Truly Shocking Data From America

Strapped for cash? Lost your job? Negative equity on the house? Worried about Christmas? Chill out, slap it on the plastic, something is bound to turn up. Isn't it?

Commercial US banks' outstanding credit card debt soared by $7.1 billion in the week ending Oct 15th. Let me read you that again. In one single week, US consumers slapped an extra $7.1 billion on their credit cards.

That represents a single week expansion of 1.9%, multiply that up by 52 weeks and, if the Yanks carry on at that rate, then credit card debt in the US will increase by almost 100% year-on-year.

Here's some more data for you. It gets worse.

US credit card debt rose more in the ten week period Aug08 to 15th Oct08 ($32.3 billion) than in the previous ten months ($29.1 billion) combined. That's some rate of acceleration that is.

American Express say that defaults on credit card debt with them are now running at 4.1% in the third quarter, up from 2.7% in Q3 2007. Bank of America say that their default rate is now running at 5.9%. The overall pool of "uncollectable" credit card debt is now estimated at 6.7%, double what it was twelve months ago.

Get ready for this one.

Q. Who do you think is the second largest "merchant vendor" for credit card use in the US is?

A. Ronald MacDonald!

Now if you're so strapped for cash that you have to stick the $4 tab for a Big Mac and fries on the old plastic then things are indeed bleak.

This recession isn't over by any means yet. Are you sure you still want the job Mr Obama?