US consumers borrowed more in June to purchase cars and pay for tuition fees. They used their credit cards less, which was an indicator that consumers were still wary about getting high interest debt. The Federal Reserve said that borrowing increased $13.8 billion in June from the previous month to a seasonally adjusted $2.85 trillion, which was a record high. The gain came after the $17.5 billion gain in May.
Revolving credit, that included credit card use, declined $2.7 billion in June. It came after an increase of $6.4 billion in May, which was the biggest in a year. Overall credit card debt dropped 16.5 percent from its highest level in July 2008.
Loans for autos and student loans increased $16.5 billion in June. Non-revolving borrowing was driven by borrowers who got loans to pay for college as well as demand for vehicles. It gained the most in four months. Lending to consumers by the federal government increased $3.3 billion before adjustments.
Cars and light trucks sold at a 15.6 million yearly rate last month and 15.9 million in June. This was the strongest back-to-back readings since 2007.
Household purchases increased 0.5 percent in June after 0.2 percent gain in the previous month. This was according to the Commerce Department. Incomes went up 0.3 percent after a 0.4 percent gain.
The increases in home prices and stock portfolios have placed consumers in a position to take advantage of low interest rates for big ticket purchases such as vehicles. The cut back on credit card use was seen as an effect of higher payroll tax that limited take home pay.
In a survey made by Bloomberg, the average forecast was for a $15 billion increase in June. The estimates of the economists ranged from increases of $10 billion to $21 billion. The report didn’t include debt made by real estate, such as home equity and mortgages.