Consumer Borrowing in U.S. Increased at Slower Pace in October

Consumer borrowing cooled in October, reflecting the smallest gain in Americans’ credit-card balances in eight months.

The $16 billion increase in total credit followed a revised $28.6 billion surge in the previous month, Federal Reserve figures showed Monday. Revolving debt climbed $179 million after a $6.7 billion advance, the data showed.

While households kept their credit-card balances in check in October, loan demand for motor vehicles remained robust. Borrowing probably will stay elevated as auto sales exceeded an 18 million rate for a record third month in November.

Job gains, more progress in restoring household balance sheets and greater disposable income has given Americans the confidence to take on more debt.

Non-revolving loans, which include funding for college tuition and auto purchases, rose $15.8 billion after a $21.9 billion increase the previous month.

The median forecast of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a $20 billion increase in total borrowing, with estimates ranging from gains of $12.7 billion to $27 billion.

The Fed’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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