Recent Updates

  • Spain: Mortgage Market (Aug)
  • Slovakia: PPI (Sep), Business and Consumer Survey (Oct)
  • Palestine: PPI (Sep-Prelim)
  • Sweden: Business Tendency Survey (Oct)
  • South Africa: CPI (Sep)
  • more updates...

Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Outstanding Surges, Again
by Tom Moeller  February 8, 2012

Recent increases in consumers' sense of well-being have encouraged them to make more liberal use of credit. Reported late yesterday, consumer credit outstanding jumped another $19.3B during December after an unrevised $20.4B November gain. A $7.0B increase had been expected by Action Economics. The last two increases together were the strongest since late 2001. It raised usage 3.7% during 2011 following declines of 1.7% during 2010 and 4.4% in 2009.

Non-revolving credit usage, which accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total, surged $16.5B in December, the most since 2001. For all of last year, credit outstanding rose 5.5% after a moderate increase of 1.5% during 2010. Loans by the federal government to students rose more than one-third y/y. Loans by commercial banks increased 2.2% y/y while savings institution lending rose 1.3% y/y. To the downside, pools of securitized assets fell 12.2% y/y. Finance company lending fell 4.1% y/y while credit union loans dropped 1.3% y/y.

Continuing to turn around, consumers' revolving credit balances gained $2.8B during December. Usage during all of last year was roughly unchanged following credit reduction during 2010 and 2009. Credit issuance by savings banks rose 9.9% y/y following a nearly one-third increase in 2010. Finance company lending rose 8.6% y/y while credit union lending increased 4.7%. Pools of securitized assets were off 7.3% y/y. Commercial bank lending fell 1.4% y/y while nonfinancial business credit remained unchanged.

During the last ten years, there has been a 52% correlation between the y/y change in credit outstanding and the change in personal consumption expenditures, although the correlation recently has weakened considerably. The credit figures are the major input to the Fed's quarterly Flow of Funds accounts for the household sector.

The consumer credit data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database.

What Your Credit Report Says About You from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia is available here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding
(M/M Chg, SAAR)
Dec Nov Oct Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total $19.3B $20.4B $6.7B 3.7% 3.7% -1.7% -4.4%
  Revolving 2.8 5.5 0.7 0.1 0.1 -7.5 -9.6
  Non-revolving 16.5 14.8 6.1 5.5 5.5 1.5 -1.2
large image