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Friday, February 05, 2010

Consumer Credit Declines for Record 11th Straight Month

by Calculated Risk on 2/05/2010 03:19:00 PM

The Federal Reserve reports:

Consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 4-3/4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 13 percent, and nonrevolving credit was unchanged on net. In December, consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 3/4 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 4.0% over the last 12 months.

Consumer credit has declined for a record 11 straight months - and declined for 14 of the last 15 months and is now 4.8% 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 investment and exports (seems unlikely to be robust).

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.