The price of oil changed slightly after dropping in the past two days, as demand for refined products in the US remained weak during the recession, Bloomberg reported.

Crude oil for August 2009 delivery was at $69.29 a barrel, down $0.02, on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 11.17am Singapore time. Prices had increased as much as $0.43 to $69.74.

On 1 July the contract dropped $0.58, or 0.8%, to settle at $69.31. Prices are up 55% in 2009.

According to a US Department of Energy report, fuel demand in the US in the four weeks ended 26 June 2009 dropped 5.8% from a year earlier.

Demand for distillate fuel including heating oil and diesel dropped 9.4% to 3.4 million barrels a day during the period.

Stockpiles of distillate fuel in the US increased 2.9 million barrels to 155 million. Gasoline consumption averaged 9.17 million barrels a day, increasing 0.9% on better demand in the driving season.