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US consumer borrowing up $16.5 billion in February

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Consumers increased their borrowing in February on autos and student loans by the largest amount in a year. But for a second straight month, they cut back on their credit card use.

The Federal Reserve says consumer borrowing climbed $16.5 billion in February, up from a $13.5 billion gain in January.

The category that includes credit cards fell $2.4 billion after a $241 million drop in January. But this decline was offset by an $18.9 billion increase in borrowing in the category that covers autos and student loans, the biggest one-month gain since February 2013.

The overall increase in consumer debt pushed total borrowing to a record $3.13 trillion.

Gains in borrowing are seen as an encouraging sign that people are more confident and willing to take on debt.

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