US Revolving Credit Balance Spikes Amid Soaring Prices

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

Number of the Day

That’s how much additional credit card and other revolving debt Americans added in March, the biggest jump for one month in 16 years and a sign of soaring inflation. 

The spike, the largest monthly increase since 2006, represents an annualized growth rate of 35.3% and pushed the country’s total revolving debt balance to $1.1 trillion—restoring it to just below pre-pandemic levels, according to data released Friday by the Federal Reserve.

The increase likely reflects how quickly prices are rising for gas and other items, Shandor Whitcher, associate economist at Moody’s Analytics, wrote in a commentary. It’s also a sign of how strong the American consumer is right now, he said, given the growth in wages and low unemployment

Credit card balances are the bulk of revolving debt balances. Consumers may have been reaching for plastic to fill their gas tanks as the national average for a gallon of gas hit a record high of $4.33 in March. On Friday, the average was just 5 cents shy of that record, and diesel fuel was $5.51, a record high for the eighth straight day.

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Article Sources

  1. Federal Reserve. “G.19 Consumer Credit.”

  2. AAA. “AAA Gas Prices.”