Growth in consumer borrowing slowed in December

Markets Associated Press

Consumers increased their borrowing in December at the slowest pace in six months, as growth in credit card usage decelerated sharply.

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The Federal Reserve says total borrowing rose $14.2 billion in December, a slowdown from November's increase of $25.2 billion. Borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student loans rose by $11.8 billion, just slightly below the $13.4 billion increase in November.

But borrowing in the category that covers credit cards slowed to a gain of just $2.4 billion after a surge of $11.8 billion in November. It was the weakest showing since credit card debt had fallen last February.

The big November gain in credit card debt had been viewed as a good sign at the start of the holiday shopping season.