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Published: Monday, 2/7/2011

Consumers borrow more money in December, credit card debt grows for first time since 2008

WASHINGTON — Americans are putting more money on their credit cards after two years of cutting back, helping fuel the third straight monthly increase in consumer borrowing.

The Federal Reserve reports consumers increased their borrowing by $6.1 billion in December to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $2.41 trillion. That represented a gain of 3 percent.

Borrowing in the category that includes credit cards rose 3.5 percent, the first advance after a record 27 straight monthly declines. Borrowing on auto loans was up 2.8 percent.

Even with the December gains, consumer borrowing is just 0.7 percent higher than the more than three-year low hit in September. It is 6.6 percent below the high set in July 2008.



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