The U.S. Commerce Department figures show several rubber goods sectors did improve their balance of trade in June from May, and in a year-to-year comparison for the first half. However, a huge increase in passenger tire imports, the largest tire category, altered the overall results.
The passenger tire deficit increased 18.2 percent for the first half to $2.54 billion, the data indicate. Imports grew by $465.9 million in value, while exports advanced $75 million.
Truck and bus tires showed a 2.4-percent improvement in the sector's deficit through June to $945.3 million in favor of imports.
Overall, the tires and related products sector had an 18-percent increase in the deficit for the half, to $4.42 billion.
Imports jumped significantly for belting, hose and hygienic or pharmaceutical goods during the first half.
Exports of rubber-related materials, like synthetic rubber and carbon black, increased in the first half.
The U.S. had a $10.6 million positive trade balance on the supply side for the first six months of 2012.