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Rubber product trade deficit soars in August

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WASHINGTON—The trade landscape in the U.S. rubber product industry was at odds with that of the nation's economy as a whole in August.

The rubber industry's trade deficit grew 19.3 percent during the month to $1.05 billion, compared to the 10.4 percent drop for the shortfall for the entire country, according to U.S. Commerce Department data. Exports for the rubber industry dropped 1.5 percent during August to $947.7 million, while imports jumped 8.5 percent to just under $2 billion.

For the first eight months of 2013, the sector's trade shortfall was up just 1.4 percent at $7.7 billion because for the first half of the year the trade deficit fell nearly 3 percent before starting to climb in July.

The deficit for the tires and related products segment spiked 25.6 percent in August to $752.5 million as exports declined 5.4 percent and imports grew 10.8 percent. For the year, the tire sector's shortfall was up 1.6 percent to $5.85 billion.

For passenger tires, the deficit climbed 30.7 percent for the month and 9.7 percent for the first eight months of 2013, while the truck and bus sector saw its shortfall climb 48.6 percent in August but fall 3.2 percent for the year.

In other rubber product categories, the hose and tubing trade deficit grew 14 percent in August, but the belting shortfall dropped 10.4 percent and the deficit for miscellaneous hard rubber goods dipped 6.4 percent.