Friday, January 08, 2010

Consumer Credit Declines for Record 10th Straight Month

by Bill McBride on 1/08/2010 03:00:00 PM

The Federal Reserve reports:

Consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 8-1/2 percent in November. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 18-1/2percent, and nonrevolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 3 percent.
Consumer Credit Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the year-over-year (YoY) change in consumer credit. Consumer credit is off 3.9% over the last 12 months - and falling fast. The previous record YoY decline was 1.9% in 1991.

Consumer credit has declined for a record 10 straight months - and declined for 13 of the last 14 months and is now 4.5% below the peak in July 2008. It is difficult to get a robust recovery without an expansion of consumer credit - unless the recovery is built on business spending and exports (seems unlikely).

Note: The Fed reports a simple annual rate (multiplies change in month by 12) as opposed to a compounded annual rate. Consumer credit does not include real estate debt.

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