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Consumer Debt Rise Is Highest in 10 Months

October 08, 1987|Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Americans took out $4.66 billion more in credit than they paid off in August, the biggest rise in consumer debt in 10 months, the government said Wednesday.

The Federal Reserve attributed the large debt increase to high auto sales during August as consumers took advantage of cut-rate financing incentives being offered at the end of the model year.

The August increase, which translated into an annual growth rate of 9.5%, compared to debt growth of 6.8% in July when consumer debt rose by $3.35 billion. It was the largest one-month gain since a $5.59-billion rise in October, 1986.

Equity Loans Gain Favor

In August, automobile loans climbed by $2.91 billion, more than triple the $850-million rise in July.

Credit card debt increased $1.03 billion, down slightly from the July advance of $1.34 billion.

The category, which includes cash loans from banks not secured by real estate, rose $890 million, down from a July increase of $989 million, while loans for mobile homes fell by $168 million.

Most of the debt categories have shown lower growth this year as consumers have turned instead to home equity loans because the interest on these types of loans can still be deducted for federal income tax purposes. Home equity loans are not measured in the consumer debt statistics gathered by the Federal Reserve.

The various changes left total consumer debt at a seasonally adjusted $595.83 billion at the end of August.

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