WASHINGTON—After seeing the U.S. rubber product trade deficit drop nearly 3 percent during the first half of 2013, the second half of the year started back in the other direction.
The rubber goods trade shortfall for July was $1.17 billion, 9.5 percent higher than the total for July 2012, according to data from the U.S. Commerce Department. Exports for the month fell 2.3 percent to $842.7 million, while imports grew 4.2 percent to $2.01 billion. That contrasted with the trade picture for the entire nation, where the deficit fell about 1 percent for the month.
So for the first seven months of 2013, the rubber product trade shortfall decreased 0.9 percent to $6.65 billion. Exports for the period were off 1.6 percent to $6.15 billion while imports dipped 1.2 percent to $12.8 billion.
The deficit for the tires and related products category grew 12.2 percent to $835.1 million, as exports fell 6.2 percent on the month while imports climbed 4.8 percent. The trade shortfall for passenger tires grew 17.8 percent in July with the truck and bus tire deficit up 17.3 percent.
In other categories, the deficit widened for belting and miscellaneous hard goods but dropped for hose and tubing.
On the supply side, the surplus rose 31.5 percent to $38.8 million in July and jumped nearly seven-fold for the first seven months of 2013 to $280.4 million.