US Consumer Credit statistics were just released by the US Federal Reserve, surprising firmly to the upside. The figure for January was US +$5 billion, vs consensus expectations for a decline of -$4 billion, and December's figure of -$1.8 billion.
Diving into the details, the breakdown was a $6.6 billion rise in non-revolving credit (e.g. things like car loans), while revolving credit continued to decline, down $1.7 billion. Thus it is very much symptomatic of a still weak consumer given consumer reluctance or inability to take on more credit card debt.
This is interesting in terms of the article last week on Lending, Saving and Spending, about US consumer deleveraging. This data point may cause some to think that the US consumer is back to its old habits, but this is just one point, and the weakness in revolving credit is worth noting. So the impact of this data is really to leave the picture still unclear, but for now the deleveraging trend still seems to be present. Data to watch for next are consumer spending numbers and savings rates to add to the picture.
1. US Federal Reserve http://www.federalreserve.gov/
2. US Federal Reserve http://www.federalreserve.gov/
Article Source: http://www.econgrapher.com/7marUSconcred.html