Monday, October 7, 2013

Fed Magically Creates $180 Billion In Student And Car Loans Out Of Thin Air

Normally, we would report the change in total consumer debt (revolving and non-revolving) in this space, but today we will pass, for the simple reason that the number is the merely the latest entrant in a long series of absolutely made up garbage. It appears that in the "quiet period" of data releases, when the BLS realized its "non-critical", pre-update 8MHz 8086-based machines are unable to boot up the random number generator spreadsheets known as "economic data", Ben Bernanke decided to quietly slip a modest revision to the monthly consumer credit data. A modest revision, which amounts to a whopping $180 billion cumulative increase in non-revolving credit beginning in January 2006.
So add that to the GDP [12], to Personal Income [13], to Household Net Worth [14], to the BLS' JOLTS "data [15]", and of course, to last year's repeat revision of consumer credit data [16], as a data set, which while present, is absolutely meaningless following recent arbitrary revisions which meant all prior data contained therein was just as irrelevant.
To summarize: for whatever reason, the Fed decided to recast its entire non-revolving credit data series starting in January 2006, and has magically created $188 billion in student loan and car debt that previously "did not exist."
Old vs Revised series shown below.
For those who still opt to live in the Matrix and be treated like mushrooms, demanding to know just what the "new" fabricated, made up series implies, here it is: total consumer credit rose by$13.6 billion driven entirely by non-revolving credit, or $14.5 billion of the total, while revolving credit has now dripped for three months in a row as households continue to pay down their credit cards, better known as deleverage. In other words: using Uncle Sam as a charge card for cars and university courses, for everything else there is paying down debt.
Finally, perhaps the most amusing implication of today's revision, is the longer term chart of non-revolving credit. As the St Louis Fed chart below shows, we are about to go beyond exponential and purely asymptotic.

Graph of Total Nonrevolving Credit Owned and Securitized, Outstanding
Source: Federal Reserve [20] [20]