WASHINGTON—The rubber product trade situation has started 2016 the same way as it ended 2015—with a rising shortfall.
And through the first two months, the deficit is growing at an even faster pace, with imports up and exports down, according to data compiled by the U.S. Commerce Department.
In February the rubber product trade deficit jumped 34.6 percent, at $895.3 million. Exports dropped 3.5 percent to $759.4 million, while imports climbed 14 percent to $1.65 billion. For the year, the shortfall rose 16.6 percent to $1.87 billion. Exports fell 6.8 percent to $1.48 billion, with imports up 5.6 percent to $3.35 billion.
The deficit for tires and related products increased 32.7 percent in February to $643.2 million, with exports down 3 percent and imports up 14.2 percent. Thus far in 2016, the shortfall grew 14.3 percent to $1.35 billion.
Among other rubber product categories in February, the hose and tubing deficit jumped 50.5 percent to $25.2 million; the belting shortfall dropped 16.7 percent to $10.9 million; and the deficit for miscellaneous hard rubber goods rose 83.2 percent to $97.2 million.
On the supply side, the surplus for the month fell 13.9 percent to $141.6 million. The surplus, however, inched up 2.6 percent to $247.6 million for the first two months of 2016.