Consumer credit rose $8.2 billion in February, a strong gain but less than the previous month’s increase of $9 billion.
The latest rise in installment debt - the 27th straight monthly advance - amounts to a 10.6 percent increase at an annual rate, the Federal Reserve said Friday. Credit climbed 11.9 percent in January, revised upwards from an earlier reported 10.1 percent jump.
While most signs point to a slowdown in consumer spending this year from the torrid pace that closed out 1994, February’s rise in debt was larger than analysts expected.
The use of revolving credit, including credit cards, increased 22 percent at an annual rate in February compared to 19.5 percent in January. The February advance totaled $6.3 billion, compared to $5.5 billion the previous month.
Automobile loans rose 10.5 percent or $2.8 billion, compared to an increase of 1.2 percent or $336 million a month earlier.