- Importance (A-F): This release merits a D-.
- Source: Federal Reserve.
- Release Time: 15:00 ET on the fifth business day of the month (data
for two months prior).
- Raw Data Available At: www.federalreserve.gov.
This monthly measure of consumer debt is volatile and subject to massive
revisions. It is also released well after every other consumer spending
indicator, including weekly chain store sales, auto sales, consumer confidence,
retail sales, and personal consumption. For these reasons, the market almost
never reacts to the consumer credit report.
Consumer credit is broken down into three categories: auto, revolving (ie,
credit card), and other. Since we already have indications on total consumer
spending well before this release, there is little to be gained from learning
what portion of spending was financed through acquisition of debt. Periods of
strong spending can be accompanied by relatively weak credit growth and vice
versa, so this measure fails even as a coincident or lagging indicator.