Consumer debt falls sharply

first_img While retailers are reporting a mixed start to the holiday shopping season, analysts cautioned against reading too much into the one-month falloff in consumer credit. “This is a pay back for the aggressive discounts consumers were offered to buy cars during the summer,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 45.95 points to finish the day at 10,810.91. Americans are shouldering record-high levels of consumer debt and personal savings rates have fallen to record lows, but analysts said consumer spending, which accounts for two-thirds of the total economy, should continue rising even if the pace slows a bit. “I have full faith in the ability of the American consumer to keep spending,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York. The 4 percent drop in consumer credit followed a 2.2 percent increase in September while the 4.9 percent drop in auto loans and other non-revolving credit followed a 1.1 percent decline in September. These loans had shot up by 6.2 percent in August as consumers responded to attractive incentive offers. On the Net: Consumer credit report: www.federalreserve.gov 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – Consumer borrowing plunged at a record annual rate of $7.2 billion in October, reflecting a big drop in auto loans. The Federal Reserve reported Wednesday that the decline was the biggest amount ever in dollar terms, and included a record drop of $5.6 billion rate of decline in the category that includes car loans. The dollar declines translated into a drop of 4 percent in overall borrowing, the biggest percentage setback in nearly 15 years, and a decline of 4.9 percent in the category that includes auto loans, the biggest percentage drop in 13 years. The big drop took analysts by surprise. They had been expecting that consumer spending would rise at an annual rate of $5 billion in October. last_img

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