credit crunch

Credit is crunching again

Even after the trillions of dollars in bailout money, credit is contracting at a record rate.

During the September 2nd week, U.S. commercial banks cut back on their commercial & industrial (C&I) loans by $10.3 billion; their real estate credit by a huge $15.3 billion; and their lines to consumers by $6.4 billion. In sum, $32 billion of banking sector lending evaporated during the week, bringing the total contraction to over $200 billion since the end of July. Not only is that unprecedented, but it is also a record decline in percent terms — down at over a 12% annual rate on a 13-week basis. Indeed, we have massive government stimulus that is still just patching a leaky boat, and the consensus economics community is trying to “sell” this idea to investors that credit typically lags the cycle.