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Demand for credit up in Western Canada; national debt load still high

Credit cards are pictured in a wallet.

STELIOS VARIAS/REUTERS

Credit monitoring agency Equifax says demand for credit has increased for four consecutive quarters in Western Canada, while demand in the Eastern provinces continues to slow down.

Equifax says its first-quarter statistics show that consumers' overall debt, including mortgages, remains high around $1.4-trillion, up slightly from$1.42-trillion in the same period last year.

But Equifax says while consumer demand for credit is still heading up – it was 2.7 per cent in the quarter – debt levels still remain manageable.

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The report says consumer bankruptcies are down and the overall delinquency rate – bills due past 90 days – is down by 3.9 per cent.

It also says the instalment loan and credit card sectors showed significant increases of 11.8 per cent and 4.8 per cent year-over-year, respectively.

Equifax says while more new credit cards were issued, on average consumers are carrying smaller balances.

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