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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Remains Strong
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2013

Individuals currently are inclined to borrow aggressively. Consumer credit outstanding jumped another $16.1B during November following a little-revised $14.0B October increase, according to the Federal Reserve. The latest rise left the y/y gain at 5.9%, nearly its strongest since early-2008. The Action Economics survey called for a November gain of $10.8B.

Use of non-revolving credit lines continued quite strong. During November, non-revolving credit rose $15.2B after double-digit gains in the prior three months. The y/y increase of 8.3% was its strongest since late-2002. Federal government loans rose by one quarter y/y, securitized loans increased 14.8% y/y, credit union lending grew 7.7% y/y and commercial bank loans gained 3.7% y/y. Non-revolving credit accounts for roughly two thirds of the credit total. In contrast, consumers seem less inclined to quickly pull out their credit cards. Revolving credit inched up just $0.8B after a strong $3.5B October rise. The y/y increase remained a moderate 0.7%. Savings institution loans rose 9.5% y/y and credit union borrowing increased 7.5% y/y. Finance company borrowing fell 11.4% y/y.

The figures used in this report are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. There is a break in the credit outstanding data from November 2010 to December 2010 due to the Fed's benchmarking process. Benchmark estimates are based on the Census of Finance Companies (CFC) and the Survey of Finance Companies (SFC) conducted in 2010 and 2011, respectively. The consumer credit data are available in Haver's USECON database. The Action Economics figures are in the AS1REPNA database. 

Interconnectedness and Systemic Risk: Lessons from the Financial Crisis and Policy Implications is the title of Federal Reserve Board Vice Chair Janet L. Yellen's speech and it is available here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2011 2010 2009
Total $16.1B $14.0B $12.0B 5.9% 3.4% -1.2% -4.5%
   Revolving 0.8 3.5 -2.3 0.7 0.1 -7.4 -8.8
   Non-revolving 15.2 10.7 14.2 8.3 5.0 2.5 -1.8
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