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  • 2010/06/22
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With outstandings of 4,960 billion euros as of year-end 2009, consumer credit represented 25 per cent of worldwide household debt

Paris, 22 June 2010 — For the second consecutive year, Sofinco, a Crédit Agricole Consumer Finance trademark and subsidiary, has conducted a study on the worldwide consumer credit market.

Worldwide consumer credit outstandings totalled 4,960 billion euros at year-end 2009, down 1.3 per cent from the previous year. At the worldwide level, consumer credit represented a quarter of the 20,000 billion euros in estimated household debt. With property lending rising rapidly in the major industrialised countries in recent years, the proportion of consumer credit had been declining. In certain countries, the recession has broken this trend.

The worldwide market showed wide disparities from one geographical region to another:

  • The three North American countries (2,072 billion euros) accounted for nearly 42 per cent of worldwide outstandings; conversely, Africa (45 billion euros) represented only 1 per cent of worldwide consumer credit.
  • Middle East/Asia (1,292 billion euros) and Europe (1,290 billion euros) were at the same level, each with 26 per cent of worldwide outstandings.
  • Latin America (172 billion euros) and Oceania (89 billion euros) represented 3 and 2 per cent, respectively, of worldwide outstandings.

The worldwide consumer credit market is very concentrated. The five principal countries (United States, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom and Germany) accounted for 65 per cent of global outstandings in 2009, while the top 15 represented 84 per cent. Absent from the top 15 in 2008, South Korea (127 billion euros) and Indonesia (37 billion euros) entered in 2009, replacing Greece and Mexico.

The 1.3 per cent decline, resulting from the recession and lower consumption in 2009, broke down as follows:

  • Consumer credit outstandings receded in Oceania (4.3 per cent), North America (2.8 per cent), Middle East/Asia (1.3 per cent) and Europe (0.8 per cent).
  • Conversely, it rose sharply in South America (17 per cent) and to a lesser extent in Africa (3 per cent).

This worldwide disparity was reflected in the levels of per capita outstandings (730 euros on average worldwide):

  • At 8,381 euros, Canada had the highest per capita consumer credit outstandings, more than the United States (5,739 euros) and Japan (5,679 euros).
  • In Europe, per capita outstandings were more moderate (1,646 euros on average), but with wide disparities. In Ireland, for example, it was 5,332 euros, while in Lithuania it was only 304 euros.
  • It was low in Middle East/Asia (320 euros on average), demonstrating that total outstandings in this region were high more because of its population of more than four billion people than because of consumer credit penetration, which is still relatively low. Within Middle East/Asia, the disparities are also great. Per capita outstandings in Japan (5,679 euros) were 60 times greater than in China (95 euros).

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