U.S. consumer credit debt falls for eighth straight month in September


U.S. consumers' efforts to pay down their credit card debts continue. Outstanding U.S. consumer credit fell by $14.8 billion or at a 7.2 percent annual rate in September -- the eighth straight monthly credit decline, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced Friday.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had expected to see a September consumer credit contraction of $10 billion, after a revised $9.9 billion decline in August, and a $19 billion plunge in July. Consumer credit is down 4.7 percent compared to a year ago, and balances have fallen in 12 of the past 14 months.

In September, total outstanding consumer credit, including revolving and non-revolving credit, declined to $2.46 trillion, or by 4.7 percent compared to a year ago, the Fed said. In Q3, total outstanding debt declined at a 6.1 percent annual rate; it fell at 6.6 percent and 3.7 percent annual rates in Q2 and Q1, respectively.