Industry NewsMarkets & Economy

Government’s suit against S and P could help revive lending

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Long-term rates slid back a bit this week, the 10-year T-note holding 2 percent, mortgages near 3.75 percent, higher than 2012's second half, but nothing dramatic.It was a thin week for data, but two reports were startling. First, the U.S. trade deficit in December arrived 20 percent lower than forecast because of a surge in exports of ... oil.         Second, consumer credit continued its rise: a $15.9 billion jump in November, and $14.6 billion in December.The usual suspects have seized on this run as a sign of normal, cyclical recovery ahead. It is not. The only two components growing: student loans and car paper, one crushing the next generation, the other available only because it's the only consumer collateral that's easy to repossess. All other categories of consumer credit are falling, from credit cards to mortgages. The best news in a long while, maybe since the financial crisis began in 2007: The Justice Department's suit against Standard & Poor's. Here we are, e...