Red flags emerge as Americans' debt load hits another record

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Some red flags emerged for the U.S. economy late last year as credit card inquiries fell, student-loan delinquencies remained high and riskier borrowers drove home automobiles, according to a report that could signal a downturn is on the horizon.

FILE PHOTO: A U.S. five dollar note is seen in this illustration photo June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

The U.S. household debt and credit report, published Tuesday by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, showed that the overall debt shouldered by Americans edged up to a record $13.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018. It has risen consistently since 2013, when debt bottomed out after the last recession.

While mortgage debt, by far the largest slice, slipped for the first time in two years, other forms of borrowing rose including that of credit cards, which at $870 billion matched its pre-crisis peak in 2008.

(Graphic: U.S. credit card debt: tmsnrt.rs/2BwlOx0)

Consumer spending…



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