The proportion of those indebted rose to 77.6% in December, while those failing to pay fell to 28.8%

Brazilians became more indebted between November and December 2023, while defaults improved slightly, according to the National Confederation of Trade in Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC). On an annual average, indebtedness fell in 2023 for the first time since 2019, while defaults peaked at almost a third of the population, the organisation said in its Consumer Indebtedness and Default Survey (Peic).

The proportion of households with overdue bills rose from 76.6% in November to 77.6% in December 2023. However, the result is still lower than a year earlier, in December 2022, when 78.0% of households were in debt.

“Indebtedness is fundamental to economic development, as credit is the springboard of the capitalist system,” CNC chief economist Felipe Tavares said in an official statement. “Default is a negative consequence of indebtedness, caused by the low income of Brazilians and the volatility of the country’s economy,” he added.

For the purposes of the survey, debt is defined as accounts due in the form of credit cards, overdrafts, store bills, payroll loans, personal loans, post-dated cheques, and car and house payments.

“The increase in indebtedness in the last month raises a point of attention in relation to the indebtedness of Brazilian families, given the high percentage of indebted families. Despite the high percentage of indebted families, family debt as a percentage of GDP is around 30%, which is not a high percentage compared to the US market, where family debt represents 73% of US GDP,” the CNC study added.

The proportion of consumers with overdue bills fell from 29.0% in November to 28.8% in December 2023. In December 2022, the share of delinquent households was higher at 30.0%.

The proportion of families who said they were unable to pay their arrears and therefore remained in arrears fell from 12.5% in November to 12.2% in December 2023. This is still higher than in December 2022, when 11.3% were in this situation.

Annual average

In 2023, the annual debt rate stood at 77.8% of the population, just 0.1 percentage points lower than in 2022.

“The decrease in the overall Peic indicator, although small, represents a victory in relation to the worrying evolution of household indebtedness,” says the CNC report, stressing, however, that eight out of ten Brazilians still have debt in their name.

The annual default rate will rise from 28.9% in 2022 to 29.5% in 2023. The average proportion of those who said they were unable to pay their outstanding debts also rose, from 10.7% to 12.1% over the period.

“This confirms the importance of well-structured debt renegotiation programmes, such as Desenrola, which is already showing results, with a fall in this indicator in the last quarter of the year, from 13% in October to 12.2% in December last year,” the CNC defended.

Original Story: UOL | Estadão Conteúdo
Translation: Prime Yield
Photo: Free Images /BrunoNeves