WASHINGTON—The rubber industry continued to show improvement in its trade deficit through the first half of 2013.
The trade shortfall through June of last year dipped 2.9 percent to $5.48 billion, compared with an increase of 8.8 percent for the trade deficit of the entire country, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department.
Exports for the six-month period actually declined 1.5 percent for rubber products, but imports dropped 2.2 percent. Overall, the rate of imports still doubled that of exports for the sector, $10.8 billion to $5.31 billion, respectively.
The six-month shortfall for tires and related products—the biggest category—showed a 3.4-percent decline, with exports down 2.9 percent and imports off 3.2 percent. The deficit for passenger tires actually rose 5.3 percent, but the truck and bus tire shortfall fell 12.1 percent.
In other rubber product categories, the belting deficit dropped 32.8 percent for the first half of 2013, the shortfall for hose rose 20.7 percent, and the pharmaceutical goods surplus decreased by 23.8 percent.
The supply side showed a trade surplus of $241.6 million on the six months, compared with a surplus of just $10.6 million in the first half of 2012. The main difference was that the deficit for natural rubber trade dropped twice as much as did the surplus for synthetic rubber trade.