WASHINGTON (March 29, 2012)—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit grew again in October as trade activity for 2011 continued to run much higher than in 2010.
The monthly shortfall grew 13.7 percent to $835.7 million, according to data collected by the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports increased 12 percent to $878.4 million but imports climbed even more, rising 12.9 percent to $1.71 billion. For the first 10 months of 2011, the deficit jumped 26.4 percent to $8.44 billion.
There has been a shift in the trade balance on the rubber supply side of the business. The sector traditionally ran a trade surplus but that changed as the value of natural rubber imports skyrocketed through the first 10 months of 2011.
During October 2011, the supply sector posted a shortfall of $60.9 million, compared with a surplus of $90.4 million a year earlier, the Commerce Department data showed.
The deficit came because of 67-percent growth in NR imports to $386.8 million, bolstered by record-setting NR prices. For the year, the supply side had a deficit of $755.3 million, after recording a $512.1 million surplus for the first 10 months of 2010. NR imports for the period jumped 76.9 percent to $4.04 billion.
The NR imports were partially countered with a 23-percent rise in SR exports in October, leaving SR with a trade surplus of nearly $200 million. The SR surplus year-to-date rose 37 percent to $1.92 billion.