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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Slows Broadly
by Tom Moeller  June 07, 2018

Consumer credit outstanding rose $9.26 billion during April following a $12.29 billion March gain, revised from $11.62 billion. It was the weakest monthly increase since September. A $14.0 billion rise had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. During the past ten years, there has been a 51% correlation between the y/y gain in consumer credit and y/y growth in personal consumption expenditures.

Nonrevolving credit usage led the slowdown as it grew $6.99 billion (4.8% y/y) after a $13.38 billion March rise. Federal government borrowing (38% of the total) rose 8.4% y/y. Finance company balances (22% of the total) fell 1.1% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 3.6% y/y and credit union loans (12% of the total) strengthened 9.4% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit balances increased $2.26 billion (5.0% y/y) following a $1.11 billion decline during the prior month. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) increased 7.8% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) fell 7.2% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) strengthened 8.9% y/y. Borrowing by nonfinancial business (2% of the total) fell 4.0% y/y.

During the first quarter of this year, student loan balances rose 5.4% y/y, down from 14.7% y/y growth at its peak in 2008. Motor vehicle loans rose 3.6% y/y versus a peak 9.0% y/y gain in 2014.

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.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Apr Mar Feb Apr Y/Y 2017 2016 2015
Total $9.26 bil. $12.29 bil. $13.75 bil. 4.8% 5.2% 6.8% 7.1%
   Nonrevolving 6.99 13.38 13.55 4.8 4.8 6.7 7.7
   Revolving 2.26 -1.11 0.21 5.0 6.1 6.8 5.4


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