July personal income and expenditures were quite surprising in that while many were expecting the drop in the market to force consumer saving to upshift (lower spending than income), not only was this not true, but expenditures spiked by 1 whole percent from -0.2% to 0.8%, on expectations of 0.5%, even as Personal Income came in line with expectations of 0.3%, up from a revised 0.2% (concurrent with extensive prior data revisions). This was the biggest difference between a monthly change in income and spending since October 209. The net result was a plunge in the savings rate from 5.5% to 5.0%. And while on the surface this would be good news, as in Americans are spending again, a quick look at the PCE components indicates that virtually the entire surge is due to a spike in Energy goods and services. In other words, the entire spike in spending was to... pay for gas and associated energy expenses. Which makes sense: in June this was a drop of -4.5%, it is only logical that the subsequent jump in Brent and WTI forced American savings to drop. All in all: in July Americans continued to max out their credit cards to pay for gas. As for the income side, transfer payments as a % of spending refuse to budge: thank you Uncle Sam.
The source for the spike in PCE:
Monthly difference between Spending and Income:
And the Savings Rate: