Auto, student loans drive US consumer borrowing to record high in February

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Consumers increased their borrowing in February, driven by a large jump in auto and student loans that offset a second monthly decline in credit card borrowing.

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The Federal Reserve reports that consumer borrowing expanded $15.5 billion in February following a $10.8 billion gain in January. The February increase pushed borrowing to a fresh record of $3.34 trillion.

Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards actually declined by $3.7 billion following a $1 billion drop in January. But borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student loans increased by $19.2 billion, the biggest monthly gain since July 2011.

Economists expect credit card use to rebound in coming months and help support solid gains in consumer spending this year.