Apparently, those stimulus checks weren’t enough. American consumers pulled out their credit cards and ran up big balances in February.
According to the latest numbers from the Federal Reserve, consumer debt unexpectedly spiked in February, growing at an annual rate of 7.9%. Economists had expected a small uptick in consumer debt after a flat January, but the sudden surge in credit card spending came as a surprise.
Total household debt was over $1.6 trillion higher than the previous peak in 2008 even before the full force of the coronavirus pandemic government shutdowns hit the economy.
Household debt increased by $155 billion (1.1%) in Q1 to a total of $14.3 trillion, according to the latest data released by the New York Fed. The previous peak was $12.68 trillion in the third quarter of ’08 in the early days of the financial crisis.
The solution to the coronavirus economic meltdown is to borrow our way out of it. The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates to zero and the stimulus bill makes all kinds of loan programs available to pretty much anybody and everybody. But American consumers were already up to their eyeballs in debt before the coronavirus lockdowns. In fact, consumer debt spiked again to yet another record in February, according to the latest data from the Federal Reserve.
Jerome Powell went to Capitol Hill this week. During his testimony before a congressional committee, the Fed chair insisted, “There is nothing about this economy that is out of kilter or imbalanced.” In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap Podcast, host Mike Maharrey takes issue with Powell’s assessment and points out some things that are, in fact, way out of kilter.” He also touches on coronavirus and the markets, consumer debt, and Donald Trump.
Americans are driving the US economy along with borrowed money. The question is how much longer can it last?
Consumer debt surged once again in December as Americans charged up their credit cards for the holidays. Total consumer credit grew by $22.1 billion in December, according to the latest data released by the Federal Reserve. That represents an annual growth rate of 6.3%. Total consumer debt now stands at a record $4.197 trillion.
We’re told that this is the greatest economy in history. Stock markets are surging. Unemployment is low. And yet despite the good times, a shocking number of Americans live paycheck to paycheck.
Several surveys cited by MarketWatch reveal the precarious financial situation many Americans find themselves in. This is less than ideal in an economy dependent on consumer spending.
Reuters has dubbed the 2010s the “decade of debt.”
The Reuters report focused on the ballooning levels of corporate debt, but consumer and government indebtedness has skyrocketed over the last 10 years as well. This massive debt bubble poses a significant systemic risk to the financial system and the economy. Some in the mainstream are starting to hint at this, but they still don’t seem to recognize the magnitude of the problem.
We have a trade deal! Maybe. Meanwhile, the Fed wrapped up its last FOMC meeting of the year this week and did nothing. But Powell and Company did give us some indication about what we should expect next year. The week’s news played tug-o-war with gold. In this episode of the Friday Gold Wrap, host Mike Maharrey breaks it all down and says there’s a lot to be skeptical about, both with the trade deal and the rhetoric coming out of the Fed.
American consumers are still propping up the economy spending money they don’t have. But how long can it last?
After a slight slowdown in September, consumer borrowing jumped again and set another new record in October, according to the latest data released by the Federal Reserve.
America’s economy is built on consumption. Average Americans have been pushing the US economy along, spending money they don’t have. But as we’ve reported, there are signals that the credit cards might be close to maxed out. Now there appears to be another warning sign – the wealthy are reining in their spending.