Consumer Credit Decreases in August


The Federal Reserve’s latest G.19 Consumer Credit Report shows trends in consumer credit, excluding loans secured by real estate, through August 2020.

In August, consumer credit decreased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 2 percent from the previous month, with revolving debt1 decreasing at a staggering rate of 11-1/4 percent and nonrevolving debt2 increasing by 3/4 percent. Consumer credit totaled $4.1 trillion on a seasonally adjusted basis, with $985 billion in revolving debt and $3.2 trillion in nonrevolving debt. This is a decrease of $7 billion from the previous month, with non-revolving credit increasing by $2 billion and overshadowed by the much bigger decrease in revolving debt by $9 billion. This month marks the sixth straight month of declines in the level of open-ended credit.

As shown above, the progressions of both types of consumer credit have mirrored each other in the current virus-induced economic downturn, with revolving credit reacting more strongly than closed-ended credit. Unlike non-revolving debt, however, the monthly changes in revolving debt still are in negative territory. In August, revolving credit was at its lowest level since June 2017.

While on the rise up until February 2020, the share of open-ended credit of total non-real estate secured consumer credit has experienced monthly declines up thru August 2020, with the current monthly share at 23.8%. Six months earlier, the share stood at 26.1%.

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