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Total consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.3% for December, to hit $3.106 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve Consumer Credit report (link opens a PDF) released today.
After advancing at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.8% for November, this month's consumer credit pushed ahead on a sizable $5 billion increase in revolving credit. In absolute terms, analysts had expected an overall $12 billion rise, $6.8 billion short of actual expansion.
Revolving credit's (no fixed number of payments, e.g., credit cards) rise was the largest since December, and the third largest of the economic recovery.
Non-revolving credit (fixed installments, e.g., car payments) also pushed ahead, up $13.7 billion. At $2.244 trillion, non-revolving credit significantly outweighs revolving credit's $862 billion outstanding. According to The Wall Street Journal, this credit type's increase is due largely to the government's continued purchase of student loans. However, WSJ also notes that car payments indicate a "solid pace" for car sales.
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