Consumer Credit Soars, Driven By Near Record Credit Card-Fueled Spending

After several months of tepid growth in the revolving consumer credit, i.e., credit card, space, the latest monthly report from the Fed revealed that Americans went on a credit card-funded shopping spree in November, when total revolving credit exploded higher by a massive $11 billion, the highest November increase on record, and the second highest of the post crash period.

The credit card spending spike may explain why November, i.e., early holiday sales, were strong only to tumble in the second half of the holiday spending season as various retailers have already complained.

The spike in revolving credit was more than matched by non-revolving credit, which as usual bounced by a solid $13.5 billion, bringing the total monthly increase in consumer credit to $24.5 billion, far above the revised October print of $16.2 billion and also well above the consensus estimate of $18.4 billion.

As noted above, the biggest contributor of November credit was credit card debt, which surged by $11 billion, to a grand total of just under $1 trillion, or $992.4 billion.

At the same time non-revolving credit, or car and student loans, rose to $2.758 trillion, a $13.5 billion jump in the month.

While hardly a surprise, the Fed revised its student and car loan numbers, which as of Sept 30, stood at $1.4 trillion for student loans, and $1.1 trillion for auto loans, both at all time highs.

Finally, for those wondering who remains the biggest source of post-crisis consumer lending, the chart below should answer that question.