24 September 2018

US Consumer Credit Continues To Expand In February

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US consumer credit outstanding rose by a seasonally adjusted $18.6bn in February, which was above the consensus ($15.0bn) and marks a faster pace of expansion than the downwardly-revised $12.7bn seen in January ($16.2bn). As has been the case in recent months, the rise was almost entirely due to the non-revolving component, primarily Federal Student Loans, which rose $17.6bn while the revolving component rose only $0.5bn. Consumer credit held by the federal government rose by $12.5bn in February, marking the eighth month dating back to the start of 2012 in which this measure expanded by double digits. To put that in perspective, revolving credit has risen a total of only $14.0bn since its near-term low seen in April 2011. It will be several months before there is clear idea of the role, if any, the payroll tax increases may have affected income, spending, and consumer credit for the 1st Quarter of this year.

 

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