January 8, 2018 5:00 PM, EST

Consumer Credit Jumped in November by Most Since 2001


U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in November by the most in 16 years as credit-card balances surged, Federal Reserve data showed Jan. 8.

Highlights of November Consumer Credit

• Total credit rose $28 billion (estimated $18 billion) or at an 8.8% annualized rate after a $20.5 billion gain.

• Revolving credit outstanding increased $11.2 billion, the most in a year.

• Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $16.8 billion, the biggest gain since Oct. 2016.

Key Takeaways

The acceleration in revolving debt shows Americans’ credit-card balances were mounting during the holiday-shopping season.

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The increase in non-revolving credit outstanding probably reflects more motor vehicle purchases.

While household wealth is climbing on the heels of higher home prices and record stock values, the risk to the economy is that consumers with fewer assets may have to temper their spending until debt loads become more manageable.

Other Details

• Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, increased by $3.1 billion in November, before seasonal adjustment.

• Fed’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages.

With assistance by Jordan Yadoo