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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Picks Up Again
by Tom Moeller  May 5, 2017

Consumer credit outstanding grew $16.42 billion during March following a $13.75 billion February gain, revised from $15.2 billion. January's rise also was lessened to $9.73 billion. A $15.0 billion increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the past ten years, there has been a 46% correlation between the y/y growth in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Nonrevolving credit increased $14.5 billion (6.4% y/y) in March after a $12.1 billion gain. Federal government loans (38% of the total) rose 9.7% y/y. Finance company balances (22% of the total) fell 1.8% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 5.8% y/y, and credit union loans (12% of the total) strengthened 15.2% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances grew $2.0 billion (4.9% y/y) after downwardly revised readings in the prior two months. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) increased 5.4% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) improved 7.0% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) also advanced 7.0% 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.

Committee Decisions and Monetary Policy Rules is the title of today's speech by Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer and it can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Mar Feb Jan Mar Y/Y 2016 2015 2014
Total $16.42 bil. $13.75 bil. $9.73 bil. 6.0% 6.5% 7.0% 7.2%
   Nonrevolving 14.5 12.1 13.6 6.4 6.5 7.7 8.4
   Revolving 2.0 1.7 -3.9 4.9 6.5 5.2 3.9
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