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U.S. consumer borrowing rose at slower pace in August

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Home equity and auto loan rates are displayed at a bank in North Andover, Mass., in March.

WASHINGTON >> U.S. consumers slowed their borrowing in August to an annual increase of 4.2 percent — a pullback from a pace of roughly 7 percent over each of the past three years.

The Federal Reserve said today that overall consumer credit rose $13.1 billion in August, down from the $17.7 billion increase in July.

Economists and financial markets monitor the consumer borrowing report for insights about consumer spending, a category that represents about 70 percent of U.S. economic activity. Consumer spending barely edged up in August in a sign that some Americans remain cautious despite a relatively solid job market.

Others signs suggest that consumers are being careful with the additional debt they’re taking on. A measure of delinquencies tracked by the American Bankers Association remained below its historic 15-year average, the trade association said Oct. 5.

Non-revolving credit, which includes auto and student loans, increased $7.3 billion. The revolving credit category, which includes credit cards, increased $5.8 billion.

The August increase brought consumer credit to a total of $3.77 trillion. The Fed’s monthly credit report does not include mortgages or other debt secured by real estate, including home-equity loans.

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