I was so busy yesterday that I forgot about the Federal Reserve's G.19 consumer credit release.
The Fed reported that "consumer credit decreased at an annual rate of 3-3/4 percent in August. Revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 3/4 percent, and non-revolving credit decreased at an annual rate of 5-1/2 percent."
On a sequential basis (July to August), revolving credit (mostly credit cards) decreased slightly, down to $969 billion from $969.6 billion. In all, including non-revolving credit, consumer debt stood at $2.58 trillion, down from $2.59 trillion in July. Here is the full G.19 release: CONSUMER CREDIT AUGUST 2008 (link here).
The latest report indicates that consumers are finally beginning to ease off the credit-card pedal (consumer debt has been on an upward march for years; this is the first time since January 1998 that we've had a decline in this metric). Given the Federal Reserve's rate cut today (down 50 basis points), it will be interesting to see if consumers hit the acceleration pedal again during the coming months. With the holiday season fast approaching, it might be tough to ferret out the Fed's prodding and the holidays' lure, however.