WASHINGTON—Despite a slight drop in the rubber product trade deficit in December, the industry's trade shortfall for 2014 rose 5.7 percent on the year to $12.2 billion.
During the month, the deficit actually dropped 3.6 percent to just under $982 million, according to Department of Commerce data.
Trade activity in the rubber product market was a bit more brisk in 2014, as exports climbed 2.4 percent to $10.8 billion and imports increased 4.1 percent to $22.1 billion.
Among rubber product categories, the 2014 deficit for tires and related products gained 3.9 percent to $8.95 billion. Exports dipped 1 percent to $5.82 billion while imports climbed 1.9 percent to $14.8 billion.
In other sectors, the belting trade shortfall rose 12.9 percent to $212.3 billion; the miscellaneous hard rubber goods deficit inched up 1 percent to $961.7 million; the rubber hose and tubing deficit jumped 29.5 percent to $368.7 million; and the shortfall for rubber- and plastics-coated garments grew 12.9 percent to $1.73 billion.
On the supply side, the trade surplus jumped 44.4 percent to $907 million for 2014. The deficit of $1.82 billion in natural rubber trade—down 25 percent from 2012—was more than offset by surpluses of $1.36 billion for synthetic rubber, $182.6 million for rubber compounds, $464.7 million for polyurethanes and $730.6 million for silicone.