WASHINGTON (Oct. 26, 2012)—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit increased 19 percent through April, with few categories showing any improvement in the balance of trade.
The U.S. Commerce Department data show the nation's deficit for rubber goods has grown to $3.67 billion for the first four months of 2012, $586.6 million higher than a year earlier. The month-to-month comparison of the April 2011-April 2012 trade balance similarly showed a 24.3-percent increase in the deficit, to $958.9 million.
Among the individual categories, the largest segment—tires and related products—posted a 21.7-percent increase in its deficit through April, to $2.9 billion. More than half of that came from the passenger tire sector, which had a 21.4-percent higher trade imbalance, while the truck tire category showed a 4.3-percent increase in its deficit in the period.
Retreads was the only one of nine tire-related categories where the U.S. has a positive trade balance—$2.27 million, up 38.4 percent through April compared with 2011. For that matter, the hygienic or pharmaceutical goods segment is the only other category of all rubber products with a positive trade balance, at $22.5 million.
Hose, belting and miscellaneous hard rubber goods, other larger rubber product categories, also showed substantial increases in their trade deficits.