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US consumer borrowing growth slows to $13.9 billion

In this Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, photo, Master Card and Visa logos on credit cards is shown in Zelienople, Pa. On Wednesday, March 7, the Federal Reserve releases its January report on consumer borrowing. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

WASHINGTON (AP) - American consumers increased their borrowing at a slower pace in January, as the category that covers credit cards recorded the smallest increase in three years.

The Federal Reserve says the January gain of $13.9 billion followed a $19.2 billion increase in December and a November surge of $30.9 billion.

In January, borrowing in the credit card category edged up $701 million. That followed an increase of $6.1 billion in December and was the smallest monthly advance since a gain of $605 million in February 2015. Borrowing in the category that covers auto loans and student loans rose by $13.2 billion in January, basically matching the $13.1 billion increase in December.

Consumer borrowing is a key metric for evidence of strength in consumer spending.

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