, were restored to earlier
levels on May 1, and producers announced that steel purchased at the lower
prices must be taken by the buyers on or before June 30.
Government Security Market — Prices of United States Government
securities declined sharply from May 10 to May 14, accompanying the fur­
ther spread of war in Europe. Prices of long-term Treasury bonds on May
14 were 394 points below the high point reached on April 2. The yield on the
1960-65 2% per cent bonds rose from 2.26 per cent on April 2 to 2.48 per
cent on May 14.
Bank Credit — Total loans and investments at reporting member banks
in 101 leading cities increased during the four weeks ending May 8. Most
of this increase was at New York City banks and reflected purchases of
United States Government obligations. Deposits and reserves of banks in
leading cities continued at record high levels.