The glut of gasoline has led to tankers being turned away at New York Harbor in recent weeks, diverted to ports in the Caribbean. However, even that did not resolve the glut on the U.S. east coast. “Record-high inventories in the region are now pushing prices low enough to turn the typical trade flow on its head,” Bloomberg reports. The east coast typically imports a lot of crude oil and refined products. But refined products are instead heading in the other direction because of the buildup in supply.
If demand does not rebound, then gasoline inventories will rise further. At that point, refiners will be forced to cut back on production, which means a reduction of their purchases of crude oil. Less oil sales means higher crude oil inventories, pushing down prices. Ultimately, that could force drillers to reduce supply. In short, if U.S. demand – and by extension, global demand – does not come through for the oil market, then oil prices could decline this year.