Consumer credit fell short of forecasts for February

by Fiona Gabriel | Saturday, Apr 7, 2012 | 420 views

Consumer borrowing went up less than expected for the period of February, this was restrained by a fall in credit card debt, according the report for the Federal Reserve.

Credit increased by $8.7 billion in February. This was the smallest increase in the past four months. January showed a gain of $18.6 billion comparatively. Economists were looking for an increase in the area of $12 billion, including both revolving and non-revolving loans.

The release of this new data can mean one of two things, that Americans are still busty paying back debt that has already been taken out, or that they are still cautious of taking new loans. In light of the release of the Payrolls report on Friday, it may seem more likely that Americans are still just uncomfortable taking on debt at this point.

“Credit card borrowing has slowed down a bit,” Aneta Markowska, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, said before the report. “Clearly there was a run up in the past few months related to the holidays, and we’ve seen a pretty meaningful slowdown. The process of repairing consumers’ balance sheets still has farther to go.”

The Federal reserve’s statistics showed a drop in revolving credit of $2.2 billion over February. January showed a drop of $3 billion. Revolving credit refers to debt relating to things such as credit cards.

Non-revolving debt

 Non-revolving debt, which normally refers to things such as car loans, rose by $10.9 billion during February. This is the smallest rise in the past four months. The Federal Reserve does not track debt relating to real estate.
Even with the slowing down in March, consumer speeding has still seen an increases; This is due to the employment increases in the United States. Purchases rose by 0.8 percent; this is the most int he past 7 months.
Overall, consumer confidence seems to be getting somewhat better, thought there are still many sources of uncertainty in the future, such as employment gains, income, and the price o foi



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