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Consumer Credit Rises by $10.6 Billion, Lowest Amount in 5 Months

Consumer Credit Rises by $10.6 Billion, Lowest Amount in 5 Months
(Dmitriy Shironosov/Dreamstime)

Friday, 06 April 2018 03:12 PM

U.S. consumer debt rose in February by the least in five months as credit-card balances stalled, indicating Americans' appetite for borrowing waned further after a fourth- quarter shopping spree.

Highlights of Consumer Credit (February)

  • Total credit rose $10.6b (est. up $15.5b) and follows an upwardly revised $15.6b Jan. gain (prev. $13.9b), the Fed announced.
  • Revolving credit outstanding rose $148m m/m, smallest gain since a drop in Nov. 2013, after a $1.45b rise in Jan.
  • Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $10.5b m/m after $14.1b Jan. increase

Key Takeaways

The slowdown in revolving debt, which includes credit cards, helps explain why consumer-spending gains remained relatively sluggish in the first two months of the year. Growth in non- revolving debt, which includes education and auto loans, also eased during February. The data is in line with economists' forecasts of slower real household demand in the first quarter after a robust 2017.

Consumption is nonetheless likely to remain at healthy levels in coming months amid a tight job market, strong confidence and bigger paychecks after the tax cuts. A Labor Department report earlier Friday showed wage gains picked up in March and the unemployment rate held at the lowest since 2000, while hiring cooled from a robust pace in February.

The Fed’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages.

Other Details

  • Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, increased by $5.4 billion in February, before seasonal adjustment
  • Credit increased at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.3 percent in February, after 4.9 percent in January


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U.S. consumer debt rose in February by the least in five months as credit-card balances stalled, indicating Americans' appetite for borrowing waned further after a fourth-quarter shopping spree.
consumer, credit, charge, borrow, loan
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2018-12-06
Friday, 06 April 2018 03:12 PM
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