U.S. credit card defaults slid in September to a two-and-a-half-year low, continuing a downward trend as the economy heals, said Fitch Ratings.

After an August hiccup, Fitch's prime credit card chargeoff index fell back below the 10% mark, to 9.22%, from 10.36% a month earlier.

A host of data have indicated that delinquencies on credit cards and other debt have been on the decline this year as the U.S. has exited the recession and the economy has improved somewhat.

As long as improvement continues "in the employment situation, particularly on the new jobless claims front, we could foresee further improvements" in chargeoffs, Fitch managing director Michael Dean said. He said defaults still remain high on a historical basis.

Fitch said late-stage delinquencies improved in September for the ninth straight month, while early-stage delinquencies were flat for the month. The monthly payment rate, after four months of consecutive improvement, declined slightly.

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