Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 2.4% in February; revolving credit grew at a 5.9% rate, and nonrevolving credit was up 0.4%. You can read the full report by clicking here, FRB: G.19 Release–Consumer Credit–April 7, 2008.
Interest rates on new car loans at banks (7.27%) are down from their peak (7.92%) a year ago, but not nearly as much as the Fed funds rate. Auto finance company rates (5.37%) are substantially higher than they were as recently as December (4.33%). Credit card rates (11.40%) are down a full percent from a year ago (12.57%).
Apparently these guys did not get the memo about Fed ease and falling Fed funds rates. They did get the memo, however, about falling used car prices and rising credit card risk. tough time to have to borrow money.
This report is consistent with slow, positive growth. Reports of the death of the American consumer have been exaggerated.
PS: This report of a +2.4% increase in February consumer credit was brought to you by the miracle of seasonal adjustment. The actual number ($2538.6 billion) is down a little from January ($2555.8 billion), just down less than the normal January-February drop. I am always skeptical of seasonally adjusted numbers. This one too.