If anyone was hoping that in the peak holiday month of December the US consumer would finally open up the purse strings and "charge" everything, we have bad news: in the last month of 2012 revolving consumer credit dipped by some $3.6 billion, a reversion of the modest increases seen in November and October, and the biggest decline in credit card debt since July of 2012. Yet overall consumer credit rose by some $14.6 billion and beat expectations of a $14 billion increase. Why? Because as we have been warning for quite a while, everyone is now piling into student debt (and NINJA Uncle Sam subprime car loans). Sure enough, non-revolving credit soared by $18.2 billion in December - a monthly record for this time series since its revision several months back - and shows that when it comes to levering up, few are using their credit cards, as increasingly more opt to rotate proceeds from their "student loans" into everyday purchases.
And so we end 2012 with a total increase in consumer credit of $146.7 billion of which student loans account for... $148.3 billion.
In other words, credit debt once again declined in 2012 but not because of "deleveraging" but merely because the US consumer has once again found the greatest fool around with the biggest credit card - Uncle Sam.
The same table as above shown on a Not seasonally adjusted basis, by key holders of debt: