WASHINGTON—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit continued to climb in the first quarter of 2014, with imports more than doubling exports.
The total rubber product shortfall for the quarter rose 9.6 percent from 2013 to $2.83 billion, according to data compiled by the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports dipped 2.2 percent to $2.54 billion while imports increased 3.7 percent to $5.36 billion.
During March, the deficit jumped more sharply, spiking 23.1 percent to $984.9 million. Exports were steady at nearly $923 million, while imports gained 10.9 percent $1.91 billion.
Among individual product categories:
• the deficit for tires and related products rose 9.3 percent to $2.18 billion for the quarter and jumped 19.3 percent in March to $780.6 million;
• the shortfall for hose and tubing grew 34.5 percent to $75.5 million through March and 21.2 percent for the month to $29.7 million;
• belting saw its deficit rise 32.5 percent on the quarter to $43.8 million and more than double for the month to nearly $20 million; and
• the shortfall for miscellaneous hard rubber goods rose just 1.1 percent to $244.2 million through March, but gained 27.3 percent on the month to $65.8 million.
On the supply side, the trade surplus for the quarter increased 41.5 percent to $179.5 million but fell 6.7 percent in March to $54.3 million.