US consumers borrowed at a brisk pace in February, the Federal Reserve reported. Credit outstanding, excluding mortgage debt, advanced at a 7.9 percent annual rate to a seasonally adjusted $1.32 trillion. That comes on top of a 14.1 percent rate of increase - the strongest since November 1995 - in January. The borrowing has contributed to an extremely low rate of personal savings: minus 0.2 percent of after-tax income in February and zero in January.
Major exporters of crude oil are moving quickly to implement the production cuts agreed to last month, a Reuters survey found. But the news agency reported that key OPEC (Organization of Oil Exporting Countries) members already had succeeded in reducing supplies before a secret meeting in the Netherlands set tight new limits on production. Its data show Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, Nigeria, and the United Arab Emirates all have reduced volume, although Indonesia and Qatar seem to be making little effort so far to comply. The cuts are intended to hike the price of oil, which had slumped to $9.90 a barrel.