Losses on bonds backed by U.S. card debt rose in January and will likely accelerate as personal bankruptcies rise, Moody’s Investors Service Inc. said.
The annual rate of losses rose 1 percentage point from a year earlier, to 4.3% of receivables, Moody’s said Wednesday. The increase was the first in a year.
The amount of bills overdue by more than 30 days rose 50 basis points, to 3.9%.
The numbers are based on a sample of $410 billion of bonds backed by credit card loans.
Bankruptcies have begun to increase gradually, and card losses likely will reflect that increase for the rest of the year, Moody’s said. Personal bankruptcies fell “dramatically” last year after a rush in 2005 to beat a federal law that made erasing debts more difficult.
“Year-over-year performance deterioration will likely be a common theme throughout 2007, since 2006 performance was unusually strong across the board,” and the last time card losses rose was in December 2005, the rating agency said.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Dec. 5 that individual bankruptcies in the year that ended Sept. 30 fell 37.9% from a year earlier, to 1.1 million. Filings are rising but remain below the level before the law into effect in October 2005.