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December consumer credit down for 11th straight month

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A weak job market and tight credit conditions caused consumer credit to fall $1.73 billion in December, the eleventh straight monthly decline, a report from the Federal Reserve showed on Friday.

December consumer credit outstanding fell at a 0.8 percent annual rate to $2.457 trillion, following a sharp downward revision to November's record drop. November credit fell $21.83 billion, or a 10.6 percent rate, compared to the record $17.5 billion first reported.

Analysts polled by Reuters had forecast consumer credit to decline by $9 billion in December.

The current string of 11 monthly declines in consumer credit is the longest since the Fed began keeping records in 1943 and the 10.6 percent drop in November is the sharpest decline in percentage terms since June 1975. Total credit has fallen in 15 of the last 17 months and had not fallen in a decade before the current string of declines began in August 2008.

Revolving credit, which includes credit cards, dropped $8.55 billion in December after falling a revised $13.79 billion in November. That's the 15th straight drop in revolving credit, the longest string of declines since those records began in 1968.

Nonrevolving credit, which takes in loans for new cars and mobile homes, rose $6.82 billion in December after falling by $8.04 billion in November.

There are some categories of credit use, such as home-equity loans, that are not measured by the Fed's monthly consumer credit report. (Reporting by Corbett B. Daly, Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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