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US consumer borrowing soars $21.36BN in March on demand for student, auto loans

US consumer credit soared by $21.36 billion in March, marking the seventh straight monthly gain and the biggest increase for a single month in more than a decade.

US consumer spendingEnlarge
US consumer borrowing soared in March as people swiped their credit cards more often and took out more student and auto loans. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

US consumer borrowing soared by $21.36 billion in March to $2.54 trillion, marking the seventh straight monthly gain and the biggest increase for a single month in more than a decade, MarketWatch reported today, citing figures from the Federal Reserve.

Bloomberg said the larger-than-expected increase was driven by non-revolving debt, which includes student loans and auto financing.

It was the biggest jump in consumer borrowing since November 2001 and it was more than twice analysts’ expectations for an $8.5 billion increase, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Non-revolving loans surged $16.2 billion in March while a gauge of mostly credit card debt rose $5.2 billion after retreating in January and February, Bloomberg said.

The Fed’s data doesn’t cover debt secured by real estate.

The increase in consumer borrowing signals growing confidence in the US economic outlook and analysts said they expected the trend to continue in the coming months, though some expressed concern that the increase in educational loans reflected a weak job market.

"We expect that student loan growth will continue to push the level of consumer credit higher and we look for (credit card debt) to expand as banks become more willing to lend," Cooper Howes, an economist at Barclays Capital, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying.

More from GlobalPost: US consumer spending up sharply in March


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120507/us-consumer-borrowing-soars-2136bn-march-demand-