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U.S. consumer credit up, credit card use falls again

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer credit rose more than expected in September but credit card usage fell for a fourth straight month, which could help shed some light on the slowdown in consumer spending during the third quarter.

Credit cards
Credit cards are pictured in a wallet in Washington, February 21, 2010. REUTERS/Stelios Varias

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer credit rose more than expected in September but credit card usage fell for a fourth straight month, which could help shed some light on the slowdown in consumer spending during the third quarter.

Total consumer credit increased by $13.74 billion to $3.05 trillion, the Federal Reserve said on Thursday.

Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer credit to rise $12 billion in September after a previously reported $13.63 billion increase in August. This was revised up to a gain of $14.15 billion.

Revolving credit, which mostly measures credit-card use, dropped $2.06 billion, falling for a fourth consecutive month. The sustained drop could help explain the pullback in consumer spending in the third quarter.

Consumer spending, which accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, grew at its slowest pace in two years during the July-September quarter, a government report showed on Thursday.

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Nonrevolving credit, which includes auto loans as well as student loans made by the government, increased $15.80 billion in September, the Fed data showed. That followed a $15.04 billion increase in August.

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