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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Firms Again in July
by Tom Moeller  September 8, 2020

• Nonrevolving borrowing usage surges.

• Charge card balances ease further.

Consumers continue to buy more using credit. Consumer credit outstanding increased $12.2 billion during July (0.5% y/y) following an $11.4 billion June increase, revised from $9.0 billion. Credit usage had fallen in each month from March through May. A $13.0 billion rise had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage rose $12.6 billion (3.9% y/y) after increasing $13.2 billion in June, revised from $11.3 billion. Borrowing from the federal government, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew 5.9% y/y. Depository institution loans (29% of credit) gained a greatly lessened 3.6% y/y. Finance company borrowing (16.0% of loans) rose 1.6% y/y and credit union loans (14.0% of the total) increased 2.3% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances weakened $0.3 billion (-8.7% y/y) in July, down for the sixth month this year. Credit provided by depository institutions, 90% of the total and mostly credit card debt, declined an accelerated 8.7% y/y. Credit union borrowing dropped a quickened 5.9% y/y and finance company loans fell 22.3% 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) Jul Jun May Jul y/y 2019 2018 2017
Total ($ bil) 12.2 11.4 -14.6 0.5% 4.6% 4.8% 5.3%
   Nonrevolving 12.6 13.2 9.1 3.9 4.9 5.2 5.1
   Revolving -0.3 -1.8 -23.7 -8.7 3.8 3.6 6.0
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