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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Increase Continues in October
by Tom Moeller  December 7, 2020

• Nonrevolving usage remains firm.

• Credit card balances are reduced further.

Consumer credit outstanding increased $7.2 billion (0.2% y/y) during October following a $15.0 billion September strengthening, revised from $16.2 billion. A $16.5 billion increase had been expected by the Action Economics Forecast Survey.

Nonrevolving credit usage jumped $12.7 billion (4.0% y/y), about the same as it did in September, revised from $12.2 billion. Federal government borrowing, which issues over 40% of nonrevolving credit, grew 5.3% y/y. Depository institution loans (29% of credit) grew a greatly lessened 2.4% y/y, down from 6.8% y/y growth as of December. Finance company borrowing (16.0% of loans) firmed 3.7% y/y and credit union loans (14.0% of the total) also increased 3.7% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances retreated $5.5 billion in October after September's $2.6 billion increase, revised from $4.0 billion. It was the seventh decline in the last eight months, which included double-digit balance pay-downs this spring. Credit provided by depository institutions (90% of the total and mostly credit card debt), dropped 10.5% y/y. Credit union borrowing fell 5.6% y/y and finance company loans were off 25.8% 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) Oct Sep Aug Oct y/y 2019 2018 2017
Total ($ bil) 7.2 15.0 -8.6 0.2% 4.6% 4.8% 5.3%
   Nonrevolving 12.7 12.4 2.2 4.0 4.9 5.2 5.1
   Revolving -5.5 2.6 -10.8 -10.4 3.8 3.6 6.0
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