WASHINGTON—The U.S. rubber product trade deficit topped the $1 billion mark in July as both imports and exports rose on the month.
The U.S. Commerce Department figures showed the deficit jumped 18 percent for the month to $1.07 billion. Exports advanced 5.1 percent for July to $862.9 million, but imports grew at more than twice that rate, gaining 11.9 percent to $1.93 billion.
Through the first seven months of 2012, the shortfall rose 15.7 percent to $6.71 billion on much higher trade activity. Exports were up 13.6 percent on the year to $6.25 billion and imports increased 14.7 percent to just under $13 billion.
As usual, the tires and related products segment made up the bulk of the deficit, which climbed 16.6 percent in July to $744.5 million. Exports inched forward 1.3 percent for the month while imports grew 9.9 percent. For the year to date, the tire category's shortfall leaped 17.8 percent to $5.16 billion.
The passenger tire deficit increased 16.8 percent in July and 18 percent for the year, while the truck and bus tire trade shortfall climbed 9.1 percent for the month but dropped 1 percent through the first seven months of the year.
The supply side showed a trade surplus of $29.5 million for the month and $40.1 million through July 2012, after posting deficits of $141.5 million and $575.2 million for the corresponding periods in 2011.