American household borrowing climbed more than forecast in February from a month earlier, led by financing for automobiles and college education.
The $17.2 billion increase followed a $14.9 billion gain in the prior month that was larger than previously estimated, Federal Reserve figures showed on Friday. Non-revolving credit, which includes student and automobile loans, rose while revolving credit, which includes credit card spending, also picked up.
Consumers, emboldened by increased hiring and cheap financing rates, are more willing to borrow for big-ticket purchases such as cars. At the same time, households have been wary of carrying large and unmanageable credit-card
balance. Revolving debt, which includes credit cards, rose by $2.9 billion following a $243.7 million decrease, the Fed’s report showed.
Non-revolving debt, such as that for college tuition and the purchase of vehicles and mobile homes, increased $14.3 billion, the smallest gain in three months. Lending by the federal government, which is mainly for student loans, rose by $6.2 bn before adjusting for seasonal variations.
The median forecast of 28 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a $14.9 billion rise in total consumer credit, with estimates ranging from $5 billion to $20 billion. The January reading was previously reported as an advance of $10.5 billion. The Fed’s consumer credit report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as home equity lines of credit and home mortgages.