Oil prices fell slightly to below $77 a barrel today as an increase in crude stockpiles showed US economic recovery had not yet translated into increased demand.

For March delivery, US crude fell by 17¢ to $76.81 a barrel at 7:36am GMT, while London ICE Brent declined by 21¢ to $75.71 a barrel, according to Reuters.

US crude inventories recorded an unforeseen increase as imports rose and refineries operated at very low rates, according to a report by the US Department of Energy.

The report also said that distillate fuel and diesel demand in the US fell by more than 9¢ in January, compared with a year ago.