Axios Closer

Picture of a golden bell on a white background.

November 15, 2022

Tuesday βœ….

Today's newsletter is 637 words, a 2Β½-minute read.

πŸ”” The dashboard: The S&P 500 closed up 0.9%.

  • Biggest gainer? SVB Financial (+9.2%), the parent of Silicon Valley Bank. Β―\_(ツ)_/Β―
  • Biggest decliner? Capital One Financial (-7.2%), following a stock downgrade from Bank of America.

1 big thing: Record credit card charges

illustration of a credit card wearing a sweatband and sweat beads coming off of it

Illustration: Victoria Ellis/Axios

Credit card balances in the third quarter jumped 15% over the same period last year β€” the biggest annual increase in more than two decades, New York Fed researchers reported today, Hope writes.

Why it matters: The spike reflects feverish rebound spending during a period of decades-high inflation, as well as added pressure on younger borrowers and borrowers with lower income.

The big picture: The upswing points to yet another data set reverting to pre-pandemic patterns.

  • Amid a still strong labor market with government assistance programs now largely gone, "it's clear" that debt trends are shifting back, New York Fed researchers said on a call with reporters.

By the numbers: Credit card balances grew $38 billion from the second quarter, making up 11% of the overall increase in household debt ($351 billion).

  • Credit card holders between the ages of 30 and 59 have balances approaching fourth-quarter 2019 levels, according to the report.
  • Borrowers under the age of 30 have balances now that are above where they were pre-pandemic.
  • Borrowers in the lowest-income households have seen their balances surpass pre-pandemic levels as well.
  • Delinquency rates, however β€” which have remained very low β€” are starting to climb among households with lower income.

Be smart: Credit cards are the most prevalent type of debt in the U.S. β€” and credit card balances represent a mix of past debt and new consumption.

Two things to watch: The upcoming holiday season may boost balances even more this quarter.

  • And the status of the White House's student loan forgiveness plan, which has been tied up in the courts.
  • If it goes through, the researchers expect student loan delinquencies to be lower than they were pre-pandemic. If payments resume, younger borrowers may see greater credit pressures than older borrowers.

Share this.

2. Bonus chart: Where delinquencies stand

Data: New York Fed Consumer Credit Panel/Equifax; Chart: Simran Parwani/Axios

3. What's happening

🀷 Sam Bankman-Fried, the embattled founder of bankrupt crypto exchange FTX, is trying to raise fresh equity capital outside of court. (WSJ)

πŸ¦ƒ Walmart keeps Thanksgiving meal prices the same as last year. (Axios)

4. To the actual moon πŸš€

The SLS awaiting launch. Photo: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA is set to launch its Artemis I mission in the early hours of Wednesday morning on a trip to circle the Moon, Axios Space author Miriam Kramer writes.

Why it matters: It's one of the first steps on the way toward the creation of a lunar economy.

  • Multiple companies have plans to mine the Moon for resources or provide lunar services, but many of them are counting on the government being an anchor customer.

Between the lines: This will be the first launch of the huge Space Launch System rocket, a key component of NASA's plan to return people to the Moon's surface as soon as 2025.

  • The mission is expected to prove out many of the needed systems, including the rocket and Orion astronaut capsule. (The next flight after Wednesday's launch is slated to have people onboard.)

What we're watching: Other technical hurdles β€” like new spacesuits and SpaceX's development of a lunar lander β€” also need to be cleared before astronauts touch down again.

Go deeper.

5. Tay crashes Ticketmaster

Taylor Swift performs onstage during NSAI 2022 Nashville Songwriter Awards on Sept. 20 in Nashville, Tenn. Photo: Terry Wyatt/Getty Images

"Swifties" brought Ticketmaster to its knees today.

Catch up quick: The ticket site experienced significant technical problems this morning as millions showed up for Taylor Swift's upcoming Eras Tour presale, Axios' Herb Scribner writes.

  • A multistep process limited how many people could snag tickets Tuesday, leading to ticket scams and now, outages.
  • Ticketmaster tweeted on Tuesday afternoon that it was working through the backlog and that "[h]undreds of thousands of tickets have been sold."

The big picture: Swift's first tour in five years is so significant to fans that it's disrupting major life milestones.

6. What they're saying

"The important factor is good health in later life. If we can maintain that, then the demographic challenge is reduced."
β€” Sarah Harper, professor of gerontology at the University of Oxford, downplaying the economic concerns of an aging populous as the world's population passed 8 billion.

Today's newsletter was edited by Pete Gannon and copy edited by Sheryl Miller.

πŸ™‹ Join Axios’ Courtenay Brown and Niala Boodhoo tomorrow at 8am ET in Washington, D.C., for an event exploring the path forward for closing economic equity gaps and expanding economic opportunity in the U.S. Guests include Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein, 1863 Ventures founder and managing partner Melissa Bradley, and National Bankers Association president and CEO Nicole A. Elam. Register here to attend in person or virtually.