U.S. consumer debt rose in November at a faster- than-estimated pace as Americans continued to borrow to finance purchases.
Total credit rose $22.1 billion from the prior month, exceeding the median estimate of economists, following a downwardly revised $25 billion gain in October, Federal Reserve figures showed Tuesday. Non-revolving debt rose the most in a year.
- The report is generally in-line with other data pointing to robust U.S. consumer spending, buoyed by tax cuts and a solid jobs market that added the most workers in 10 months at year- end. The borrowing likely contributed in the fourth quarter to consumption growing at a healthy but more moderate pace than the prior two periods.
- Revolving credit outstanding, which includes credit card debt, increased $4.77 billion after a $9.34 billion rise the prior month. The figures show Americans borrowed somewhat more cautiously at the start of the holiday season.
- Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $17.4 billion after rising $15.6 billion. Such debt, which includes loans for education and automobiles, may in part reflect industry data showing sales of vehicles remained steady in late 2018.
- Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, increased by $4.6 billion before seasonal adjustment
- Credit expanded at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.7 percent, after 7.6 percent in the prior month
- The central bank’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages.
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