More dud data from the ABS this morning in Finance Commitments. Following are the key points.
FEBRUARY KEY POINTS
FEBRUARY 2011 COMPARED WITH JANUARY 2011:
HOUSING FINANCE FOR OWNER OCCUPATION
- The total value of owner occupied housing commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 1.0% in trend terms and the seasonally adjusted series fell 4.8%
- The trend series for the value of total personal finance commitments fell 2.3%. Revolving credit commitments fell 3.0% and fixed lending commitments fell 1.6%.
- The seasonally adjusted series for the value of total personal finance commitments fell 3.5%. Fixed lending commitments fell 5.0% and revolving credit commitments fell 1.8%.
- The trend series for the value of total commercial finance commitments was flat (0.0%). Revolving credit commitments rose 1.3%, while fixed lending commitments fell 0.5%.
- The seasonally adjusted series for the value of total commercial finance commitments fell 6.6%. Fixed lending commitments fell 9.9%, while revolving credit commitments rose 1.0%.
The trend series for the value of total lease finance commitments fell 0.9% and the seasonally adjusted series fell 10.4%.
We already know about the month on month crash in mortgages in February but debt revulsion is obviously much more widespread than that. Following is a graph of other personal lending, fixed for goodies like cars, and revolving for other credit card usage. It includes February data.
In seasonally adjusted terms, we are at levels for credit card usage first seen 2002. Fixed loans are a little better at 2006 levels.
Unsurprisingly, also in seasonally adjusted terms, commercial loans follow a similar trend. This graph also includes February data.
A few comments. Please ignore any analyst that tells you the consumer is robust. She is not. Perhaps things will improve from here for retail on growing incomes but I have my doubts. If anything, people seem to be saving more, in more places.
There is no sign at all of a bounce in business lending that was apparent in RBA credit aggregates for February. Quite the opposite. The banks are going to have to keep dropping lending standards and/or squeezing margins for top line growth.