Revolving credit posted its smallest monthly increase in nearly five years according to December consumer credit figures released by the Federal Reserve Friday. Revolving credit inched up a mere 40 basis points following a 3.4% contraction during November. Overall outstanding consumer credit increased by 3.9% annual rate, due to a significant rebound in automobile credit. For December 1996 revolving credit grew at an annual rate of 10.3%. While final tabulations for fourth quarter credit card outstandings have not been released, a preliminary review of RAM Research’s ‘Fourth Quarter Portfolio Survey’ indicates credit card outstandings grew about 6%, on average, last year. It appears 1997 will post a slower rate of growth than the recessionary year of 1991. Tapped-out personal credit lines and the surge of consolidation loans via high LTV home equity credit have contributed to the weakness in credit card debt. Overall consumer credit for December totalled $1.2 trillion.
REVOLVING CREDIT HISTORICAL
Dec 97 Nov 97 Oct97 Sep97 Aug97 Jul97 Jun97 May97 Apr97 Mar97
%GRWTH 0.4% -3.4 8.7 6.2 8.0 9.4 4.2 4.6 6.9 0.5
$OWED 528.9 528.7 530.2 526.4 523.7 520.2 516.2 514.3 512.4 509.5
Source Federal Reserve; revised figures as of 02/06/98