The latest report from the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on consumer credit showed that borrowing slowed in April following March’s unusual spike in credit activity. Specifically, total U.S. consumer credit outstanding expanded by $13.4 billion in April (lagged) at an annualized rate of 4.5 percent to $3,601.5 billion. This is well below the consensus forecast for an $18 billion gain and less than half of March’s downward-revised $28.4 billion jump in consumer credit. Under the hood, the majority of the increase was again driven by non-revolving credit, e.g. student and automobile loans, which rose by $11.8 billion in April, the 56th consecutive monthly gain. Revolving credit, which is mostly consumers’ credit cards, lifted by $1.6 billion in April, down sharply from March’s $10.4 billion increase. Despite the overall slowdown, the longer-term trends of an acceleration in revolving credit growth and a somewhat stalled expansion in non-revolving credit remain clearly intact. This should persist as long as the labor market and household balance sheets continue to improve and enable more American consumers to take on additional debt.
Sources: Econoday, Twitter, Bloomberg, ZH, FRBG, FRBSLPost author: Charles Couch