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Economic Report: U.S. consumer borrowing picks up speed in August

The numbers: Total U.S. consumer credit rose $32.2 billion in August, up from $26.1 billion in the prior month, the Federal Reserve said Friday. That translates into a 8.3% annual rate, up from a 6.8% gain in the prior month.

Economists had been expecting a $24 billion gain, according to the Wall Street Journal forecast.

Key data: Revolving credit, like credit cards, rose 18.1% in August after a 11.7% gain in the prior month.

Nonrevolving credit, typically auto and student loans, rose 5.1%, down slightly from a 5.2% gain in July. This category of credit is much less volatile.

The consumer credit data does not include mortgage debt, which is the largest category of household borrowing.

Big picture: Total consumer borrowing has averaged a gain of $31.2 billion in the first eight months of the year. Some experts are alarmed at the pace of growth in consumer credit and think that households are using expensive debt to keep spending with inflation so elevated.

Fed officials say household balance sheets are generally in good shape as many consumers were able to pay down debt during the pandemic.

Market reaction: Stocks
DJIA,
-2.11%

SPX,
-2.80%

were lower on Friday after a solid job report sparked concern that Fed policy would stay aggressive on interest-rate hikes. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
TMUBMUSD10Y,
3.884%

rose to 3.89%.

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