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Economy in Brief


U.S. Consumer Credit Growth Eases
by Tom Moeller  January 8, 2014

The Federal Reserve Board reported that consumer credit outstanding increased by $12.3 billion (6.1% y/y) during November following an unrevised $18.2 billion October gain. Expectations had been for a $14.5 billion increase, according to the Action Economics survey. The latest monthly gain was the weakest since April.

Usage of non-revolving credit increased $11.9 billion (8.2% y/y) in November. Federal government loans increased 18.7% y/y. These constitute roughly  one-third of total non-revolving credit. Finance company lending (28% of the total) edged up 0.6% y/y and commercial bank consumer loans (24% of the total) gained 6.9% y/y. Borrowing at credit unions (10% of the total) advanced 9.6% y/y and borrowing from savings institutions (1.0% of the total) increased 7.5% y/y.

During all of last quarter student loan balances rose 8.8% y/y, down from nearly 15.0% growth in 2008. Motor vehicle loans outstanding increased 8.5% y/y, nearly a new high and up from the 7.5% rate of liquidation in 2009.

Revolving credit outstanding gained $4.3 billion (1.0% y/y) in November. Commercial bank lending (73% of the total) declined 1.5% y/y while savings institution lending (8% of the total) jumped by nearly one-half y/y. Finance company balances (8% of the total) declined 5.9% y/y while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) gained 4.5% y/y. Nonfinancial business accounts (3% of the total) fell another 19.5% y/y and securitized credit card balances (4% of the total) fell 4.2% 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.

The minutes to the latest FOMC meeting can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Nov Oct Sep Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total $12.3 bil. $18.2 bil. $16.3 bil. 6.1% 6.1% 4.1% -1.0%
   Revolving 0.5 4.0 -0.8 1.1 0.4 0.2 -7.5
   Non-revolving 11.9 13.9 16.7 8.2 8.6 5.9 2.7
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