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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  July 9, 2018

Consumer credit outstanding rose $24.56 billion during May following a $10.27 billion April increase, revised from $9.26 billion. The $8.80 billion March increase was sharply lower than reported last month. The May gain was the strongest monthly increase in six months. A $12.0 billion rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the past ten years, there has been a 50% correlation between the y/y gain in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Nonrevolving credit usage strengthened $14.81 billion (4.6% y/y) during May after a $9.19 billion April rise. Federal government borrowing (42% of the total) rose 8.5% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 3.5% y/y and finance company balances (18% of the total) fell 1.1% y/. Credit union loans (13% of the total) strengthened 8.2% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances increased $9.76 billion in May (5.2% y/y) following a $1.10 billion rise in April. Balances at depository institutions (88% of the total) increased 8.0% y/y. Borrowing from credit unions (6% of the total) strengthened 9.6% y/y. Finance company holdings (2% of the total) fell 8.6% y/y, while nonfinancial business borrowing (2% of the total) fell 4.0% y/y.

These Federal Reserve Board figures 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 contained in the AS1REPNA database.

Understanding Hawks and Doves from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is available here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) May Apr Mar May Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total $24.56 bil. $10.27 bil. $8.80 bil. 4.8% 5.1% 6.7% 7.1%
   Nonrevolving 14.81 9.19 9.86 4.6 4.8 6.7 7.7
   Revolving 9.76 1.10 -1.06 5.2 6.1 6.8 5.4
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