Tepid Loan Data Answers The Boom Narrative

It’s a curious development, though understood plainly for the reasons I detailed earlier. The economy in narrative is booming now, so the economy in data, which isn’t, will be booming later.

It is consistent with a couple separate data points, though related, both prepared by the Federal Reserve. The first is its H.8 release covering the assets and liabilities of commercial banks in the US. One important cyclical indicator on the asset side of the ledger is the volume or level of Commercial and Industrial (C&I) loans. Just as inventory and labor market growth tailed off considerably in 2016, so, too, did C&I lending.