Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

U.S. Consumer Borrowing Increases by Most in Nearly a Year

Updated on

U.S. consumer credit outstanding rose in October by the most since November 2016 on larger credit-card balances, Federal Reserve data showed Tuesday.

Highlights of Consumer Credit (October)

  • Total credit rose $20.5b (est. $17b) or at a 6.5% annualized rate after a downwardly revised $19.2b gain
  • Non-revolving debt outstanding climbed $12.2b
  • Revolving credit outstanding increased $8.3b, also the biggest gain since November 2016

Key Takeaways

The 9.9 percent annualized increase in revolving debt, which includes credit cards, shows Americans carried bigger balances heading into the holiday-shopping season. While incomes are rising and home and stock values have boosted household net worth to a record, consumers with fewer assets may find it difficult to boost their spending as their debt burdens mount.

Other Details

  • Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, increased by $5.1 billion in October, before seasonal adjustment
  • 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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