WASHINGTON (June 22, 2012)—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit pretty much started 2012 the same way last year ended—with the shortfall climbing sharply.
The sector's trade deficit for January topped the billion-dollar mark, reaching $1.01 billion, a figure up 27.1 percent from the first month of 2011, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Trade activity for the month rose considerably. Rubber product exports jumped 18.4 percent in January to $802.4 million, but imports grew even more, climbing 23.1 percent to $1.81 billion.
In tires and related products—the single biggest category—the January shortfall rose 30.5 percent to $775.4 million, the government figures showed. Exports gained 21.1 percent to $454.1 percent as imports spiked 26.8 percent to $1.23 billion.
The passenger tire trade deficit increased 32.8 percent on the month to $424.2 million. The shortfall for the truck and bus sector rose somewhat less, growing 11.5 percent to $191.5 million.
On the supply side, the rubber-related trade deficit stood at $31.6 million in January, compared with $5 million in January 2011. Exports were up 7 percent to $590.6 million and imports gained 11.7 percent to $622.3 million.