Revolving Credit Decreased in January

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In January 2020, consumer credit decreased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate by 0.4% from the previous month, with revolving debt1 decreasing by 12.2% and nonrevolving debt2 increasing by 3.2%. Consumer credit totaled $4.2 trillion on a seasonally adjusted annual basis, with $965 billion comprised of revolving debt and $3.2 trillion in nonrevolving debt. This marks a total decrease of $1.3 billion from the previous month, with revolving credit decreasing by $9.9 billion and non-revolving credit increasing by $8.6 billion.

As shown above, November’s revolving debt level marks the 11th consecutive month of decline, a trend which started with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such continuation of the reduction in the balance of open-ended credit reflects consumers’ lingering uncertainty in recovery from the virus-caused recession. Its closed-ended counterpart, non-revolving debt, was quick to recover from negative territory in April 2020.

Interestingly, the latest G.19 Consumer Credit data show that, on a non-seasonally adjusted basis, credit extended by the Federal Government, which is exclusively closed-ended, jumped by about $20 billion to $1.40 trillion, the largest increase in recent history.


Notes:

  1. Revolving credit plans are largely composed of credit card debt but also include home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). These may be unsecured or secured by collateral and allow a consumer to borrow up to a prearranged limit and repay the debt in one or more installments. The G.19 Consumer Credit report excludes HELOCS and home equity loans, as they are secured by real estate.
  2. Nonrevolving credit is closed-end credit extended to consumers that is repaid on a prearranged repayment schedule and may be secured or unsecured.


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