Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Consumer Credit in U.S. Rises by Most Since November 2016

Updated on

U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in September by the most since November 2016 as credit-card debt exceeded $1 trillion, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.

Highlights of Consumer Credit (September)

  • Total credit rose $20.8b (est. $17.5b) or at a 6.6% annualized rate
  • Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $14.4b
  • Revolving credit outstanding increased $6.4b, the biggest gain in four months

Key Takeaways

The pickup in September consumer credit capped a quarter in which debt outstanding grew at an annualized 5.5 percent, the fastest quarterly pace this year.

The September acceleration in non-revolving debt likely reflected a jump in motor vehicle purchases as consumers in hurricane-stricken areas replaced damaged autos.

While home values and stock prices have climbed, generating more wealth for some Americans, other households with fewer assets may find it difficult to boost their spending as their debt burdens mount.

Other Details

  • Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, increased by $35.2 billion in the third quarter, before seasonal adjustment
  • Loans for motor vehicles rose by $19.3 billion in the third quarter
  • Fed’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages
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