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Archive for Saturday, November 6, 2004

U.S. consumers put credit cards to work

November 6, 2004

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— Consumers borrowed more freely in September, especially when it came to racking up charges on their credit cards, the Federal Reserve reported Friday.

The latest snapshot of people's appetite to borrow showed that consumer credit rose by a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.8 percent in September from the previous month, or by $9.8 billion.

The increase left Americans' consumer credit outstanding at $2.05 trillion.

The figures are consistent with a retail sales report for September released by the government last month. That report suggested shoppers ignored soaring energy prices and rediscovered their urge to splurge.

The Fed's report includes credit card debt and loans for such items as boats, cars and mobile homes. It does not include real-estate loans, such as home mortgages or popular home-equity loans.

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