American Express CEO says spending is strong, delinquencies are down from 2019
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American Express CEO says spending is strong, delinquencies are down from 2019

Stephen Squeri, chair and CEO of American Express, speaks during an Economic Club of New York event in New York on Nov. 10, 2022.

Stephanie Keith | Bloomberg | Getty Images

American Express CEO Stephen Squeri on Friday said the credit card company saw “good consumer spending” during the holidays and signs of strong overall health for U.S. spending.

In particular, delinquency rates were “lower than they were in 2019,” Squeri told CNBC’s Scott Wapner in an interview at the American Express PGA Tour event in La Quinta, California.

“Our customers are high-spending premium customers, and they are continuing to spend,” he said.

The signs of resilient consumer spending run somewhat counter to persistent inflation. December’s consumer price index increased 0.3%, hotter than the 0.2% expected by economists.

But Squeri said he’s not surprised, adding he’s of the opinion that the U.S. is in the middle of a “soft landing,” slowing spending and bringing inflation down — without spurring a recession.

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said earlier this week that he remains cautious on the U.S. economy, along with Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, who said it’s hard to imagine the number of Federal Reserve rate cuts that the market seems to be calling for in 2024.

“I mean look, recessions do happen,” Squeri said Friday. “The nice part about recessions is there’s always a recovery. … We’ll get through whatever we need to get through, and part of that is because of our customer base, and our colleagues that are supporting our customers.”

American Express reports its fourth-quarter earnings Jan 26.

Watch CNBC’s full interview with American Express CEO Stephen Squeri