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Economy in Brief

U.S. Consumer Credit Usage Strengthens
by Tom Moeller  October 7, 2016

Consumer credit outstanding increased $25.9 billion (6.8% y/y) during August following a $17.8 billion July improvement, revised from $17.7 billion. It was the strongest rise since September 2015, and one of the firmest of the economic expansion. A $16.5 billion increase had been expected in the Action Economics Forecast Survey. Over 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 led the rise, with a $20.2 billion gain (7.0% y/y) after a $15.0 billion July increase. Federal government loans (37% of the total) rose 11.0% y/y. Finance company balances (23% of the total) fell 1.6% y/y. Borrowing from depository institutions (25% of the total) improved 5.8% y/y, and borrowing from credit unions (12% of the total) jumped 12.8% y/y.

Revolving consumer credit increased a moderate $5.6 billion (6.2% y/y) after a $2.8 billion rise. Balances at depository institutions (84% of the total) grew 8.5% y/y. Finance company holdings (6% of the total) fell 6.7% y/y, while borrowing from credit unions (5% of the total) 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.

Low Interest Rates from Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer can be found here.

Consumer Credit Outstanding (M/M Chg, SA) Aug Jul Jun Y/Y 2015 2014 2013
Total $25.9 bil. $17.8 bil. $14.4 bil. 6.8% 7.0% 7.2% 6.0%
   Revolving 5.6 2.8 9.1 6.2 5.2 3.9 1.4
   Nonrevolving 20.2 15.0 5.3 7.0 7.7 8.4 7.9
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