Those expecting the US consumer to carry the global economy may have to think twice.

The Bloomberg Econoday consensus for month-over-month credit growth was $16.5 billion but the actual report for January credit came it at $10.5 billion.

The more important news is December consumer credit was revised lower from a reported $21.3 billion increase to a mere $6.4 billion increase.

From Econoday …


Breaks in the consumer credit series, due to changes in source data or methodology, are not uncommon, leading to sudden swings such as in mid-2011. Such a break is responsible for a big revision to December, now at a revised increase of $6.4 billion from an initial $21.3 billion. The revision is centered in the non-revolving component, which tracks vehicle financing and student loans and is now at a very slight increase of $0.9 billion vs an initial gain of $15.4 billion. January’s increase in total outstanding consumer credit is an initial $10.5 billion vs Econoday’s consensus for $16.5 billion. Revolving credit, the component that tracks credit cards, fell $1.1 billion in January following December’s nearly unrevised $5.5 billion increase. Even with January’s dip, revolving credit has been showing strength and has been, in a positive for consumer spending, hinting at greater willingness, if not the necessity, of the consumer to take on credit-card debt.

Recent History

Consumer credit is expected to rise $16.5 billion in January following a $21.3 billion gain in December that included a second straight strong showing for revolving credit, one that hints at greater consumer willingness to take on credit-card debt. Nonrevolving credit, boosted by vehicle sales and also by student loans, is the stronger of the two components.

Consumer Credit

Consumer Credit 3

There’s yet another chart with weakness starting in the mid-2014 taimeframe.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock