US consumers keeps on purchasing Kindles on credit cards which they apparently have no intention of every paying off. The most recent Fitch report disclosed that October delinquencies have continued their steady climb, and together with charge-offs, are at near record highs: “Consumer credit quality remains under significant strain as a result of the persistent weakness in the labor markets,” noted managing director Michael Dean. The Labor Department will report unemployment data Friday; the jobless rate is expected to hold steady at 10.2%, the highest level in decades, while the decline in payrolls is seen mitigating from the previous month.
Dow Jones reports:
All types of consumer lending have worsened the past several years, with borrowers falling increasingly behind and lenders writing off many billions of dollars of owed loans.
Fitch’s credit-card performance indexes show late payments rising to their highest levels in five months and indicate higher charge-offs in the months to come.
Fitch’s index on delinquencies of at least 60 days rose to 4.41% from 4.22% in September. Late-stage delinquencies are now 31% higher than year-earlier levels and just below the record high of 4.45% in June. Delinquencies of at least 30 days rose as well.
As Zero Hedge pointed out, and as Meredith Whitney has voiced her concernes about, the biggest threat to the economic going into 2010 may be that not only are banks dropping reducing overall credit availability, but that ongoing credit contraction to the tune of almost $2 trillion over the next several years will mean existing credit limits are tapped out as existing ones become increasingly maxed out.
This will likely further entrench the consumer into an accelerated deleveraging mindset, and no matter what the incremental liquidity from the Fed is, the deflationary pressures will likely continue. Which means that markets will continue in full melt-up mode to compensate for real economic losses, which benefit exlusively the top percentile of the US population as the middle and lower classes continue experiencing the brunt of the credit contraction. At some point the economic reality is sure to catch up with the market surreality. That will be the point when all the flawed market policies by the Administration and Bernanke become exposed for the clothesless emperors they are.