Canadians continue to pile up debt

A credit card user displays her cards in this file photo. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

A credit card user displays her cards in this file photo. (REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:29 PM ET

Canadians continued to add debt in the first quarter of 2012, according to a consumer credit company.

Consumers' debt, not including mortgage debt, increased by 3.4% this year compared to the same period last year, Equifax Canada said in its report released Thursday.

New loans taken out during the quarter were up by about 1%.

"It is not surprising to see consumer credit continue to increase given the significantly improved levels of consumer delinquencies and bankruptcies witnessed in the last year, coupled with record-low consumer borrowing rates," spokesman Nadim Abdo said.

The biggest increase in outstanding balances was for auto finance loans and leases, which increased by 10% from the first quarter of 2011, Equifax said.

But Canadians are using their credit cards less: credit card debt was the only type of debt to decrease, by 2.1% over the period, continuing the trend of the previous five quarters.

The report also found that consumer bankruptcies decreased by 3.1% compared to the same period last year.


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