MTECHTIPS- Crude prices drifted weaker in Asia on Thursday with investors taking profits on recent gains linked to unexpected draws in U.S. inventory levels. U.S. crude futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange edged down 0.12% to $51.76 a barrel. Overnight, oil prices rallied on Wednesday, after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported an unexpectedly large U.S. oil inventory drawdown last week. Global benchmark Brent futures ended at $52.55 a barrel. Crude oil inventories fell by 5.2 million barrels last week, the EIA said. That was compared to forecasts for a stockpile build of 2.7 million barrels after a build of 4.9 million barrels in the previous week. Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 468.7 million barrels as of last week. The report also showed that gasoline inventories rose by 2.469 million barrels, compared to expectations for a decline of 1.31 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles dropped by 1.24 million barrels, compared to forecasts for a decrease of 1.55 million. The report came after industry group the American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that U.S. crude oil stocks fell by a surprise 3.8 million barrels last week. The draw defied expectations for a build of 2.7 million barrels.