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Consumer borrowing improves slightly

Feb 08, 2011 Brian Bradley

Consumers took on more credit for the third straight month in January, but the increasing rates have yet to make a significant impact since consumer borrowing cratered during the depths of the recession, Bloomberg reports. The total figure for January borrowing, which will be released by the Federal Reserve on Monday, is expected to climb by $2.5 billion over December totals, which stood $1.4 billion higher than November. However, the number will likely fall below the $7 billion increase witnessed in October when the annualized rate of borrowing exceeded $2.4 trillion. Though the figure sounds promising, the November rate was only slightly more than the previous two months, when borrowing was at its lowest rate since January 2007, according to Bloomberg. The comparatively smaller borrowing totals come at a time when consumer saving has declined. According to MarketWatch, the seasonally adjusted consumer spending rate has increased 1 percent since November, while the average savings rate fell to 5.3 percent of disposable income in December - the lowest rate since March 2010. MarketWatch reports economists had predicted a 0.6 percent increase in the savings rate.