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Americans continue to build up consumer debt; in the fourth quarter of 2017 consumer debt (excluding home loans) rose 5.5% from the prior year to $3.82 trillion; this a record since the Federal Reserve Bank of New York began tracking in 1999; non-housing debt was around 29% of overall debt, another record; some aren’t worried just yet with delinquencies coming off of record lows; The WSJ provides more data points on consumer debt, including various perspectives on the American consumer. Source
The Federal Reserve released its Consumer Credit report for October on Wednesday; the report showed an increase of $16 billion in total consumer credit; revolving credit increased by $2.3 billion and non-revolving credit increased by $13.7 billion; the increase resulted in a seasonally adjusted annual rate of growth of 5.2%; at 5.2% the rate is the slowest since June; consumer spending was also down in October with a 0.3% increase signaling caution from consumers in spending and borrowing. Source
Loose credit and consumers who are no longer averse to loans have contributed to the rise in household debt as a share of GDP; numbers have risen from 28% to 40% in the last five years; the share of household loans to overall lending hit 67.5% in the third quarter of 2016, more than twice the share of the year before; China's household debt as a share of GDP is half of what it is in the US, though if the current pace continues it will come close to equaling the US percentage in a few short years. Source
Federal Reserve Board data shows that consumer debt reached all-time highs in November; the previous highs were in April 2008 when consumer debt totaled $1.021 trillion; according to the CFPB, “Most origination metrics we observe are near pre-recession levels. This is true across credit score tiers for both general purpose and private label cards. Approval rates have climbed for all credit score tiers since post-recession lows, even as application volumes have stabilized.” Source
A report on China's consumer credit finds that consumers are increasing their use of debt with 94% of consumers using credit or a loan in the past year; consumers are borrowing more from internet-based sources with consumers increasing their borrowing from P2P loan providers while also borrowing more for car loans and mortgages; consumers in their 20s appear to be the leading borrowers as a trend towards living in the moment is motivating their spending habits; the report expects the rise in debt to continue, projecting household loans to increase at a rate of 14% for the next five years. Source