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Couple of canaries going off in the coal mines over the past few days.
Ominous warnings actually, of how tight things are getting out there in the real world.
First off...the Centrix figures showing how many people are doing Christmas on credit this year. It is normal for people to borrow a bit here and there to...smooth out if you like...the household budget over the heavy spending period.
Credit cards were up nearly 12 percent...Buy now pay later jumped 7...personal loans are up 3 percent. This is a seasonal thing...quite normal for a November month. But Centric said this...and I precis...“there will be a segment stretching beyond their means".
More of a tell-tale sign though...the growing number of people falling behind with their debt. That's mortgages in arrears or car loans or credit card debt that's not getting paid down.
The monthly count of people behind on their payments is up...not a lot...I don't want to over-egg this...but year-on-year arrears have increased 6.1%. Mortgage arrears are up by a quarter year-on-year...25 percent...and that is bad.
Higher interest rates are obviously driving that, and there are still more people yet to roll off those cheapo post-covid deals. Now we learn that people are increasingly turning to their KiwiSaver money...the retirement nest-egg.
Hardship withdrawals have almost doubled in the past year. And that's crap, because it's borrowing from your own future...the Retirement Commission reckons more than half of retirees now say they're in financial difficulty.
It's tough, and getting tougher...these figures are the beginning of the trend, the bottom of the curve. As the PM said on Hosking the other day, it's likely the new Government has inherited a recession.
Solutions...Christ, don't ask me, I'm not a politician.
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