comscore U.S. consumer borrowing falls by $7.2B in August | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Top News

U.S. consumer borrowing falls by $7.2B in August

WASHINGTON >> U.S. consumers cut back on their borrowing in August, with credit card use dropping for a sixth straight month, reflecting caution in the midst of the pandemic-triggered recession.

The Federal Reserve said today that total borrowing fell by $7.2 billion after a gain of $14.7 billion in July. It was the first decline since a $12 billion fall in May when COVID-19 pandemic-driven shutdowns ground the economy to a near standstill.

The weakness in August came from a $9.4 billion fall in the category that covers credit cards, the sixth decline in that area starting with a $25.4 billion drop in March.

The category that covers auto loans and student loans rose by $2.2 billion in August, its fourth gain after a $5.6 billion drop in April.

Consumer borrowing is closely followed for signals it can send about households’ willingness to take on more debt to support their spending, which accounts for 70% of economic activity.

Economists say they expect to see a resumption in credit card growth in coming months but that the gains will likely be limited.

“Softer consumer-spending growth, elevated savings and tight lending standards will limit the upside” potential for credit card gains, said Oren Klachkin, senior economist at Oxford Economics.

Consumer credit does not include mortgages or any other loans backed by real estate such as home equity loans.

The decline in August left consumer credit at a seasonally adjusted $4.14 trillion.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

Be the first to know
Get web push notifications from Star-Advertiser when the next breaking story happens — it's FREE! You just need a supported web browser.
Subscribe for this feature
Comments (0)

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Terms of Service. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. Report comments if you believe they do not follow our guidelines.

Having trouble with comments? Learn more here.

Scroll Up