Outstanding consumer credit, a measure of nonmortgage debt, rose by a seasonally adjusted $13.4 billion in April from March, according to the Federal Reserve. The 4.5% seasonally adjusted annual growth rate is a slowdown from March’s revised 9.57% pace.
Revolving credit outstanding, mostly credit cards, rose at a 2.08% annual pace in April, the slowest pace since January as Americans became more cautious about running up credit card debt. That is a steep drop-off from a downwardly revised rate of 13.34% in March, its fastest pace since February 2001.
Revolving credit has approached postrecession highs in 2016, after years of steadily piling up alongside steady job creation. But April’s relatively meager revolving credit addition of $1.65 billion suggests consumers may be hesitant to take on more credit card debt amid uncertainty about the economy.
Nonrevolving credit, which close once all payments have been made, rose at a 5.4% annual rate to $2.65 trillion.
Student loan lending by the government continued to swell. Nonrevolving lending to consumers, which consists mostly of student loans, climbed to $989.6 billion on a not seasonally adjusted basis.
The gain in credit balances in March was revised lower to $28.38 billion. At $29.67 billion prior, it was the most since November 2001.
April's slowdown in consumer borrowing follows a first quarter of modest economic growth and little breakout in consumer spending.
A broad measure of personal spending rose in April at its fastest pace in nearly seven years, according to the Commerce Department. Retail sales rose in April to the highest level in more than a year, boosted by a sharp increase in spending online, according to the Commerce Department. And auto sales also rose in April, according to data provider Autodata Corp.