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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Weakens
by Tom Moeller  October 7, 2019

Consumer credit outstanding increased $17.90 billion (5.0% y/y) during August following a $23.06 billion July surge, revised from $23.30 billion. A $15.0 billion gain had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage increased $19.85 billion (5.5% y/y) during August after a $13.70 billion July rise. It was the largest monthly increase since August 2016. Borrowing by the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, rose 7.3% y/y. Depository institutions lending (25% of credit) gained an accelerated 6.7% y/y. It was the strongest y/y advance since January 2017 and double the pace at the end of that year. Meanwhile, finance company balances edged 0.8% higher y/y following declines from 2015 to 2018. Credit union loans rose a greatly reduced 6.4% y/y. Each of these sectors provide roughly 15% of nonrevolving credit.

Revolving credit usage posted $1.95 billion decline (+3.8% y/y) after a $9.36 billion July strengthening. Credit provided by banks, which makes up 90% of revolving balances, grew a lessened 3.9% y/y. It was growing at a 7.5% y/y pace during the summer of last year. Borrowing from credit unions (6% of the issuance) increased a reduced 7.5% y/y. Borrowing from finance companies rose 0.4% y/y.

These Federal Reserve Board figures are break-adjusted and calculated by Haver Analytics. The breaks in the series in 2005, 2010 and 2015 are the result of the incorporation of the Census and Survey of Finance Companies, as well as changes in the seasonal adjustment methodology.

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

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Aug July June Aug y/y 2018 2017 2016
Total $17.90 $23.06 bil. $13.31 5.0% 4.8% 5.1% 6.8%
   Nonrevolving 19.85 13.70 14.04 5.5 5.4 4.9 6.9
   Revolving -1.95 9.36 -0.74 3.8 3.1 5.6 6.8
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