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Rubber product trade deficit dips 2.4% in October

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WASHINGTON—The rubber product trade deficit dropped 2.4 percent in October as trade volumes slipped from the prior year.

The shortfall for the month was $909.5 million, compared with $931.7 million in October 2012, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports fell 1.6 percent to $971.6 million for the month and exports dropped 2 percent to $1.88 billion.

Through the first 10 months of 2013, the trade deficit rose 1.7 percent to $9.59 billion, with exports down 1.6 percent and imports up just a fraction of a percent.

Among the individual categories in October, the tires and related products trade shortfall rose slightly, the deficit for miscellaneous hard rubber goods dropped 27 percent, the belting deficit rose 25.3 percent, the hose shortfall grew 14.1 percent, and the deficit for rubber- and plastic-coated garments declined 6.9 percent.

In the tire category, the deficit for passenger tires in October fell 6.4 percent to $430.5 million, but the truck and bus tire trade shortfall jumped 28.9 percent to $146.4 million.

On the supply side, the surplus grew nearly seven-fold to $86 million. With the price of natural rubber dropping, imports of NR for the month dropped 20.7 percent to $187.3 million. Through October, the rubber-related surplus was at $504.8 million, compared to just $59.8 million in 2012.