Indebtedness reaches 72.9% of Brazilian households

In August, the country reached a record 11.890 million indebted families, according to data from the National Confederation of Commerce of Goods, Services and Tourism (CNC) anticipated exclusively for the Estadão/Broadcast. THE Consumer Indebtedness and Default Survey (Peic), started in 2010, registered a peak of 72.9% of Brazilian households with debts in August, an increase of 1.5 percentage points in relation to July, when this proportion was 71.4%.

A woman prepares food in her shack, in a favela located in Teresina, Piauí.  Photo: Roberto Castro / ESTADÃO.

A woman prepares food in her shack, in a favela located in Teresina, Piauí. Photo: Roberto Castro / ESTADÃO.

Photo: Roberto Castro / Estadão Content

The indicator already accumulates nine months of consecutive increases. In comparison with August 2020, when the total indebtedness amounted to 67.5%, the advance was 5.4 points. In other words, in just one month, over 251.6 thousand families contracted debt. In one year, more than 930 thousand homes are in debt.

CNC’s research considers as debts the bills still due on post-dated checks, credit cards, overdrafts, store booklets, payroll-deductible loans, personal loans, car and home payments.

“This indebtedness began to show an upward trend between November and December of last year, but, from April until now, there has been an increase in this growth. This happened in both income groups (low and high), but the indebtedness characteristics between these groups is different”, says economist Izis Janote Ferreira, responsible for the CNC research.

Among the lowest-income families, who receive up to 10 minimum wages per month, 74.2% are in debt, a record. In the higher income bracket, which earns more than 10 minimum wages per month, there is also a peak of 67.6% of debt.

The still difficult situation in the labor market, with high unemployment, and high inflation, with price shocks in essential items such as food, are driving higher debts by families, especially those with lower incomes.

“People are using their credit card to consume essential products, because the money is not enough to close the month. It’s to be able to close the accounts, to be able to reach the end of the month with minimally up-to-date bills”, explained Izis .

On the other hand, among higher-income families, interest rates that are still relatively low and the relaxation of social isolation measures have contributed to withdrawals from savings and expenditures on credit card services, in addition to the contracting of credit card financing. properties and automobiles, listed the economist at CNC.

Default risk increases

The increase in the contracting of debts by consumers began to intensify in the last quarter of last year. The trend is for growth, which raises an alert for a possible expansion of default. “This will naturally increase the risk for the default. In addition, there are difficulties related to income, inflation, the labor market, which does not seem to be able to absorb this increase in the search for a job”, recalls Izis Janote Ferreira.

For now, delinquency remains stable: 25.6% of Brazilian families were delinquent in August, the same result as in July. Although the result means that one in every four households in the country has some account or debt in arrears, the result is 1.1 percentage point below the one registered in August of last year, when 26.7% of the families were in default.

The total number of families who claim that they are unable to pay their bills and debts that are already overdue and that, therefore, will remain in default in the following month, dropped from 10.9% in July to 10.7% in August.

In Acre, 93.7% of families are already in debt. The proportion of households in debt reached record levels in August in Acre, Ceará, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Pernambuco and São Paulo.

Of the 27 Federation Units, the volume of families with debts exceeded the local historical average in 24 of them. Only Piauí, Distrito Federal and Santa Catarina maintain indebtedness below the historical average.

In August, the most frequent debt among families was the credit card, mentioned by a peak of 83.6% of indebted families. In February, in the pre-pandemic, 78.4% of the indebted had bills to pay on their credit card.

“Only in low-income families, the proportion of indebtedness on the card reaches 84.3%, above the national figure. For you to see how the credit card is being the way out, although it is an expensive, risky modality. Because sometimes the debt reaches such a proportion of income that the person finds himself in a situation of payment difficulty, and, to renegotiate this debt, it is a renegotiation that will start at an interest rate of around 300% per year”, Izis alert.

Other types of debt that also registered growth in relation to the pre-pandemic ones were store booklets (mentioned by 18.2% of the indebted), car financing (13.1%), home financing (10.3%), credit personal (9.5%) and payroll loans (6.8%).