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US consumer credit surprises with US$3.28b drop in July

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Consumer borrowing in the US unexpectedly decreased in July for the first time in almost a year, restrained by a second straight decline in credit card debt. The US$3.28 billion drop followed a revised US$9.8 billion jump the previous month that was bigger than first estimated, the Federal Reserve said today in Washington. Economists projected a US$9.2 billion rise, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey. Revolving credit, which includes credit card spending, decreased US$4.82 billion, the most since April 2011. The drop in credit-card borrowing coincides with a slowdown in hiring this year and a rise in consumer pessimism that indicate households are wary of taking on debt. Employers added fewer workers to payrolls than forecast in August, while a gain in average hourly earnings from a year earlier matched the smallest increase since records began in 2007. “All the uncertainty next year with the fiscal cliff and what people’s tax situations are going to be like—I don’t foresee a scenario where moods are lifted to the point where personal spending picks up a lot,” Thomas Simons, a money market economist at Jefferies & Company Inc in New York, said before the report. “We’ll probably just continue to muddle along here, through the end of the year, at least.” Estimates in the Bloomberg survey of 37 economists ranged from gains of $5 billion to $15 billion after a previously reported June increase of US$6.46 billion. (Bloomberg)