Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Credit Down 5th Time in 7 Months, Before that Once in 15 Years

Marketwatch reports:

Total outstanding consumer credit, including both revolving and nonrevolving credit, fell at a 3.5% annual rate, or $7.5 billion, to a seasonally adjusted $2.56 trillion, the Fed said. Credit has declined in five of the past seven months. Prior to that, credit had declined in only one month in the previous 15 years. "No other recession has seen monthly changes in consumer credit contract this many times or so deep before going back to January 1943, which is how far the data go back," wrote Young Kim, an analyst for Stone & McCarthy Research. The retrenchment reflects "less available credit, less consumer demand for credit, and consumers' new found propensity to pay down debt."

Below is a chart showing revolving credit (i.e. credit cards), which fell 9.7% annualized in February and 6% annualized over the last three months. Like so many other things, we are in unprecedented territory.

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