By Gina Lee Investing.com – Oil was down in Asia Thursday morning, as investors weighed the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the impact of fuel demand against a fifth straight week of declines in the US crude supply. It was down 0.16% at $ 55.97 at 10:30 PM ET (3:30 AM GMT) and down 0.15% at $ 52.83. Brent and WTI futures held above the $ 50 mark. “The rapid rebound in the oil market was likely halted as the strength of the dollar and the ever-present glut of gasoline offset the evaporation of US crude inventories,” Axi’s chief global market strategist Stephen Innes told Reuters. . released on Wednesday showed a 3.247 million barrel draw for the week through January 8. The draw was larger than the 2.266 million barrel draw in the forecasts prepared by Investing.com, but less than the 8.010 million barrel draw the previous week. . On Tuesday it showed a draw of 5.821 million barrels. EIA data also showed an increase in gasoline and distillate inventories as refineries increased production to the highest level since August 2020. On the COVID-19 front, China reported that the number of new cases in its northeastern province of Heilongjiang nearly tripled, the biggest daily jump in more than 10 months. The outbreak in the world’s second-largest oil consumer underscores the growing threat ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays in February. In Europe, more stringent and prolonged lockdown measures were introduced in some countries to curb the B177 strain of the virus that was first seen in south-east England in September 2020, as the impact of releases of the COVID-19 vaccine is seen in two to three months. . Oil producers face an unprecedented challenge in balancing supply and demand, as factors such as the pace and response to COVID-19 vaccines cloud the outlook, an official with the International Energy Agency told Reuters. However, more stimulus measures expected to be unveiled by US President-elect Joe Biden later in the day helped limit losses. Prices were also given a boost by a move reported by Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, to cut February cargo crude supplies for some Asian buyers by as much as a quarter.