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Consumer Credit Increases in April


Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

Consumer borrowing in the United States rose in April as Americans boosted credit card use by the most since November 2007.

The $26.8 billion surge in total credit exceeded the highest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey and followed a $19.5 billion gain in March, the Federal Reserve reported.

The median forecast of economists called for a $15 billion advance. Revolving lending, which includes credit cards, jumped $8.8 billion.

More job gains and increases in stock and home values are giving consumers the confidence to borrow after years of drawing down debt. Further wage growth would provide households the wherewithal to take out loans for big-ticket purchases such as new cars and help propel higher sales at retailers.

“Consumer credit is a bit easier to get — the willingness to lend on the part of banks toward households has improved,” said Michael Gapen, a senior U.S. economist at Barclays.

The gain in consumer credit was the biggest since a break in the Fed’s series in December 2010. Estimates of the 29 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from increases of $12 billion to $21 billion. The report doesn’t track debt secured by real estate, such as mortgages and home-equity lines of credit.

By Bloomberg News

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