The “Credit Crunch” that Wasn’t
US total consumer credit hits record HIGH after a year of the so-called “credit crunch,” according to the Federal Reserve’s latest provisional figures released November 7, 2008.
The graph shows that 3rd-quarter 2008 total US consumer credit grew 3.7% above 3rd-quarter 2007, when the “credit crisis” began.
Not only did consumer credit not shrink, it grew.
September 2008 consumer credit is higher than the same month of any year prior, higher than the housing-bubble peak.
Index of US total consumer credit, growth year-over-year (YoY), September-September:
1998 = 1.00
1999 = 1.08
2000 = 1.19
2001 = 1.30
2002 = 1.40
2003 = 1.47
2004 = 1.54
2005 = 1.62
2006 = 1.69
2007 = 1.79
2008 = 1.85
Consumer credit expanded to 4 TIMES the Fed’s claimed 2% per year target for core inflation, which, after 10 years, would be a 2008 index of only 1.22.
A 2% growth rate will not double the initial amount until 36 years yet consumer credit nearly doubled in 10 years and continued its nearly relentless expansion during a year of what was supposed to be the worst credit crunch in memory.
- “Current” (2008Q3p) consumer credit would have to crash 12-13% simply to return to the 2005 level near the housing-bubble peak.
- “Current” (2008Q3p) consumer credit could crash almost 1/4 (24%) and still be higher than the 2002 level during Greenspan’s slide toward 1% Fed funds benchmark interest rate (dropped 50 basis points (bp) from 1.75% to 1.25% on 11/6/02).
- “Current” (2008Q3p) consumer credit would have to crash over 1/3 (34%) simply to reach the 10-year trend line for 2% annual growth from 1998 (22% higher than 1998--and we already were awash in credit in 1998).
Latest figures show total outstanding US consumer credit of $2.564T (2/09) at less than 1% from the highest point in history set at $2.583T (9/08) during the so-called "credit crunch," higher than any month before the so-called "credit crisis" began at $2.481T (8/07), and higher than any month during the massive credit boom.
8/07 "Credit Crunch" allegedly begins
2/09 Total outstanding US consumer credit is 3.3% higher than 8/07
Lending Keeps Growing, Growing, Growing
Total credit of all commercial banks (TOTBKCR), percent growth, Year over Year (YoY), remains well above 0 at about 2.5% growth (similar to the 1990s and 2001 recessions):
Total credit of all commercial banks (TOTBKCR), absolute levels show recent volatility but so far remain well above the pre-"Credit Crunch" levels of the massive global credit bubble:
Even if consumer or bank credit does decline, does it decline by more than government debt increased or by more than money increased?
The notion that we lack credit now is madness.
I explained over a year ago that we have no credit-supply crunch, but we do have a number of other crunches that policymakers ignore or misread.
The government continues its misguided bailouts and hyper-debt policies.
What This Means for Inflation Vs. Deflation