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Borrowing by US consumers expanded at the fastest pace in three months


WASHINGTON — U.S. consumers increased their borrowing at the fastest pace in three months in December. The result signals that consumer spending should remain strong in coming months.

The Federal Reserve says borrowing expanded $21.3 billion in December, the strongest showing since an increase of $28.6 billion in September. That pushed total borrowing to a fresh record of $3.55 trillion.

Borrowing in the category that covers credit cards rose $5.8 billion, slightly below the November gain. Borrowing in the category that covers auto and student loans rose $15.4 billion in December, significantly higher than the November gain of $7.7 billion.

Consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of economic activity, is expected to accelerate this quarter after slowing in late 2015.

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