U.S. consumer credit posts largest gain in a year

WASHINGTON Wed May 7, 2014 3:17pm EDT

A coffee shop displays signs for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, in Washington, May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A coffee shop displays signs for Visa, MasterCard and Discover, in Washington, May 1, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer credit recorded its largest increase in a year in March, boosted by growing demand for student loans and household borrowing to buy automobiles.

Total consumer credit increased by $17.53 billion to $3.14 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday. That was the largest rise since February 2013.

February's consumer credit figure was revised lower to show a $12.99 billion increase rather than the previously reported $16.49 billion advance.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer credit to rise by $15.75 billion in March.

Revolving credit, which mostly measures credit-card use, rebounded by $1.13 billion after falling by a revised $2.73 billion in February. The failure in March to recoup the prior month's decline suggests that households remain cautious about assuming too much debt.

Non-revolving credit, which includes auto loans as well as student loans made by the government, rose $16.40 billion in March. February's figure was revised to show a $15.71 billion increase instead of the previously reported $18.91 billion surge.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

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