WASHINGTON, Feb 7 - U.S. consumer credit expanded much more than expected in December, a positive signal for the economy as people borrowed money to buy cars and go to school.
Total consumer credit grew by $19.31 billion, more than twice the $7.7 billion increase that was expected by analysts in a Reuters poll.
Nonrevolving credit, which includes auto loans as well as student loans made by the government, accounted for the bulk of the increase as outstanding credit rose $16.55 billion during the month. That was the biggest increase since November 2001.
Revolving credit, which mostly measures credit-card use, rose by $2.76 billion in December.