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Business Briefing / Credit

Consumer debt rose in January

March 07, 2009|TIMES WIRE SERVICES

Consumer borrowing rose unexpectedly in January after three months of declines.

The Federal Reserve says borrowing increased at an annual rate of $1.76 billion in the first month of 2009. Economists expected borrowing to decline at a rate of $5 billion.

Still, the small rise in January is unlikely to shake economists' views that borrowing will remain weak this year as consumers tighten their belts in the face of massive layoffs and the recession.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic activity.

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