U.S. exports of vehicles and parts dropped in February to the lowest level in eight months, underscoring the negative impact the global semiconductor shortage is having on auto production.
That’s according to Commerce Department data released Wednesday, which also showed the U.S. trade deficit widened to a record high as a 2.6% decline in exports outweighed a slight drop in imports.
Automakers shut down plants and slashed production early in the pandemic while demand plummeted, but imports and exports of autos started to pick up again in July as factories reopened and buyer interest accelerated.
But car companies, like their counterparts in other industries, were unprepared for that sudden jump in demand, leading to a chip shortage as they competed with technology companies for supply.
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