WASHINGTON Growth in U.S. consumer credit slowed for the second straight month in July, held back by a decline in a measure of credit card usage that hinted at a mood of caution among consumers.
The Federal Reserve said on Monday consumer credit rose at a 4.4 percent annual rate in July, down from a 5 percent rate in June.
Credit expanded by $10.4 billion during the month, missing analysts' expectations for a $12.5 billion gain.
Credit has been expanding almost continuously since mid-2010 as the country recovered from the 2007-09 recession, a trend that has supported economic growth by helping consumers spend more on cars and education.
Still, the data also showed that Americans appeared to use their credit cards more sparingly in July, a potentially worrisome sign for consumer spending. Revolving credit facilities, a measure that includes credit cards, declined by $1.8 billion during the month.
The overall increase in credit was driven by non-revolving facilities, which include auto loans as well as student loans made by the government. Non-revolving credit increased $12.3 billion during the month.
(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Andrea Ricci)