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U.S. consumer credit surges at fastest pace since 2001

Staff writer |
Borrowing by U.S. consumers ballooned in March at the fastest pace in more than a decade.

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Outstanding consumer credit, a measure of non-real estate debt, rose by a seasonally adjusted $29.67 billion in March from the prior month, the Federal Reserve said. The 10% seasonally adjusted annual growth rate was the fastest growth pace since November 2001.

Revolving credit outstanding, mostly credit cards, increased at a 14.16% annual pace in March, the fastest pace since July 2000. Revolving credit rose at a revised rate of 3.72% in February.

Nonrevolving credit outstanding, including student and auto loans, increased at a 8.50% annual pace in March compared with February's revised 5.17% growth rate.

The sharp increase in consumer borrowing follows months of modest economic growth. While the economy has been producing jobs at a healthy pace, overall economic activity has slowed.

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