(Bloomberg) -- Oil fell below $53 a barrel on a steadily deteriorating short-term demand outlook and a gain in the dollar that reduced the appeal of commodities priced in the currency.Futures in New York declined 1.1%. President Joe Biden warned of roughly another 100,000 American deaths over the next month, while data showed New York traffic thinned from a month earlier. Some Shanghai residents have been banned from leaving the city, while part of Hong Kong is being locked down, the latest in a series of measures to rein in a resurgence of the virus in China.There were signs, however, that the demand picture in Asia may not be as bad as previously thought. Physical prices in the spot market have firmed this week amid a flurry of buying by Chinese, Indian and Thai refiners.Crude is still trading near the highest level in almost a year as investors pile into commodities. There’s also been a boost to energy use from a frigid winter and investors are hoping for a big dose of stimulus spending from the Biden administration. Saudi Arabia’s unilateral output cuts have eased concerns the market would be over-supplied, helping to reshape the oil futures curve.“We have short-term demand concerns with enhanced lockdowns taking place globally, such as those in China and Malaysia,” said Suvro Sarkar, an energy analyst at DBS Bank Ltd. in Singapore. But that’s being balanced by hopes for U.S. stimulus, vaccines being rolled out and OPEC+’s supply discipline, meaning Brent should continue to trade near $55 a barrel in the near future, he said.The prompt timespreads for Brent and WTI are 12 cents and 7 cents a barrel, respectively, in backwardation. That’s a bullish market structure where near-dated prices are more expensive than later-dated ones.President Biden, meanwhile, is poised to suspend the sale of oil and gas leases on U.S. federal land, which accounts for about 10% of U.S. supplies, according to four people familiar with the matter. The moratorium is set to be unveiled along with a raft of other climate policies next week, according to the people, who asked for anonymity to discuss plans not yet public.The administration’s initial steps -- including the suspension of the leases, a focus on fiscal spending and a likely delay in lifting sanctions on Iran --- may help tighten the oil market this year and next, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a note. A speedier vaccine rollout could also boost jet fuel demand, it said.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.