WASHINGTON - Americans borrowed less for a record ninth straight month in October, another sign that consumer spending will remain weak, making it harder for the economy to mount a sustained rebound.

Consumer credit fell at an annual rate of $3.51billion in October, the Federal Reserve said Monday. Economists expected a $9.3billion decline.

Demand for revolving credit, the category that includes credit cards, fell 9.3percent, while borrowing in the category that includes auto loans rose at an annual rate of 2.6percent.

Americans are borrowing less as they try to replenish depleted investments.

Many are finding it hard to get credit as banks, hit by the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, have tightened lending standards.

The 2.6percent rise in the category that includes car loans reflected a rebound in auto sales in October after a sharp September drop.

That decline followed a surge in August auto sales as consumers rushed to take advantage of the government's Cash for Clunkers incentives before they expired.