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Consumer borrowing rose in June by most in 4 years

By Vincent Del Giudice
Bloomberg News / August 6, 2011

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WASHINGTON - US consumer borrowing jumped in June by the most in four years, led by a gain in nonrevolving debt, including student loans.

Credit increased by $15.5 billion, three times as much as projected and the biggest gain since August 2007, after a $5.08 billion advance in May that was little changed from the previous estimate, the Federal Reserve said yesterday.

Economists forecast a $5 billion rise, according to a Bloomberg News survey.

Unemployment hovering around 9 percent may be spurring Americans to stay in school longer or seek more training. At the same time, elevated gasoline and food costs may be straining budgets, prompting consumers to turn to their credit cards to purchase necessities.

“While consumer credit has grown, it has done so more slowly than disposable income,’’ Steven Wood, president of Insight Economics LLC in Danville, Calif., said in an e-mail to clients. “Households are still deleveraging but not nearly as aggressively as they were last year.’’

Nonrevolving debt, including educational loans and loans for autos and mobile homes, rose by $10.3 billion for the month, the most since February.

Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, increased by $5.21 billion in June, the most since March 2008, according to the central bank.