US consumer borrowing likely posted a solid gain in June

Markets Associated Press

The Federal Reserve releases its June report on consumer borrowing at 3 p.m. Eastern Friday.

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RISING CREDIT: Economists expect that consumers increased borrowing by a healthy $17 billion in June, according to a survey by the data firm FactSet.

WINNING STREAK: Consumer borrowing posted solid gains in May (up $16.1 billion) and April (up $21.4 billion). The May increase — which took total borrowing to a record $3.4 trillion — was driven by a surge in auto and student loans. The category that includes credit cards rose $1.6 billion on top of an April increase of $8.5 billion.

Economists expect consumers to borrow and spend more the rest of the year. That would boost growth in a country where consumer spending accounts for nearly 70 percent of economic activity.

The American economy grew at annual rate of 0.6 percent from January to March and 2.3 percent from April through May. Economists expect growth to pick up to about a 3 percent pace the second half of the year. The job market has been healthy: Employers are adding 208,000 jobs a month this year, and unemployment dropped in June to a seven-year low 5.3 percent.