March Consumer Credit rises led by auto’s

March Consumer Credit unexpectedly rose by $2b and Feb was revised to a decline of $6.2b from the initial reading of -$11.5b. It’s the 2nd gain in the past three months and was led by a $5.2b gain in the non revolving credit category, which consists mostly of auto loans, coincident with a vehicle SAAR in March which totaled 11.78mm, the most since Sept ’08 driven by zero % financing. Revolving credit balances, mostly credit cards, fell by $3.2b and have fallen 18 months in a row as access to credit has of course gotten crimped and consumers pay down debt. Consumers have been spending more, as evidenced by the recent sales data and drop in the savings rate but the new credit card charging for goods is not keeping pace with the overall reduction in credit card balances.

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