Consumer credit jumped by $10.3 billion in June 2006, according to the latest figures released by the Federal Reserve. Of that amount, $6.65 billion was in the form of revolving (credit card) debt. With most analysts predicting an increase of just $4 billion in June, these figures were much higher than expected. In addition, the May numbers were revised upward from $4.4 billion to $5.88 billion. Total U.S. consumer debt, not including mortgages, now stands at $2.19 trillion.
There’s no way to know for sure what prompted the large upward spike in use of credit, but the twin culprits of high gas prices and high utility bills seem like a sure bet to me, at least for a significant portion of the increase. Consumer spending usually slows down during the summer months. It will interesting to see if that trend continues this year, or if consumers keep piling on debt at unexpected levels.