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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 November 2006, 21:33 GMT
US consumer credit drops $1.2bn
Customer looks at a Buick model in Michigan
A slide in car loans led the drop in borrowing
US consumer credit sank by its largest amount in almost 15 years last month, US Federal Reserve figures show.

Consumer borrowing fell by $1.2bn (629m) in September, its first decline since March and its biggest drop since a $1.78bn fall in April 1992.

The drop meant borrowing fell at annual rate of 0.6% in the month compared with a 4.2% increase in August.

The central bank blamed a sharp fall in loans for cars, boats, education expenses and holidays for the decline.

Borrowing for car loans led the fall, sliding at an annual rate of 3.2%, compared to an increase of 3.5% a month earlier, the Federal Reserve added.

By contrast credit card borrowing was one category to record a rise, recording an annual increase of 4% in September.

However, even credit card borrowing grew at a slower rate to the 6.7% increases seen in August.

Economic worries

The economic picture has been affected by a slowing housing market, sluggish consumer spending and oil prices, which despite recent falls, remain historically high.

Experts added that declining house prices had taken their toll on consumers, who tightened their purse strings as property prices fell making them feel less wealthy.

Recent figures showed property prices in the US slumped by almost 10% in September.

The Federal Reserve report does not include mortgages or other loans secured on property.

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