The news and data just keeps getting better. The data from last week reported continued strength in consumer final demand and some slowing in the very tight labor market. Retail sales for December were reported as having risen by 0.4%, which will contribute to a strong fourth quarter Real GDP report at the end of the month. This followed the upwardly revised data for November, moving from +0.8% to +0.9%. This strength was confirmed by the consumer credit data from November. Consumer credit had been averaging growth of $15 B a month in 2017, primarily driven by auto and student loans.

The $28 B increase in November was much higher, with credit card balances growing by $11 B, as consumers were willing to increase spending by borrowing on their cards. They have not been willing to do this in the past eight years. Strong job growth and high levels of consumer confidence are the driving factors…

ProBank Austin Advisor – January 15, 2018