Consumer credit expanded modestly in January.

Americans took out $536 million more in consumer debt than they paid off in January, up only slightly from an extremely small December increase, the Federal Reserve board reported. The Fed said consumer installment debt advanced at an annual rate of 1.1% in January after a gain of $144 million in December, which had been the smallest monthly increase in six years. Credit card debt fell by $366 million in January after a December increase of $552 million, while the category which includes cash loans from banks dropped by $250 million after a huge $2.44-billion decline in December.

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