U.S. consumer credit increased by the smallest amount since November and growth for the prior month was revised lower, giving a cautious signal about the pace of economic expansion.
Total consumer credit rose $13.5 billion to $3.25 trillion in August, the Federal Reserve said on Tuesday. The figure for July was revised down to show a gain of $21.6 billion.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer credit to increase $20 billion in August.
The weak reading could bolster the view that economic growth downshifted in the third quarter from the pace clocked in the prior three months. Most economists see the economy expanding at around a 3 percent annual rate in the June-August period, which would be slower than in the second quarter but faster than average growth over the last few years.
The slowdown in credit growth in August was due primarily to a $207.5 million drop in revolving credit, which mostly measures credit card use. Non-revolving credit, which includes auto loans as well as student loans by the government, increased $13.7 billion.
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