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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Eased in December but Accelerated in 2007
by Tom Moeller February 8, 2008

At an annual rate consumer credit grew 2.2% during December, down sharply from the revised 8.5% jump in November. For all of last year, however, credit growth picked up slightly to 5.5% from 4.5% in 2006. In fact growth last year was the quickest since 2004. (The annual rates of growth equal the Dec/Dec percent because the figures are "end of period.")

Continuing to indicate the slowdown in consumer spending was the three month change in credit. It fell to 4.4% which was nearly half the growth rate of this past August.The credit slowdown has been accompanied by slower three-month growth in real consumer spending on durable goods, to -2.8% thru December versus +4.8% for all of last year.

Non-revolving credit, which accounts for nearly two thirds of the total, grew a slower 1.8% in December versus November. The three month growth rate remained quite low at 1.5% versus a peak of 7.7% in August.

Growth in revolving credit also slowed considerably to 2.7% (AR) in December from 14.7% in November. That slowdown left the three month growth rate at a somewhat firm 9.6%.

These figures are the major input to the Fed's Flow of Funds accounts for the household sector, released quarterly.

The Recession Dating Procedure from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) can be found here.

Consumer Credit (m/m Chg, SAAR) December November Y/Y 2007 2006  2005
Total 2.2%  8.5% 5.5% 5.5% 4.5% 4.3%
  Revolving 2.7 14.7 7.8 7.8 6.1 3.1
  Non-revolving 1.8 5.0 4.2 4.2 3.6 4.9
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