Consumer Default Rates Drop to Eight-Year Low, S&P/Experian Says

Individual default rates in the U.S. have dropped to their lowest level since before the financial crisis as consumer confidence rises and first-time jobless claims fall.

The average default rate on credit card debt, mortgages and auto loans fell to 1.2 percent in March, the lowest level since July 2006, according to a statement today from S&P/Experian Consumer Credit Default Indices. The percentage of individuals delinquent on auto loans and credit cards declined to record lows.

Consumer default rates have stabilized at pre-recession levels after consumer confidence rose to the highest level since July this month and the number of jobless claims fell to 300,000 last week, the least since May 2007.

Credit-card debt improved the most over the last year, falling to a 2.73 percent default rate from 3.51 percent, according to the statement. The rate on defaulted auto loans declined to 0.99 percent from 1.11 percent.

The data used to calculate the indexes is from Experian Plc’s consumer credit database and refreshed monthly with S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, a McGraw Hill Financial Inc. unit. S&P/Experian started publishing the indexes in May 2010, according to its website.

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