A APR. 25, A.M.
DEMAND and PRICE
Approved by the Outlook and Situation Board, April 19, 1957
AGRICULTURAL SITUATION AND OUTLOOK
A continued high level of domestic demand for farm products
is likely in 1957. The flow of consumer income in the first quar-
ter of 1957 was 5 percent greater than in the first quarter of 1956
and retail sales of food stores were about 7 percent larger. Al-
though the rise in economic activity has leveled off, consumer
incomes should continue the rest of this year higher than in 1956.
Foreign takings of U. S. farm products are also at a record rate.
The value of exports for fiscal 1956-57 may total almost a third larger
than the 3- billion dollars of 1955-56, reflecting substantial in-
creases in cotton and wheat exports; shipments under various export
programs still account for more than 40 percent of the total. How-
ever, some slackening in exports is possible in the last half of 1957
as the backlog in export program shipments is worked down.
A cut in crop production appears likely this year if farmers carry
out their spring planting intentions and if weather conditions are aver -
age. Planted acreage may be down 3 to 4 percent from 1956 and the
(Couninued on page 3)
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
AGRICULTURAL MARKETING SERVICE
ECONOMIC FACTORS AFFECTIN AGRICULTURE
Industrial production: Seasonally adj.
Total outlays, seasonally adjusted 2/
Housing starts / Y/
Construction contracts awarded 5/
Manufacturers' sales and inventories: 2
Total sales, seasonally adjusted
Unfilled orders-sales ratio 6/
Inventory-sales ratio J
Employment and wages: 8
Total civilian employment 2/
Workweek in manufacturing
Hourly earnings in manufacturing
Income and spending:
Personal income payments 2/ 3/
Consumer credit outstanding /
Total retail sales, seasonally adj. 2/
Inventory-sales ratio 1/
Wholesale prices, all commodities V
Commodities other than farm and food
Consumer price index, all items /
Prices received by farmers 10/
Livestock and products
Prices paid, interest, taxes and wage
Family living items
Parity ratio 10/
Farm income and marketing: 1i/
Volume of farm marketing
Cash receipts from farm marketinas
: Mil. dol.
: 1956 :1957
: Year I Mar. Dec. Jsa. Feb. Mar.
Bil. dol. :
Mil. dol. :
Annual data for most of these items for the years 1929, 1932 and 1939-56
April 1957 issue of The Deaad sad Price Situation.
appear on page 31 of the
I Federal Reserve Board. 2/ U. S. Department of Commerce. 3/ Seasonally adjusted annual rates.
SU. S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2/ Data for 37 Eastern States, compiled by the
Department of Commerce from reports of the F. W. Dodge Corporation. 6/ Unfilled orders for durables
divided by monthly deliveries. L/ Inventories, book value, end of month, divided by sales. i/ Bureau of
the Census. 21 Starting with January 1957, figures are not strictly comparable with earlier periods
because of changes in definitions of employment and unemployment. 10/ U. S. Department of Agriculture,
Agricultural Marketing Service.
^- '"" '' '
THE DEMAND AND PRICE SITUATION
Approved by the Outlook and Situation Board, April 19, 1957
Agricultural Situation and
Outlook ..................... 1
General Economic Conditions ... 6
Foreign Demand ................ 12
Agricultural Prices and Incomes 15
Livestock and Meat ............ 17
Dairy ......................... 18
Poultry and Eggs .............. 18
Oilseeds, Fats and Oils ...... 19
Feed .......................... 21:
Wheat .......................... 22:
Rice ........................... 23:
Commercial Vegetables ......... 24:
Potatoes and Sweetpotatoes ..... 25:
Fruit .......................... 26:
Cotton ......................... 27:
Wool ........................... 28:
Tobacco ........................ 29:
Continued from cover page -
smallest since World War I. Large acreage cuts likely for wheat, corn, cot-
ton, rice and tobacco are generally in line with goals of the Soil Bank
program. The reductions are only partly offset by increased plantings sched-
uled for sorghums, barley and soybeans. According to recent reports, more
than 21 million acres have been signed under the 1957 Acreage Reserve includ-
ing nearly 13 million acres of wheat, over 5 million acres of corn and 3 mil-
lion acres of cotton as well as smaller acreages of rice and tobacco. Although
reductions in output are likely for these crops, carryover stocks at the
beginning of the season will still be large. In the current marketing year
stocks of cotton, wheat, and rice are being reduced by heavy exports. Carry-
over stocks of corn, on the other hand, are expected to reach a new high.
Combined output of livestock products this year may total about the
same as in 1956. A smaller output of hogs and eventually eggs probably will
be offset by increased production of dairy products, broilers and turkeys;
continued large production of beef cattle is in prospect. Later in the year
cattle slaughter may ease and hog slaughter will stay below a year earlier for
much of 1957.
Prices received by farmers in the first quarter of 1957 averaged 4 per-
cent higher than a year earlier. No significant change from the current level
appears to be in prospect in coming months and prices for the year may average
: The next issue of The Demand and Price Situa-
: tion is scheduled for release on May 23.
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a little above 1?56. Livestock prices will probably continue to average
higher but the average of crop prices may run lower. Because of big supplies,
lower support prices have been announced for 157 crops of cotton, major feed
grains and oil crops. Other support prices are much the same this year as
Prices paid by farmers, including interest, taxes and farm wage rates,
averaged close to 5 percent higher in the first quarter of 1957 than in the
same period a year earlier. Price increases have occurred in most major in-
dustrial items purchased by farmers for living and for farm production. Farm
wage rates on April 1 averaged 4 percent higher than a year earlier. Interest
charges and farm real estate taxes have increased 8 percent and 5 percent,
respectively this year. The parity ratio, currently at about 80, is slightly
below a year earlier and may well continue slightly lower this year.
Although smaller farm output will likely bring some reduction in cash
receipts from farm marketing, there will be a substantial increase in gov-
ernment payments to farmers for participation in the Soil Bank program. The
broad trend of rising cost rates to farmers is bringing increases in produc-
tion expenses even though acreage is being reduced slightly. The increases
largely reflect rising interest and tax payments, together with higher depre-
ciation charges on capital equipment. These overhead items are affected lit-
tle by reduced acreage. Nevertheless, a further increase in farm operators'
realized net income is likely this year, perhaps close to the 4 percent in-
crease that occurred in 1956.
Combined spending for all goods and services--the Gross National Prod-
uct--reached a record rate of 427 billion dollars in the opening quarter of
1957. This was 6 percent above January-March 1956, but less than one percent
more than in the closing months of last year. Industrial production in March
(seasonally adjusted) was steady at 146 percent of 1947-49, compared with 147
in December and 141 in March 1956. Total employment was substantially higher
than March last year. With increased employment and higher wage rates, con-
sumer income (after taxes) was at a first-quarter rate of 295 billion dol-
lars, 5 percent higher than in January-March last year. Retail sales have
held fairly steady at a level some 5 percent above the early months of 1956.
A leveling off in business investment outlays in the last half of 1957
is indicated by a recent survey of capital expenditure plans made by the
Commerce Department and Securities and Exchange Commission. Capital outlays
planned for 1957 as a whole total 6 1/2 percent larger than the high rate of
1956. Scheduled reductions in capital expansion by auto and textile manufac-
turers and by retail firms are more than offset by increases planned by pub-
lic utilities, the railroads, and many manufacturers of capital goods.
Business investment in inventories slackened in the early months
of this year. Although goods on hand at the end of February had a book
value some 6 1/2 percent greater than a year earlier, the ratio of invento-
ries to sales is still relatively low. Prospective trends in demand suggest
little net change in inventories in coming months.
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Outlays for private nonresidential construction, currently about 8 per-
cent above a year ago, also are expected to change little in 1957. However,
expenditures on residential building in the first quarter were down 7 percent
from a year earlier and new home starts were 18 percent lower. For 1957 as
a whole housing starts are expected to total less than a million units. But
bigger homes, higher costs, and increased outlays for alteration and repair
will again help to maintain expenditures on residential construction.
The uptrend in demands from Federal; State and local Governments is
scheduled to continue in 1957 and will likely offset any weakness that may
develop in other parts of the economy. Expenditures by the Federal Government
in the first quarter were almost 7 percent larger than in January-March 1956
and are scheduled to rise further, primarily because of larger outlays for
national defense programs. Demands by State and local Governments are also
increasing; the first quarter rate this year was up 9 percent from a year ear-
lier. The rise in the coming year may be more rapid, especially if work picks
up on the new highway program. Expenditures for schools and other local
facilities also are expanding in most areas.
Consumer buying this year probably will respond to continued high con-
sumer incomes. Purchases of food, other nondurable goods, and services will
likely rise. New car sales so far this year have totaled about the same as
last year. A recent survey of consumer buying plans suggested that 1957 sales
of autos, household appliances and other durable goods will be at least as
strong as in 1956.
Cattle marketing will continue large but are likely to drop below
a year earlier later this year. Some further improvement in fed cattle prices
seems probable but a rapid summer advance similar to that of last year
Hog marketing will continue below a year earlier for most of the
spring and summer but the margin will gradually diminish. Prices are likely
to hold above last year during the summertime rise.
Prices to farmers for milk and butterfat during the rest of this year
are likely to be about the same as a year earlier. National support levels
are unchanged and production and supplies will continue large.
As a result of sharp cuts in hatchings of replacement chicks, egg pro-
duction is expected to be smaller and prices are likely to rise above a year
earlier late this summer.
Broiler supplies continue heavy, but recent increases in chick place-
ments and egg settings in incubators over a year earlier have been progressive-
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Prices of edible oils are likely to be maintained near present levels
through the rest of the crop year. Prices this spring, however, will probab-
ly not equal the seasonal high of last spring.
Large supplies of feed grains and other concentrates are again in
prospect for 1957-58. Although production may show a small decline from the
previous year, larger stocks will be carried into the 1957-58 feeding year.
Some further reduction in the wheat carryover is likely by the end of
the 1957-58 marketing year, to judge from the April 1 condition of the winter
wheat crop, farmers' March 1 planting intentions, and prospective disappear-
Greatly increased exports of rice will substantially reduce the very
large carryover by August 1, 1957, the end of the current marketing year.
Prices of late spring vegetables for fresh market are expected to
average below the high levels of a year earlier, when the harvest was delayed
by cool weather.
With large supplies in prospect, prices received by potato growers are
expected to average lower this spring than in the corresponding months of 1956.
Prices for most fruits this spring will probably continue above a year
Reflecting sharply increased exports, disappearance of cotton during
the 1956-57 marketing year is expected to total about 15.8 million bales,
4.4 million more than in the preceding season. The carryover is expected to
decline by about 2- million bales from the l4- million last August.
Wool prices in early April, when the 1957 domestic wool marketing
season opened, were 10 to 30 percent higher than a year earlier.
The 1957 output of cigarettes, the leading outlet for flue-cured,
burley, and Maryland tobacco, is expected to top the previous record of 1952.
GENERAL ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
Economic activity increased slowly in the first three months of this
year, after the more rapid rise of 1955 and 1956. The value of total output
in January-March--the Gross National Product--according to preliminary
estimates increased 3 billion dollars from the fourth quarter of 1956 to an
annual rate of 427 billion, nearly 24 billion above the first quarter of 1956
(table 1). Much of the increase over the quarter reflected higher prices
rather than larger real output.
The principal weak spots in the economy in 1956 failed to improve in
the first three months of 1957. New home starts declined further to 880,000
in March, a fifth below a year earlier. New car sales through March failed to
gain over last year's reduced level. In addition, business outlays for new
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plant and equipment, one of the principal contributors to the economic expan-
sion of last year, may show little further increase during the remainder of
1957. Consumer income is also rising more slowly than during the past year.
However, government spending has risen at an accelerated rate in recent months
and in the first quarter was 6 billion dollars or nearly 8 percent above a
Business Investment Demand
After two years of rapid growth, capital goods spending appears to be
leveling off. The Commerce Department and the Securities and Exchange Commis-
sion report that outlays for new plant and equipment, estimated at a'seasonally
adjusted annual rate of almost 37 billion dollars in the first quarter, will
rise to 38 billion dollars in April-June and will hold close to this rate for
Table 1.- Gross national product or expenditure, 1955-57
(Billions of dollars, seasonally adjusted annual rates)
: 1956 : 1957
Item :1955 : I : III : V Year: I
Gross national product :390.9 403.4 408.3 413.8 423.8 412.4 427.0
Personal consumption : 254.0 261.7 263.7 266.8 270.9 265.7 275.0
Durable goods 35.7 34.8 33.4 33.0 34.8 34.0 35.5
Nondurable goods : 126.2 130.5 132.3 134.0 134.7 132.9 136.5
Services :92.1 96.4 98.0 99.7 101.4 98.9 103.0
Gross private domestic
investment 60.6 63.1 64.7 65.1 68.5 65.4 64.5
New construction :32.7 32.6 33.6 33.6 32.9 33.2 32.5
Residential (nonfarm) : 16.6 15.3 15.6 15.5 14.9 15.3 14.2
Other 16.1 17.3 18.0 18.1 18.0 17.8 18.3
Producers' durable equip- :
ment :23.7 26.4 27.5 29.5 31.5 28.7 32.0
Change in business
inventories 4.2 4.1 33.5 2.0 4.1 3.5 0
Net foreign investment :-0.5 .1 1.2 1.7 2.4 1.4 3.0
Government expenditures for :
goods and services :76.8 78.5 78.7 80.2 82.0 79.8 84.5
Federal (excluding sales) :46.7 46.4 46.1 47.2 48.3 47.0 49.5
National security : 41.2 40.5 40.7 41.9 43.2 41.6 44.5
State and local 30.1 32.1 32.6 33.0 33.7 32.8 35.0
Source: U. S. Department of Commerce. Preliminary estimates for
quarter of 1957 by the Council of Economic Advisers.
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the remainder of 1957. Gains in public utilities and railroads are expected
to offset declines between now and December in outlays in commercial and other
(trade, service, finance, communication and construction) industries. Outlays
by manufacturing firms, the principal source of the rise in plant and equipment
spending since 1955, are expected to level off in 1957 at a rate about 10 per-
cent above 1956. This same leveling is suggested by a recent survey of capital
appropriations by manufacturing firms by the National Industrial Conference
Board. This report shows that new funds earmarked for capital expansion, as
well as the backlog of unspent appropriations, declined a little in the last
quarter of 1956 but remained well above a year earlier.
Businessmen added 6.4 billion dollars worth of goods to inventories
during 1956. The rate slackened in the first quarter of 1957 with much of the
gain due to higher prices. Although inventories have grown steadily since the
closing months of 1954, stocks are still not large in relation to the expanded
volume of trade. This is true especially of retail trade, where the ratio of
inventories to monthly sales in February was 1.45, compared with 1.58 a year
Further in Earl 1957
Residential construction, after trending downward throughout 1956, took
a further sharp drop in the early months of 1957. Outlays for new homes in
January-March were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 14.2 billion dol-
lars, 7 percent below the corresponding months of 1956 and 17 percent below
the peak third quarter of 1955. Housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted
annual rate of 910,000 in February and 880,000 in March, compared with an aver-
age of 1.1 million in 1956. Applications for FHA mortgage commitments and VA
appraisal requests were down one-third and one-half respectively in March from
a year earlier. An important factor in the decline has been the relative
scarcity of credit to finance homebuilding. Building costs also have risen.
Spending for home building declined less than housing starts because of in-
creased outlays for additions and alterations to existing housing, higher
building costs, and the trend toward larger and more fully equipped homes.
Government spending for goods and services increased substantially
during the past year. Outlays in the first quarter of this year are estimated
at a record annual rate of 84.5 billion dollars, compared with 78.5 billion
a year earlier. About half of the rise was in Federal and half in State and
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From the post-Korean low of 45.7 billion dollars in the fourth quarter
of 1954, the Federal Goverment has stepped up its purchases of goods and
services to a rate of 49- billion in the opening months of 1957. The rise
during this 2 year period has came entirely in national security expendi-
tures; other Federal expenditures totaled a little lower in January-March 1957
than at the close of 1954. Same further increase in Federal expenditures is
in prospect for the remainder of 1957. According to the budget now being con-
sidered by Congress, purchases of goods and services could rise by almost
3 billion dollars above the 48 billion estimated for the fiscal year ending
this coming June 30.
States and their local subdivisions also increased outlays during 1956,
as they have every year since World War II. The 3 billion dollar gain in the
year ending in the first quarter of 1957 brought expenditures to a rate of
35 billion dollars. Increased payrolls and heavy requirements for con-
struction of roads, schools, and many other facilities have been primarily
responsible for the uptrend which has averaged about 9 percent annually in
recent years. Increased Federal aid for highways is expected to contribute to
a further increase in State and local spending in 1957.
Consumer Income and Spending
Consumer income continued its uptrend in 1956 and early 1957. After
deducting taxes, consumer income in the first quarter of 1957 reached a
seasonally adjusted annual rate of 295 billion dollars, for a gain of 5 per-
cent from the corresponding months of 1956. Consumer expenditures on goods
and services also increased about 5 percent. Outlays for durable and non-
durable goods rose less sharply than services. Food store sales also in-
creased in response to rising consumer incomes.
The increase in consumer spending was accompanied by further growth in
the use of consumer credit. From 37g billion dollars of credit outstanding at
the end of February 1956, the total rose 8 percent to 10k billion dollars a
year later. This was equivalent to almost 14 percent of first quarter con-
sumer disposable income. The rise in consumer debt, however, was only half
as great as in the preceding 12 months. Automobile debt especially grew more
slowly, as sales of new cars declined from the 1955 peak. However, new credit
extended on autos, along with all other principal categories of consumer
credit, has continued to exceed repayments.
Sales by retail stores have changed little in the first 3 months of
1957 from the record rate of last December. March sales totaled 16.3 billion
dollars (after seasonal adjustment), 1 percent less than in February but
4 percent above the corresponding month of 1956. Durable goods sales fell
3 percent in March to a level only 2 percent greater than a year earlier.
Sales of nondurable goods have been stable since the start of 1957, and in
March bettered the year-earlier rate by 5 percent. The dollar volume of
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retail sales in February (the latest month for which detailed information is
available) was up from a year ago by 8 percent for food stores, automotive
dealers, and drug and proprietary stores; 12 percent for gasoline service
stations; 7 percent for apparel stores; and 4 percent for dealers in furniture
A recent survey of consumer spending plans suggests a 1957 market for
most consumer durable goods at least as strong as last year. Sixteen percent
of respondents-the same proportion as in 1956--indicated that they intended
to buy a new or used car in 1957, and the average planned outlay was somewhat
greater. A slightly smaller proportion of consumers reported plans to buy
new or existing homes, but a larger proportion than last year plan outlays for
home improvement or maintenance. There was.little change in plans to buy
furniture and household appliances.
If consumer spending on durable goods and business capital outlays
match reported intentions and Government outlays rise as anticipated, the
resulting increase in employment and income should be sufficient to keep total
consumer income rising in 1957. Purchases of food and other nondurable goods
are likely to rise as incomes increase. Spending for personal services is
also expected to increase further in the remainder of 1957, partly because of
Output and Enployment
Industrial output, as measured by the Federal Reserve Board's season-
ally adjusted index, held unchanged in the first three months of 1957 at
146 percent of the 1947-49 average, 1 point below the record set last
December. Expanded output of crude oil and soft coal raised the minerals
index 4 points from February to March to 135, a new record. March output of
nondurable manufactures regained its earlier record level of 131, as pro-
duction of textiles and leather products showed some recovery from the reduced
Durable goods output, however, eased slightly in March, reflecting a
drop in production of primary metals. Steel mill operations were down to
91 percent of capacity in early April largely as a result of reduced deliver-
ies to auto producers. The operating rate averaged 97 percent in January and
February. Auto assemblies also declined in March and early April. Pro-
duction of some consumer appliances has been reduced substantially from late
1956. Television set output has been maintained recently at levels some
30 percent below last October.
With factory output running several percent above a year earlier and
with some price advance, manufacturers' sales in the first 2 months of 1957
averaged 7 percent greater than in the corresponding period of 1956. New
orders have shown little change since the second half of 1956. Declines in
new orders for primary metals and for machinery have been about offset by
gains in nondurable goods. Since December, incoming business has fallen abort
of deliveries so that the backlog of unfilled orders has declined. At the end
of February unfilled orders totaled 61.7 billion dollars, compared with
62.4 billion in December and 57.1 billion in February 1956.
Rise in Employment Slows
Civilian employment increased more than usual during 1956 but in recent
months the rise has slowed. In the first quarter of 1957 the number employed
averaged 63.2 million, a gain of 400,000 from a year earlier. Employment in
manufacturing industries declined from December to March. The average work-
week in manufacturing has also declined since the end of 1956 and in March was
40.0 hours, compared with 40.44 a year earlier.
Unemployment in early 1957 averaged 3.1 million, about 4.7 percent of
the labor force. As a result of a change in definition, this figure includes
some 200,000 to 300,000 persons temporarily laid off or waiting to start new
jobs, who were formerly classified as employed. On a comparable basis, un-
employment in recent months has been almost the same as the low level of early
Farm employment, as reported by the Agricultural Marketing Service, in-
creased about seasonally in March to 6.4 million persons. This was 3 percent
fewer than a year earlier. The decline since last March was entirely in
family workers and was attributable in part to unusually wet weather in the
eastern half of the country. However, there is no apparent halt in the long-
time downtrend in the number of farm workers. In March, the seasonally
adjusted index of farm employment was 57 percent of 1910-14, compared with 59
a year before and a March average, 1952-56, of 63.
A substantial part of the increase in the value of output of goods and
services in 1956 and early 1957 has been due to higher prices. A strong mar-
ket for most consumer and investment goods, near capacity output, and rising
costs of production caused wholesale prices to increase 3.6 percent between
March 1956 and March 1957 and consumer prices to advance by the same pro-
portion over the year ending February.
The rise in wholesale prices appears to have slowed somewhat in recent
months. From last September to March this year the index rose only half as
much as in the preceding six months, and since January it has held virtually
stable. Prices of finished goods and intermediate materials continued to rise
during the first quarter of 1957, but crude materials, especially scrap steel,
copper, and scrap aluminum, declined.
Prices paid by urban consumers reached a record 118.7 percent of
1947-49 in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics index. This
was 3.6 percent higher than in February 1956. Food prices were 4.4 percent
higher, and transportation costs were up 5-9 percent. In no major category
were consumer prices in February lower than they were a year before. Com-
modities advanced more than services from February 1956 to February 1957, but
in the past several months prices of services have increased more sharply
- 11 -
- 12 -
The Agricultural Marketing Service index of prices of farm family
living items was unchanged in March from the February record of 284, nearly
4 percent above a year earlier. Higher prices for food and household fur-
nishings were offset by lower clothing prices.
World Trade and Financial
During 1956 world trade increased 11 percent in value and foreign gold
and dollar assets continued to grow for the fifth consecutive year. Holdings
by free world foreign countries at the end of the year amounted to 28 billion
dollars, 2 billion above a year earlier and about 50 percent above March 1952
when the current rise began. All major trading areas added to their gold
reserves and dollar holdings during 1956 (table 2). However, nearly one-third
of the rise represented extensions of funds by the International Bank and
International Monetary Fund to foreign countries, and substantial gold sales
by the USSR. As in previous years, the bulk of the increase in dollar
reserves of foreign countries derived from net dollar receipts from the United
Table 2.- Estimated foreign free world gold and short term
dollar holdings, December 1956
: : Change from : Change from
Area Dec. 31, : Dec. 31, : Dec. 31,
: 1956 1955 : 195
:Mil. dol. Mil. dol. Mil. dol.
Continental Western Europe : 14,148 908 7,030
Sterling area 3,922 220 149
Canada 2,628 455 471
Latin American Republics 4,119 330 759
Japan 1,167 138 438
Other Asia, and Africa : 1,958 38 174
Total foreign countries : 27,942 2,089 9,021
International institutions : 3,144 -545 -27
Total above : 31,086 1,544 8,994
Increase derived from U. S.
sources 1,061 6,530
Increase from newly mined gold, :
etc. 483 2,464
Board of Governers, Federal Reserve System.
The excess of foreign receipts from the United States over expenditures
of U. S. dollars totaled 1.5 billion dollars in 1956, about the same as in
1955 (table 3). This surplus was used to increase foreign short and long term
dollar assets. The continued growth in foreign assets in 1956 occurred even
though the U. S. exported 3.6 million dollars more goods and services than it
imported. This export surplus was 1.6 billion more than in 1955 and nearly
2i times as high as the 1953-55 average.
Table 3.- United States balance of
(excluding military grants
: : Change
: 1953-55 : 1956 : from
: : : 1955
: Mil. dol. Mil. dol.
U. S. receipts
U. S. surplus on goods and
services 1,481 3,560 1,568
Unrecorded transactions and
other 227 619 168
Total 1,708 4,179 1,736
U. S. grants and loans : 1,895 2,292 125
U. S. private capital outflow : 1,050 2,746 1,593
Pensions, private gifts, etc. :596 640 43
Total 3,541 5,678 1,761
Increase in foreign gold and
dollar assets 1,833 1,499 25
Almost the entire rise in the U. S. export surplus was offset by an
unprecedented outflow of U. S. private capital, totaling 2.7 billion dollars.
In addition there was a small net rise in U. S. economic aid, largely as a
result of disbursements to foreign countries from the proceeds of sales of
agricultural commodities for foreign currencies. The outflow of U. S.
private capital was a major factor in last year's accumulation of dollar as-
sets by Western Europe, Cannada and Latin America. Equally important in
building up the dollar assets of Canada was the transfer to this country of
the dollar earnings of other areas. U. S. military expenditures abroad add-
ed significantly to the dollar earnings of Western Europe and Japan. On the
other hand, the relatively small increase in the reserves of the underdevel-
oped Asian countries was made possible by large scale U. S. economic aid
expenditures in that area.
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The outlook for the remainder of 1957 is for continued stability in
international trade and financial relations. The Suez crisis did not halt
the trend toward the reduction of foreign trade and payment barriers;
adequate funds were marshalled to bolster weakened currencies and assist in
temporary balance of payments difficulties. The International Monetary Fund,
in addition to lending foreign countries nearly 700 million dollars in 1956
(mainly to the United Kingdom), has made available 1.1 billion dollars in
case of future need. The International Bank which disbursed 290 million dol-
lars during 1956, has authorized additional loans totaling 814 million dol-.
lars. The prospect for a continued high level of economic activity indicates
continued high imports into this country. U. S. military expenditures abroad
(exclusive of grants) may decline from the 1956 level of 2.9 billion, but
will remain relatively large. A large volume of U. S. Government funds will
be available from previously authorized but unexpended mutual security appro-
priations and from the proceeds of foreign currency sales. Economic con-
ditions abroad and the level of foreign interest rates seem favorable to con-
tinued large scale U. S. private capital outflow. The development of a free
trade area in Europe as a result of the Common Market Treaty will tend to
encourage investment in that area. All these factors will tend to maintain
or strengthen the purchasing power of foreign countries.
Agricultural export programs under Public law 480 will continue to
help those countries needing more farm commodities than they can finance with
their own resources. An additional 1 billion dollar authority for foreign
currency sales is being considered by Congress. A 1 year extension of
PL 480 has been approved by the Senate. In addition to the expanded sales
authority, it provided an additional 300 million dollars for donations of
surplus commodities and would permit barter with Iron Curtain countries.
The value of agricultural exports in 1956 rose 30 percent from the
previous calendar year to a record high of 4.2 billion dollars. Thus far
in 1957 exports are exceeding the July-December 1956 rate of 2.3 billion
dollars and a high rate appears likely to be maintained through June. During
the second half of 1957, however, some slowing down in the rate of exports
appears likely, partly because the previous backlog in export program ship-
ments will have been liquidated.
Exports for the fiscal year ending June 1957 may be almost one-third
above the 1955-56 total of 3.5 billion dollars. The increase will reflect
an anticipated one-third rise in volume-notably in cotton, rice and wheat.
Of the 1956-57 total about 43 percent (2 billion dollars) will represent
shipments under U. S. Government donation, loan, barter, and foreign
currency sales programs. Government financed exports in 1955-56 accounted
for 40 percent (1.4 billion dollars) of the total.
Foreign demand for U. S. cotton at competitive world prices has been
strong and exports in 1956-57 wil be more than three times the previous
year's low of 2.2 million bales. Wheat and flour exports have been stimulated
by damage to the European crops during the winter of 1956 and will total close
to 475 million bushels, 38 percent above last year. Rice exports, aided by
U. S. export programs and the virtual liquidation of foreign old-crop stocks,
will be more than double last year's total of 12 million bags. Exports of
fats and oils will be somewhat above the 4.4 million pounds (oil equivalent
basis) exported last year as exports of soybean oil more than offset a drop
in lard exports. Continued large scale donations of dairy products and some-
what larger exports of meats and eggs will help maintain exports of livestock
products, other than fats and oils, at or above last year. A 15 percent
decline in tobacco exports, as a result of last year's heavy foreign re-
stocking, will reduce exports to around 500 million pounds. Also, heavy
foreign supplies will cause about a 20 percent reduction in exports of feed
grains (particularly barley and sorghums) from last year's total of 8.4 mil-
lion short tons. Other exports, including fruits and vegetables, will gener-
ally equal or exceed last year's level.
AGRICULTURAL PRICES AND INCOMES
Farm product prices continued somewhat above year-earlier levels in the
first three months of 1957, In March the Index of Prices Received by Farmers
gained 3 points (1 percent) to 237 percent of the 1910-14 average compared
with 228 a year before (table 4). Crop prices averaged the same as in March
1956, but prices of meat animalR and dairy products were higher.
The rise in average prices of farm products from March 1956 to March
1957 was accompanied by a slightly greater increase in Prices Paid by Farmers
for commodities and services (the Parity Index). As a result, the ratio of
prices received to prices paid-the parity ratio-in March 1957 was 80,
1 point below a year earlier.
Supplies of most farm products remain heavy. Output of both crops and
livestock reached record levels in 1956, and the carryover of such major crops
as wheat, corn, and cotton were record large. Smaller marketing of hogs in
the early months of 1957 have been primarily responsible for a slight decline
in volume of farm marketing from a year before. The small decline in mar-
ketings, however, was more than offset by the improvement in farm product
prices. Farmers' cash receipts from marketing in the first three months of
1957 totaled 6.4 billion dollars, slightly more than in the same period of
last year. The gain was due 'largely to an increase of 6 percent in receipts
from livestock and products to 3.9 billion dollars. Receipts from cattle and
hogs were well above a year ago because of higher prices. Milk prices were a
little higher than in 1956 and receipts from dairy products were up 6 percent.
Crop receipts in the first quarter were approximately 2.5 billion dollars,
down slightly from the first quarter of last year mostly because of smaller
marketing of wheat and cotton.
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Table 4.- Agricultural prices, March 1956, and
October 1956 March 1957
S 1956 : 1957
Item Mar. .Oct. Nov.. Dec.. Jan.. Feb..Mar.
Prices received, all farm products :228 234 234 237 238 234 237
Crops 236 232 239 240 239 233 236
Livestock and products 221 236 230 234 237 234 238
Prices paid, interest taxes and
wage rates 282 287 289 290 292 294 295
Family living 274 279 281 283 283 284 284
Production 246 250 252 252 255 256 259
Parity ratio 81 82 81 82 82 80 80
Cash receipts in March totaled 1.9 billion dollars, 3 percent above
March of 1956. Receipts from livestock and products were 1.3 billion dollars,
slightly more than last year due to higher prices for meat animals and larger
marketing of dairy products. Crop receipts of about 0.6 billion dollars
were nearly the same as a year ago with larger marketing of corn offsetting
smaller sales of wheat.
With farm operating expenses somewhat higher in the first quarter than
a year earlier farmers' realized net income in the first three months of 1957
including Government payments under the Soil Bank and other programs is esti-
mated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 12.0 billion dollars, compared
with 11.6 billion in the corresponding months of 1956.
Farm Product Prices
Rise on Central Markets
Central market quotations for many important farm commodities gained
in the second half of March and early April. Prices of beef cattle at
Chicago averaged about 5 percent higher in early April than four weeks ear-
lier and hogs (barrows and gilts, also at Chicago) were up almost as much.
Prices of midwestern eggs declined in late March but regained the loss by the
second week in April. North Georgia broilers showed a net gain of about
3 percent over the four-week period. Feed grain quotations generally rose in
the second week of April but remained below their mid-March levels. Oilseeds
were also slightly lower. However, wheat (No. 2 Hard Winter, at Kansas City)
advanced slightly in the second week of April for a small net gain over mid-
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LIVESTOCK AND MEAT
Moderate decreases in livestock production have set the stage for
somewhat higher meat animal prices to producers this year. Cattle marketing
will continue large but will likely drop below a year earlier later in the
year. Hog slaughter will stay below a year before for much of 1957. Lamb
slaughter, currently below last year, may total a little less for 1957 as a
whole. Demand for meat will likely remain about unchanged.
So far this year meat production has totaled about 5 percent less than
in the corresponding months of 1956. Pork output has been down sharply. Lamb
and mutton production has been down a little but beef and veal output has been
up a bit. Meat animal prices have averaged considerably above early 1956.
A smaller cattle slaughter in the second half of 1957 than of 1956 is
expected because of smaller inventories, some losses due to severe western
storms, and the likelihood of smaller marketing off grass this fall following
improved ranges. Feeding will likely continue at a high level during the year.
The number of cattle and calves on feed April 1 in 13 leading States was 4 per-
cent above last April. Producers intended to market a smaller proportion dur-
ing April-June than in these months last year.
Some further improvement in fed cattle prices seems indicated, although
a rapid summer advance similar to last year's is not expected. Prices of
stocker and feeder cattle in mid-April were $2.00-2.50 per 100 pounds above
last April. Prices will decline seasonally from this level but will likely
maintain a modest margin over 1956 prices the rest of the year.
Hog marketing will continue below a year earlier most of this spring
and summer but the margin will gradually diminish. On March 1 hog producers
in 9 leading States planned to increase March-May farrowings 1 percent and
June-August farrowings 3 percent. These small increases would be reflected
in hog slaughter this fall and winter averaging not greatly different from
last fall and winter.
Barrow and gilt prices in mid-April were around $3.00 per 100 pounds
above a year ago. Prices will likely continue above a year ago during the
summertime rise. Prices this fall will likely decline more than last fall
and may reach year-earlier levels.
Slaughter of sheep and lambs is expected to be slightly lower in 1957
than in 1956 and prices will probably average moderately higher.
While meat production in 1957 will be down from 1956, it will be second
only to that year. Consumption per person of all meats is forecast at 159
pounds, 8 pounds less than last year. Beef consumption per person is expected
to total around 81 pounds and pork 64 pounds. Veal and lamb consumption per
person will be close to 1956 rates.
Milk production promises to reach a new high record in 1957, probably
around 2 billion pounds above the revised 1956 total of 125.7 billion pounds.
The number of milk cows on hand is 1 percent below last year but the rate of
milk production per cow is continuing to set new records. This reflects im-
proved quality of milk cows, heavy feeding of concentrates and above average
milk-feed price relationships.
The rate of production per cow for the U. S. as a whole has increased
20 percent in the past decade. Among States the increases ranged from 5 per-
cent for Alabama and Oregon to 35 percent for Ohio and Indiana and 37 percent
for Florida. During the next decade the increase probably will be at least as
large as in the past 10 years.
Prices to farmers for milk and butterfat are likely to be the same as a
year earlier the rest of 1957. National support levels are unchanged and
continued large production will keep prices at such levels most of the time.
Consumption per person of fluid milk increased slightly in 1956. On
the other hand, use of butter and evaporated milk recorded slight reductions.
Milk equivalent of all products consumed was 699 pounds compared to 698 in
1955, 732 in 1947-49, and 791 in 1935-39. Per capital production of milk also
has declined considerably since the 1930's, though there was some rise in the
Price-support purchases have been hovering around those of a year ear-
lier. For the year they may again total the equivalent of around 5 billion
pounds of milk, 4 percent of production. From 1949 through 1956, the equi-
valent of 37 billion pounds of milk was purchased for price support, 4 per-
cent of production in that period. In all, 5,357 million pounds of product
(butter, cheese and nonfat dry milk) were distributed. The total cost of
the quantities distributed was 1,728 million dollars. The Government realized
328 million dollars from disposal of these products. Hence, the net expen-
diture in conducting the dairy support program was 1,400 million dollars for
the eight-year period.
Sale of animals for slaughter constitutes a major source of gross
receipts to dairymen even on specialized dairy farms. Therefore a sizable
drop in beef prices has a considerable effect on income of dairy farmers.
In fact, from 1952 to 1955 reduced income to dairy farmers from sale of
animals for slaughter accounted for considerably more of the decline in actual
cash receipts than loss of income from dairy products. A rise in beef prices,
which is likely in the next few years, may bring about somewhat closer culling
of milking herds which will increase average productivity.
EGGS AND POULTRY
Hatchery output of laying flock replacement chicks through March was
24 percent below last year, and on April 1 the number of eggs in incubators
was 18 percent below the corresponding 1956 date. These reductions are sharp
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enough so that they are unlikely to be offset by any increases later in the
hatching season and the laying flock in the last 3 months of the year will in-
clude fewer pullets than in 1956. (In 1956, more than 60 percent of the
year's replacement chicks were hatched before the end of April.) Egg produc-
tion in the last quarter of the year will be smaller than in 1956, even if
more hens are retained or if the expected increase in rate of lay per bird
occurs. Egg prices are likely to be above a year earlier after late summer.
Egg prices remained sharply below 1956 well into April. The mid-March
U.S. average price received by farmers was 30.6 cents. As is common in the
weeks preceding Easter, prices rose noticeably, with white eggs rising more
than brown. In April and May 1956, mid-month average prices had been respec-
tively 38.5 and 37.5 cents per dozen.
In late April the Department of Agriculture shifted its egg purchase
program from shell eggs to dried egg. Purchases, totalling 1.5 million pounds
in the 4 weeks ending April 19, are for use in the School Lunch Program next
Broiler supplies continue high, though recent increases over a year
earlier in chick placements and egg settings in incubators have become progres-
sively smaller. During May, marketing will be from placements generally
about 5 to 10 percent above a year earlier, but March settings of eggs in in-
cubators, the basis for June marketing, were barely at last year's level.
Turkey hatchings in March were only 3 percent above year-ago levels,
after 43 and 15 percent increases of January and February. In March,
hatchings of light-breed and bronze turkeys were respectively 4 and 7 percent
above last March, while heavy white hatchings were down 16 percent. The over-
all increase was 3 percent for the month. April 1 eggs in incubators were
respectively -4, +9 and -21 percent different from a year ago, indicating an
overall increase of +3 percent in the April hatch. About half the turkeys
raised in 1956 were hatched in April or earlier. The cumulative increase in-
dicated through that month this year is about 8 percent. This is slightly
below farmers' January intentions, but still would provide a record crop for
slaughter this year in addition to the large carryover now in storage.
OILSEEDS, FATS, AND OILS
Farm prices of soybeans during mid-March to mid-April remained relati-
vely stable at a level slightly above the support rate of $2.15 per bushel.
Stocks of soybeans on farms on April 1 totaled a record 116 million bushels,
nearly double a year earlier. Crushings and exports are expected to continue
at a record pace and will absorb most of the huge 1956 crop. Unless new de-
mand develops, farm prices of soybeans probably will continue at about pre-
sent levels and slightly above support.
Most of the carryover of soybeans next October 1 probably will be held
by the Government. About 55 million bushels were under loan in mid-March anda
substantial portion of this probably will be acquired by CCC when loans mature
on May 31. However, part of that taken over will move into trade channels
during the summer if crushings and exports continue as large as now expected.
Prices of edible oils through the rest of the crop year are likely to
be maintained near present levels. Prices this spring will probably be lower
than last spring when they advanced to a seasonal high in May.
Exports of cottonseed and soybean oils and the oil equivalent of soy-
beans in 1956-57 probably will total about 2 billion pounds compared with last
year's record of 1.9 billion pounds. Nearly 60 percent of the edible oils
(not including soybeans) is expected to move out under P.L. 480 and ICA pro-
Early season prospects point to continued high production of food fats
and oils in the 1957-58 marketing year. Output of lard is expected to in-
crease, cottonseed oil to decline and butter to remain near this year's level.
Total supplies of soybeans (including carryover of soybeans) in 1957-58 are
expected to be somewhat larger than in 1956-57.
Farmers had placed more than 17 million bushels of 1956 crop flaxseed,
equal to nearly 36 percent of the crop, under the support program by the
January 31 deadline. They have through April 30 to redeem loans or make
deliveries to CCC under purchase agreements. Little is likely to be redeemed
since prices are likely to remain slightly below support. The volume under
support is about the same as the estimated crop year surplus. Commercial and
farm use is expected to absorb about 32 million bushels of the 49 million
Commercial stocks of flaxseed at the beginning of the present crop year
were 4 million bushels and are not likely to increase. The lower support price
for the 1957 crop and the prospects of another large crop will tend to encour-
age crushers of flaxseed and users of linseed oil to reduce their inventories
to a minimum this spring. Commercial exports through June will continue
small because of increased exportable supplies in other countries, and the
relatively high price of domestic flaxseed in relation to world prices. It is
estimated CCC will acquire about 16 million bushels of flaxseed now under
Disposition of any 1956 crop flaxseed taken over by CCC will begin as
stocks are acquired following the April 30 maturity date for loans and pur-
chase agreements. Limited quantities of flaxseed will be offered periodically
for export sale, which may be crushed in the U. S., provided all of the lin-
seed oil produced is exported. The linseed meal may be exported or sold for
domestic use. Flaxseed will also be offered for domestic sale, basis in
store, for unrestricted use until October 1, 1957, at the higher of the mar-
ket price or the 1956 support rate at point of storage, plus carrying charges
of 1.5 cents per bushel for each month beginning May 1. This pricing will be
reappraised after October 1.
Tung oil output for the current marketing year probably will total
around 3. million pounds, up sharply from a year earlier when production was
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negligible due to freeze damage to the 1955 crop. Through mid-April, produc-
ers had placed 18 million pounds or about 60 percent of the estimated output
under support. Loans and purchase agreements are available through June 30.
Beginning stocks of tung oil on November 1 were 13 million pounds.
Consequently, production plus stocks in 1956-57 may total about 43 million
pounds. Domestic use in the past 5 years has averaged about 50 million pounds.
For consumption to be maintained at this level and assuming no change in
carryout stocks, about 20 million pounds would need to be imported. Imports
from November through February totaled 9.4 million pounds.
Domestic prices of tung oil (southern mills) in mid-April were quoted
near the support level. Export price information from the Argentine in mid-
April indicated that oil could be brought in from that country at prices below
U. S. support levels. The President on March 22 requested the Tariff Commis-
sion to make an immediate investigation of the effects of importation of tung
oil on the domestic price support program for tung nuts and oil under Section
22 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, as amended. The Tariff Commission has
announced a public hearing for May 2.
Another large supply of feed grains and other concentrates is in pros-
pect for 1957-58, although supplies may show a small decline from the
previous year for the first time since 1952-53. The total acreage of feed
grains in prospect for 1957 is slightly larger than in 1956. But the pros-
pective cut of 4 million acres in corn and 1 million in oats from 1956 may
have a greater effect on the total tonnage of feed grains produced than the
sharp increase in acreage of barley and sorghum grains. With 1951-55 average
yields by States on the 1957 prospective acreages, production of feed grains
this year would total about 119 million tons, about 10 million less than in
1956, when corn and barle yields were at record levels. The carryover of
feed grains into 1957-58, however, is expected to increase to a new record of
around 50 million tons, 7 million more than in 1956-57. Another large supply
of high protein feeds also is in prospect, probably at least equal to the
supply this year. The total supply of all feed concentrates for 1957-58,
based on these early indications, would be only about 2 percent below the
1956-57 record of 200 million tons.
The prospective reduction of 5 percent in corn to 74 million acres
continues the downward trend of the past 25 years. This would be about a
third below the all time high reached in the 1930's andwould bring corn
acreage back to the level reached in the 1880's when corn was expanding. The
lower acreage this year reflects the influence of the Soil Bank Program in
the Corn Belt, as well as a continued downward trend in the South. Through
April 5 farmers had signed agreements placing 5.3 million acres of corn
under the Acreage Reserve Program, with heaviest participation in the Western
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Farmers had placed 362 million bushels of 1956 corn under loan and pur-
chase agreement through March 15, 21 million more than in the same period of
1955-56, while much smaller quantities of the other feed grains have gone un-
der price support. Including the 113 million bushels of old corn resealed on
farms and the 875 million bushels owned by CCC, a total of about 1,350 million
bushels was owned by CCC or under loan and purchase agreement in mid-March,
nearly 200 million more than a year earlier. Receipts of corn at primary mar-
kets during October-March were about 38 percent larger than in the same period
of 1955-56, and the heaviest for the period since 1950-51. Sales of CCC corn
totaled over 150 million bushels during the six months, a sizable proportion
of which moved through terminal markets.
Corn prices have made very little seasonal increase so far this marke-
ting year. In the first half of April the price of No. 3 Yellow corn at Chi-
cago averaged $1.29 per bushel, only 4 cents a bushel above the seasonal low
of last October and 14 cents per bushel lower than a year earlier. Corn pri-
ces are expected to continue lower this spring and summer than in the same
period of 1956. Prices of oats and barley have declined since January, but in
early April they were still higher than a year ago. Prices of these grains
have been above the 1956 price supports in recent months and also well above
the recently announced 1957 national average support prices. If the 1957 grow-
ing season is favorable for these grains, prices probably will decline at least
seasonally during the late spring and summer months. Prices of high-protein
feeds have been comparatively stable in recent months with most of these feeds
averaging somewhat higher than a year earlier. With the record production of
soybean meal this year, soybean meal prices continued relatively low in early
April, averaging a little lower than in April of 1956.
The 1957 winter wheat crop was forecast at 669 million bushels as of
April 1. The first estimate of spring wheat production will be made June 10.
Assuming some increase in acreage of durum as a result of the enactment of re-
cent legislation, a slight decrease from intentions in other spring acreage,
and average yields, the spring wheat crop would total around 190 million bush-
els. This together with the 669 million bushels of winter wheat would indi-
cate a total crop of all wheat of about 860 million bushels.
With total disappearance of possibly 950 million bushels (600 domestic
and possible exports of 350 million), a reduction of around 85 million bushels
from the carryover estimated at about 960 million bushels for July 1, 1957
would be indicated for the end of the 1957-58 marketing year.
The new durum program (Public Law 85-13) is available to farmers in
designated counties in California, Minnesota, Montana, North Dakota and
South Dakota, where Durum (Class II) was produced in one or more of the
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5 years, 1952 through 1956. In these counties, farmers may produce 2 acres
of durum for each acre of their farm wheat allotment not planted to other
wheat, to the extent of that part of their allotment not signed up under
the Acreage Reserve Program. The increase in the allotment is limited to
A wheat crop of 860 million bushels would be 14 percent below the
997 million bushels produced in 1956 and 27 percent below the 1946-55 average
of 1,131 million bushels. The reduction results from drought conditions at
seeding time in important hard winter wheat States and the removal of acreage
under the Soil Bank Acreage Reserve Program. On April 12 farmers had signed
up 12.82 million acres of wheat under the 1957 Program. Maximum payments on
this acreage would total 233 million dollars. This acreage includes winter
wheat agreements signed last fall, less cancellations, plus spring wheat
agreements signed through April 12.
Cash wheat prices on April 18 ranged from about 3 cents below the
high for the season to date for hard red winter at Kansas City and 9 cents
below for hard red spring at Minneapolis to about 22 cents below for soft
red winter at St. Louis. The price of soft white at Portland, however, was
about at the high for the season to date. Prices at various markets were
generally about 2 cents above to 6 cents below the loan for the 1956 crop
wheat, except for white wheat at Portland which was 42 cents above the loan.
Through March 15 farmers had placed 251.3 million bushels of 1956-
crop wheat under support which compared with 318.1 a year earlier. With
loan withdrawals and deliveries by producers totaling 83.8 million bushels
this year, 167.5 million bushels remained under the support program through
March 15. In addition, there were 13.1 million bushels of previous crop
Exports of wheat, including products, July through March totaled
about 385 million bushels this year compared with 215 million bushels for
the same period last year. Present indications are that exports will total
approximately 475 million bushels for the marketing year ending June 30.
The rice supply of about 82.3 million cwt. for 1956-57 exceeds the
previous record of 80.9 million cwt. in 1955-56. Domestic disappearance
is expected to total about 25.8 million cwt., which is about average. How-
ever, it is well below the 28.4 million cwt. in 1955-56, reflecting a
smaller amount ground and sold as feed, a measure undertaken to reduce large
Greatly increased United States rice exports are possible in 1956-57
because of the disposal of surpluses which had accumulated in other countries.
Through a combination of various programs, all of the rice owned by the CCC
prior to the 1956 crop deliveries has been committed for export and domestic
use. Depending on availability of shipping, exports during the current mar-
keting year are expected to total about 38.5 million cwt. (rough basis),
compared with 17.9 million in 1955-56. On this basis the carryover could be
reduced from the 34.6 million cwt. last August to about 18 million cwt. Aug-
ust 1, 1957. Exports August through February this year totaled 21.4 million
cwt. (rough basis) compared with 9.0 million cwt. in the same period a year
According to March 1 reports, rice growers plan to reduce planted
acreage in 1957 about 10 percent below last year, primarily as a result of
participation in the Acreage Reserve Program of the Soil Bank. If these
intentions materialize, the 1.44 million acres seeded would be almost 26 per-
cent below the 10-year average and the smallest since 1941. If farmers
plant the acreage reported as intended and yields equal to those in 1956 of
29.65 cwt. are obtained, a crop of about 43 million cwt. would be produced.
With continued large exports, but probably materially below those of 1956-57,
it is expected that some further reduction in carryover may be accomplished
by August 1, 1958.
For Fresh Market
Production of vegetables for fresh market sale is expected to be
significantly smaller this spring than last. Early April estimates indicate
that aggregate supplies of 18 vegetables for fresh market are likely to be
about 8 percent less than in 1956, but 6 percent more than the 1949-55
average. This group last year made up about half of the total spring tonnage.
Among the more important items, substantially smaller production is in
prospect for early spring broccoli, sweet corn, onions and tomatoes, and
slightly less cabbage. On the other hand, substantially larger production is
expected for cauliflower, and slightly to moderately larger production for
early spring asparagus, cucumbers, lettuce, early- and mid-spring snap beans
and spring celery. For other items, larger supplies are likely for early
spring green peas and spring eggplant, but smaller supplies of beets, carrots,
green peppers, shallots and spinach are expected.
While no production estimates are available, indicated acreage of lima
beans is moderately smaller than last spring, while acreage of cantaloups is
substantially smaller and acreage of watermelons is moderately larger. Should
yields be near the average of recent years, on the indicated acreage, produc-
tion of liria beans would be significantly larger than in the spring of 1956,
cantaloups materially smaller and watermelons about the same.
Demand for vegetables is expected to continue strong, but during the
next two or three months many fresh items will continue to face unusually
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keen competition with the processed forms. Thus, despite the prospect of
smaller supplies of fresh items, prices received by producers during the
early spring probably will average about the same as in 1956. Prices in late
spring are likely to average below the high levels of a year earlier, when
the harvest was delayed by cool weather and slow maturity.
During the current marketing season disappearance of most processed
vegetables has been at a high level. Nevertheless, because of the large 1956
pack, heavy supplies of both canned and frozen items are still available.
Indications are that stocks of corn and tomato juice are much larger than a
year earlier, and green peas and tomatoes moderately larger. Stocks of
tomato products and most other items, except snap beans, are also larger.
The general picture is the same for frozen vegetables. Total cold storage
holdings of frozen vegetables on April 1 amounted to 654 million pounds,
204 million pounds more than last year. Biggest increases over a year earli-
er occurred in green peas, peas and carrots, french fried potatoes, asparagus,
cauliflower, mixed vegetables, Brussel sprouts and broccoli.
Uith larger carryover in prospect at the end of the current marketing
season, processors are planning for a smaller pack than in 1956. Intentions
reports for 5 vegetables for commercial processing indicate that packers plan
to plant or contract about 2 percent less acreage this year than last, and
yields are likely to be at least moderately below the high levels of a year
earlier. These, of course, are only tentative indications and subject to
POTATOES AND SWEETPOTATOES
Larger supplies of potatoes are in prospect this spring than last. The
quantity of table-stock potatoes remaining from 1956 fall production appears
to be significantly larger than a year earlier. In addition, prospective
production of potatoes for early spring harvest is up 7 percent, and indica-
tions are that acreage for late spring harvest is up moderately. With larger
supplies in prospect, prices received by potato growers are expected to aver-
age lower this spring than in the corresponding months of 1956. The March 1
Intentions Report indicates that growers of potatoes for late summer and fall
harvest plan to plant 2 percent less acreage than last year. However, even
with such an acreage, yields near the average of recent years would result in
a production lar--er than needed to satisfy anticipated requirements.
Supplies of sweetpotatoes are substantially smaller, and prices to
produce-s materially higher than at this time last year. Intentions reports
indicate that supplies are likely to continue relatively small in the 1957-58
season. Producers plan to plant 3 percent less acreage in 1957. If yields
should be near the 1953-56 average, production would be moderately to sub-
stantially below that of 1956.
Continued strong demand for fruit by consumers is in prospect for this
spring and summer. For exports, the outlook is that the total volume of fresh
and processed fruits will be much the same as the increased volume of last
spring and summer. The level of prices for most fruits this spring probably
will continue above a year earlier.
Deciduous fruit trees and vines in most areas have come through the
winter in good condition. Freeze damage to trees and buds has been reported
in only scattered locations. Current prospects are favorable for the usual
supplies of early-season fruits.
The 1957 crop of strawberries in the early-spring States (Louisiana,
Alabama and Texas), which will be harvested mostly during April and early May,
is estimated to be about 19 percent smaller than the 1956 crop. Acreage in
the mid-spring States is up 7 percent this year. On April 1, 1957 cold-stor-
age holdings of apples were lighter than a year earlier, mainly because of
smaller stocks in New England, New York and Washington. Prices for apples of
good stock at important shipping points tended to increase in late March and
early April. Prices during the past winter have averaged considerable above
a year earlier. Stocks of pears on April 1 were heavier than a year earlier.
With the end of the marketing season near, they comprised only a small percent-
age of the 1956 crop. Weekly average prices for winter pears on the principal
auctions held fairly steady during late March and early April at levels not
greatly different from a year earlier. However, for the season to date,
prices have averaged moderately higher than a year earlier.
Approximately 32 million boxes of Florida Valencia oranges, 2.4 million
more than a year earlier, remained to be marketed after April 13, 1957.
Although movement of oranges to fresh markets was well maintained during
March, movement to processors declined as harvest of the mid-season crop was
nearing completion and as volume movement of the Valencias awaited desired
maturity for processing. Movement of Valencias to freezers and canners is
expected to increase during April and run heavy during May and June. Move-
ment of oranges to processors by April 13 of the 1956-57 season was 5 percent
larger than a year earlier, but movement to fresh markets was about 7 percent
smaller. Prices for Florida oranges at shipping points declined slightly
during March and early April, dropping to a level a little under a year
earlier. Likewise, prices for oranges for making into frozen concentrate de-
clined during late March and early April continuing somewhat under a year
earlier. With the resumption of heavy buying by makers of frozen concentrate,
prices of oranges both for concentrate and fresh market shipment probably will
increase again. Even so, a sharp rise like that of last spring is not expect-
ed. Auction prices for California oranges in late March tended to average a
little under a year earlier despite somewhat lighter shipments. But in early
April they averaged higher than a year previously, when tney dropped sharply.
Remaining supplies of California Navel oranges are about as large as a year
- 27 -
About 4.6 million boxes of Florida grapefruit, 13 percent of the crop,
remained to be marketed after April 13. This was about 32 percent less than
a year earlier, when the crop was moderately larger. Prices for Florida
white grapefruit at shipping points have declined considerably since Januaryl,
but have continued to average substantially higher than a year earlier. Al-
though prices for pink seedless grapefruit also declined somewhat, they have
since returned to the level of January 1. Utilization of Florida grapefruit
for processing has been slightly larger than a year ago, but fresh market use
has been somewhat lighter.
Output of Florida frozen orange concentrate by April 6 was nearly
42 million gallons, 9 percent larger than a year earlier. Stocks held by
Florida packers were up 31 percent. The pack of canned single-strength
orange juice was up 5 percent and stocks were up 24 percent. In contrast,
the pack of canned grapefruit juice was down 3 percent and stocks were about
the same as a year earlier, down 2 percent. Moreover, the pack of canned
grapefruit sections was down 6 percent and stocks were down 14 percent.
Movement of frozen orange concentrate has been slightly larger so far this
season than last, while that of canned orange juice has been a little smaller.
Disappearance of U. S. cotton during the 1956-57 marketing year is
now expected to total about 15.8 million bales, about 4.4 million more than
in the preceding season. Exports may be a little more than 7 million bales
compared with 2.2 million last leason while the estimated domestic mill con-
sumption of 8 3/4 million will fall below the 1955-56 total of 9.2 million.
The carryover next August 1 is expected to drop about 2- million bales
from the 142 million on hand a year earlier. This will be the first reduction
in stocks since 1951.
Domestic mill consumption of cotton during the period from July 29,
1956 through March 31, 1957 totaled 6.0 million bales, compared with 6.3 mil-
lion during the same period approximately a year earlier. It is likely to
continue below a year earlier through the rest of 1956-57 since the ratio of
stocks to unfilled orders for gray goods at mills continued to increase
Consumption of cotton per capital in the United States in 1956 was
about 26.0 pounds. This was 0.5 pounds less than in 1955 but was still higher
than the 1954 level. Consumption of manmade fibers declined even more, down
about 1.2 pounds from the 11.2 pounds of 1955. All of the decrease in man-
made fibers occurred in rayon and acetate as consumption of the non-
cellulosic manmade fibers increased.
Exports of cotton from August 1, 1956 through February 1957 were
about 4.6 million running bales, compared with 0.8 million a year earlier
and the 1955-56 total of 2.2 million bales. Trade reports indicate that
exports continued at a high level in March.
As of April 2, 1957 sales of CCC stocks for export between August 1,
1956 and August 15, 1957 totaled 7.3 million bales. An export program for the
1957-58 season was announced on February 19. Sales under this program were
made on March 19 and April 2 when 1.0 million bales were sold. The average
price for Middling, 1-inch cotton at average location was 27.47 and 27.31
cents per pound, respectively. These prices were close to the average price
for sales under the 1956-57 program on the same dates of 27.42 and 27.58 cents.
Cotton exported under the 1957-58 program must be shipped after August 15,
1957, within 9 months of the delivery of the cotton or warehouse receipts by
CCC to the purchaser and no later than August 1, 1958.
As of April 5 about 3 million acres had been placed in the cotton
acreage reserve for the 1957 crop. Prior to March 1 the maximum limitation on
cotton acreage placed in the acreage reserve was 10 acres or 30 percent of the
farm acreage allotment, whichever was larger. On March 1 it was announced
that those growers who had expressed a wish to do so could place additional
acres over and above these limitations in the acreage reserve but the sign-up
was to be completed by March 11.
In view of the acreage reserve commitments, the acreage harvested for
cotton is likely to be at least 3 million acres smaller than the acreage
allotment for the entire country of 17.6 million.
On February 9 the minimum price support level for the 1957 crop of
upland cotton was announced at 28.15 cents per pound for Middling 7/8 inch
cotton at average location. This compares with 29.34 cents for the 1956
crop. The 1957 minimum support level was based on 77 percent of the mid-
January parity price. This level will be increased if a combination of the
parity price on August 1, 1957 and the supply percentage as of that date indi-
cate a higher level of support. However, it will not decline below the
28.15 cents already announced.
Wool prices in early April, when the 1957 domestic wool marketing sea-
son opened, were considerably higher than a year earlier in domestic and
foreign markets. Most advances were within a range of 10 to 30 percent. Ad-
vances for fine wools were much greater than for other wools. Mid-March
average of prices received by domestic producers for shorn wool was 21 percent
higher than a year earlier. Wool prices advanced over the past year even
though supplies increased indicating a strengthening of world demand.
Producers this year, in addition to their returns from current market-
ings, will receive Government payments under the 1956 incentive program on
their marketing of wool and unshorn lambs during the 1956 domestic marketing
- 28 -
- 29 -
season (April 1, 1956-March 31, 1957). The rates of payment will be based on
the percentage needed to bring the average return per pound of shorn wool up
to the incentive level of 62 cents. Average of prices received during first
10 months of the 1956 season is tentatively estimated at 42.7 cents. Prelim-
inary averages for February and March, the last two months of the season, are
47.5 and 48.7 cents, respectively.
Payments under the 1957 program on marketing of wool and unshorn lambs
for the current season (April 1, 1957-March 31, 1958) will be made next year.
The incentive level remains unchanged at 62 cents. The rates of payment will
be computed as under the 1955 and 1956 programs.
Production of shorn wool in the United States last year is now esti-
mated at 232 million pounds, 1 percent less than in 1955. A further slight
decline is likely this year; the number of stock sheep and lambs early this
year was down 2 percent from a year earlier. Changes in sheep numbers and
shorn wool production over the last 5 years have been slight, with an increase
in the Native or fleece wool States offsetting only part of a decline in the
Western sheep States. About 40 million pounds of pulled wool were produced
last year, in addition to shorn wool. The quantity pulled was about 4 percent
less than in 1955. Combined output of shorn and pulled wool was equivalent to
about 132 million pounds, scoured basis, about 2 percent less than in 1955.
The rate of domestic mill use of both apparel and carpet wool dropped
below a year earlier last November and continued below a year earlier through
February, the latest month for which information is available. The average
weekly rate of consumption of apparel wool during the first two months of
1957 was 13 percent below a year earlier. The rate for carpet wool was down
6 percent. Domestic mill use of wool during 1956 is now estimated to have
been 6 percent above 1955 and 15 percent above 1954. Apparel wool increased
5 and 11 percent, respectively, and carpet wool 8 and 26 percent, respectively.
World consumption of wool during 1956 is tentatively estimated to have
been about 8 percent larger than in 1955 and 11 percent larger than in 1954.
Last year's total consumption was a little larger than production. Use during
the final quarter of 1956 was about 9 percent above a year earlier.
The 1957 output of cigarettes, the leading outlet for flue-cured,burley,
and Maryland tobacco, is expected to be higher than the 424 billion turned out
in 1956 and will probably top the 1952 record of 4351 billion. The 1957 con-
sumption of cigars seems likely to be a little above the 6.2 billion level of
last year.. The consumption of smoking tobacco (in pipes and "roll-your-own"
cigarettes) and of chewing tobacco may decline further. Both have been trend-
in1 dowivward with a particularly shap dcrop in smoking tobacco frao 1955 to
1l5,6. Snuff conmurption is expected to remain fairly stable.
In the current marketing year, preliminary indications are that domes-
tic use of flue-cured, burley, and Maryland tobacco will not be markedly
different than in 1955-56. This is in spite of the increase in cigarette
manufacture. In recent years, the amount of leaf tobacco used in cigarettes
has become more variable. Most filter brands, reported to be still expanding
in production and use, require less tobacco than either regular or king size,
nonfilter tip brands. This plus the use of tobacco sheet and stems, and im-
provements in processing techniques and machinery are enabling manufacturers
to turn out more cigarettes from a given quantity of leaf tobacco.
Supplies of flue-cured for 1956-57 are at a peak but burley supplies
are a little lower than last year and 3 percent below the 1954-55 peak. The
prospective 1957 acreage for flue-cured is nearly one-fourth less than in 1956
and for burley, almost as much as in 1956. Acreage allotments for flue-cured
are one-fifth lower than last year but for burley, almost the same as in 1956.
About 45,600 acres of flue-cured and 6,700 acres of burley have been placed in
the Soil Bank program or 6 and 2 percent of the acreage allotments, respec-
tively. It is estimated that the total supply of flue-cured for 1957-58 will
be about 7 percent below the record 1956-57 level and also, the burley supply
may be down a little.
The supply of Maryland tobacco is up a little from a year ago. The
auctions for the 1956 crop of this type will begin April 30. The average.price
for the 1955 crop (marketed mostly in 1956) was 49.8 cents per pound. The
Government price support level applicable to the season about to start is
47.0 cents per pound. The 1957 acreage of Maryland tobacco may be down about
one-tenth from last year. A sizable acreage was placed in the Soil Bank
The 1956-57 total supply of fire-cured tobacco is the largest in
6 years. Prospective acreage this year is down almost one-fifth and the
1957-58 supply probably will be down moderately. The 1956-57 total supply of
dark air- and sun-cured is at a postwar high. Prospective acreage of the dark
air-cured is 17 percent below that harvested in 1956. Total supply for
1957-58 is not likely to differ much from 1956-57 because of the probable-in-
crease in carryover. The Soil Bank program contributed to reductions in
acreages of fire-cured and dark air-cured tobaccos.
The 1956-57 supply of all cigar binder types combined is below any
previous year and the 1957-58 supply is likely to be still lower. Manufactured
or processed binder sheet continues to expand as a substitute for natural leaf
binders. Growers of Connecticut Valley binder again placed a relatively sub-
stantial acreage in the Soil Bank program, as in 1956.
The calendar.year 1956 exports of unmanufactured tobacco totaled about
575 million pounds (farm-sales weight)--equivalent to about one-fourth of the
1956 crop. Over four-fifths of the tobacco exports was flue-cured. Total
exports in 1956 were about 5q percent lower than in 1955. Some further decline
seems likely this year.
- 30 -
ECOHOM4C FACTOR AFFECTING AGRICUU 9, 9, 1932 AND 1939-56
Item : or : .1929 : 1932 : 1939 : 1940 : 1941 1942 : 1943 : 194 : 1945 : 1946 : 1947 : 1948 : 1949 : 1950 : 1951 : 1952 : 1953 : 1954 : 1955 :p 1956
Industrial production /
Total :1947-49=100: 59 31 58 67 87 106 127 125 107 90 100 104 97 112 120 124 134 125 139 143
All manufactures : do. 58 30 57 66 88 110 133 130 110 90 100 103 97 113 121 125 136 127 1o4 144
Durable goods do. : 60 19 49 63 91 126 162 159 123 86 101 104 95 116 128 136 153 137 155 159
Nondurable goods do. : 56 42 66 69 84 93 103 99 96 95 99 102 99 111 114 114 118 116 126 129
Minerals do. 68 42 68 76 81 84 87 93 92 91 100 106 94 105 115 114 116 111 122 129
Total outlay for new con- : Billion
struction2 : dollars 10.8 3.5 8.2 8.7 12.0 14.1 8.3 5.3 5.6 12.0 16.7 21.7 22.8 28.5 31.2 33.0 35.3 37.8 43.0 44.3
Residential do. 3.6 .6 2.7 3.0 3.5 1.7 .9 .8 1.1 4. 6.3 8.6 8.3 12.6 11.0 11.1 119 13.5 16.6 15.3
Total civilian employment / Million : 47.6 38.9 45.8 47.5 50.4 53.8 54.5 54.0 52.8 55.2 58.0 59.4 58.7 60.0 61.0 61.3 62.2 61.2 63.2 65.0
Nonagricultural : do. : 37.2 28.8 36.1 38.0 41.2 44.5 45.4 45.0 46.2 46.9 49.8 51.4 50.7 52.4 54.0 54.5 55.7 54.7 56.5 58.4
Unemployed : do. : 1.6 12.1 9.5 8.1 5.6 2.7 1.1 .7 1.0 2.3 2.1 2.1 3.4 3.1 1.9 1.7 1.6 3.2 2.7 2.6
payments 2/ # : Bil. dol. :77.7 46.9 67.1 72.6 88.0 111.5 137.6 151.6 156.8 161.1 172.8 188.5 190.8 210.5 235.7 253.1 269.2 271.4 290.9 310.0
Production-worker payrolls :1947-49100: 35.0 11.8 29.9 34.0 49.3 72.2 99.0 102.8 87.8 81.2 97.7 105.1 97.2 111.7 129.8 136.6 151.4 137.7 152.5 161.1
Weekly earnings of production
workers in manufacturing / : Dollars 25.03 17.05 23.86 25.20 29.58 36.65 43.14 46.08 44.39 43.82 49.97 54.14 54.92 59.33 64.71 67.97 71.69 71.86 76.52 80.19
Durable : do. 27.22 16.21 26.50 28.44 34.04 42.73 49.30 52.07 49.05 46.49 52.46 57.11 58.03 63.32 69.47 73.46 77.23 77.18 83.21 86.31
Nondurable do. 22.93 17.57 21.78 22.27 24.92 29.13 34.12 37.12 38.29 41.14 46.96 50.61 51.41 54.71 58.46 60.98 63.60 64.74 68.06 71.68
Agricultural trade : Billion
Domestic exports : dollars 1.7 .7 .7 .5 .7 1.2 2.1 2.1 2.3 3.2 4.0 3.5 3.6 2.9 4.0 3.4 2.8 3.1 3.2 4.2
Imports for consumption : do. : 2.2 .7 1.1 1.3 1.7 1.3 1.5 1.8 1.7 2.3 2.8 3.1 2.9 4.0 5.2 4.5 4.2 4.0 4.0 3.9
Wholesale prices, all
commodities 5/ :1947-49=100: 62 42 50 51 57 64 67 68 69 79 96 104 99 103 115 112 110 110 111 114
Commodities other than farm :
and food do. : 66 50 58 59 64 68 69 70 71 78 95 103 101 105 116 113 14 114 117 122
Farm : do. 59 27 36 38 46 59 68 69 72 83 100 107 93 98 113 107 97 96 90 88
Food, processed do. : 58 36 43 44 50 59 62 60 61 78 98 106 96 100 111 109 105 105 102 102
Prices received by farmers / :1910-14=100: 148 65 95 100 124 159 193 197 207 236 276 287 250 258 302 288 258 249 236 236
Crops : do. : 13 57 82 90 108 145 187 199 202 228 263 255 224 233 265 268 242 242 237 242
Livestock and products : do. : 159 72 107 109 138 171 198 196 211 242 288 315 272 280 336 306 272 255 236 230
Prices paid, interest, taxes
and wage rates / :1910-14=100: 160 112 123 124 133 152 171 182 190 208 240 260 251 256 282 287 279 281 281 286
Items used in living : do. : 154 106 120 121 130 149 166 175 182 202 237 251 243 246 268 271 270 274 273 278
Items used in production : do. : 146 99 121 123 130 148 164 173 176 191 224 250 238 246 273 274 253 252 249 249
Parity ratio 92 58 77 81 93 105 113 108 109 113 115 110 100 101 107 100 92 89 84 83
Consumer price index 2 :1947-49=100: 73 58 59 60 63 70 74 75 77 83 96 103 102 103 111 114 114 115 114 116
Food do. : 66 43 47 48 52 61 68 67 69 79 96 104 loo00 101 113 115 113 113 111 112
Government purchases of goods : Billion
and services / 8/ # :dollars : 8.5 8.1 13.3 14.1 24.8 59.7 88.6 96.5 82.9 30.9 28.6 36.6 43.6 42.0 62.8 77.5 84.4 76.5 76.8 79.8
Federal (less Government
sales) : do. : 1.3 1.5 5.2 6.2 16.9 52.0 81.2 89.0 74.8 20.9 15.8 21.0 25.4 22.1 41.0 54.3 59.5 48.9 46.7 47.0
State and local : do. : 7.2 6.6 8.2 7.9 7.8 7.7 7.4 7.5 8.1 10.0 12.8 15.6 18.2 19.9 21.8 23.2 24.9 27.6 30.1 32.8
Federal Reserve Board.
U. S. Department of Commerce.
U. S. Department of labor for years 1929-39. From 1940 to date, Bureau of the Census.
Monthly totals seasonally adjusted at annual rates.
U. S. Department of labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics.
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agricultural Service.
U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service.
Quarterly totals seasonally adjusted at annual rates.
p Preliminary. # Revised series.
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
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