Surprising to the upside, seasonally adjusted consumer debt rose $15.3 billion in March, according to data released Wednesday from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which also showed that total consumer credit rose to 2.558 trillion.

The change was above the consensus for a $6.0 billion increase, after February's upwardly revised gain of $6.5 billion. Prior to revision, consumer credit rose $5.2 billion in February.



Consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 5.5% in the first quarter of 2008. In that quarter, revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 6.75%, and non-revolving credit increased at an annual rate of 4.5%.

In March, consumer credit increased at an annual rate of 7.25% percent.

By Patrick McGee and edited by Cristina Markham