US: Consumer Credit

Fri Nov 06 14:00:00 CST 2015

Consensus Consensus Range Actual Previous
Consumer Credit - M/M change $18.0B $15.0B to $21.2B $28.9B $16.0B

In a record report, consumer credit data are strongly confirming the strength of the consumer. Credit outstanding surged $28.9 billion in September for the largest gain in the history of the series which goes back to 1941. Nonrevolving credit, in part reflecting vehicle financing and also student loans, rose $22.2 billion. Revolving credit, reflecting a rise in credit-card debt, jumped $6.7 billion to extend an emerging run of strength that suggests consumers are now less reluctant to run up their credit cards which, for retailers certainly, is a good omen for the holidays.

Market Consensus Before Announcement
Consumer credit is expected to rise a strong $18.0 billion in September. The revolving credit component of this report, which is where credit-card debt is tracked, has been showing life and hinting, perhaps, at consumer willingness to take on debt and to greater strength for holiday sales.

The dollar value of consumer installment credit outstanding. Changes in consumer credit indicate the state of consumer finances and portend future spending patterns.

Growth in consumer credit can hold positive or negative implications for the economy and markets. Economic activity is stimulated when consumers borrow within their means to buy cars and other major purchases. On the other hand, if consumers pile up too much debt relative to their income levels, they may have to stop spending on new goods and services just to pay off old debts. That could put a big dent in economic growth.

The demand for credit also has a direct bearing on interest rates. If the demand to borrow money exceeds the supply of willing lenders, interest rates rise. If credit demand falls and many willing lenders are fighting for customers, they may offer lower interest rates to attract business.

Financial market players focus less attention on this indicator because it is reported with a long lag relative to other consumer information. Long term investors who do pay attention to this report will have a greater understanding of consumer spending ability. This will give them a lead on investment alternatives. Also, during times of distress in credit markets, consumer credit can give an idea about how willing banks are to lend.