After consumer credit seemed poised to be at a critical inflection point in December, after total credit increased by $6 billion, and all important revolving (i.e., credit card) credit component increasing by $2.3 billion, and the government - recently the only source of incremental consumer credit - largely absent from the monthly pickup, the January number confirmed this single month occurrence was largely a fluke, and was predicated by the already discussed consumer weakness seen in the beginning of the year. Not only did today's consumer credit update indicate last month's increase was revised lower by 33%, to just $4.1 billion (revolving revised from $2.3 billion to $2.1 billion), the revolving credit improvement is now dead and buried, after there was another drop in total revolving credit to the tune of $4.2 billion, more than wiping out last month's increase and printing the 28th of 29 consecutive monthly declines in revolving credit. Yet what is most troubling is that while non-revolving credit increased by $9.3 billion, $24.9 billion of this increase was due to the Federal Government, while the traditional source of credit: consumer banks, plunged by $15.1 billion M/M, the biggest monthly drop since the securitization-commercial reclassification in March of 2010. In addition all other holders of debt saw their notional amounts decline with the exception of savings institutions which increased by a token $345 million. Unfortunately for the Fed, consumer deleveraging is alive and healthy, meaning that the US government will need to fund the private sector indefinitely in the future, which also means monetization of the relentless surge in debt (note today's record $224 billion monthly budget deficit) will continue.
Total monthly breakdown by credit components:
And monthly breakdown by M/M change in key holders of consumer debt: