US consumer borrowing up strong $16.6 billion in July

FILE- This June 10, 2015, file photo shows chip credit cards in Philadelphia. On Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, the Federal Reserve releases its July report

FILE- This June 10, 2015, file photo shows chip credit cards in Philadelphia. On Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, the Federal Reserve releases its July report

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans increased their borrowing in July at nearly double the pace of the previous month, evidence that confident consumers are willing to take on more debt to support their spending.

The Federal Reserve reports that consumer debt rose by a seasonally adjusted $16.6 billion in July, up sharply from a gain of $8.5 billion in June.

The category that includes credit cards rose by $1.3 billion after shrinking by $1.2 billion in June. The category that covers auto and student loans surged by $15.4 billion after an increase of $9.6 billion in June. It was the largest gain since an increase of $17.9 billion last November.

Consumer borrowing is closely followed for the clues it can provide about the willingness of consumers to go into debt to support spending.