Brent crude held above $51 a barrel on Wednesday at around 06:45 AM GMT after API data showed stocks of crude oil in the US declined by 4.8 million barrels in the week ended December 25th, marking the first fall in inventories since the week ended November 6th. Meantime, US gasoline and distillate inventories fell 718 thousand barrels and 1.887 million barrels, respectively. Meantime, the Trump administration will begin sending stimulus payments of up to $600 to millions of Americans as early as Tuesday evening, while Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the government would begin the process of mailing out paper checks on Wednesday for individuals without government-registered bank accounts. On the pandemic front, the US reported its first case of the mutant COVID-19 strain. This new strain has now been reported in at least 17 countries, according to media reports. Meanwhile, oversupply concerns grow as OPEC+ will gradually reduce output cuts from January.