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I have recently started selling some bearings on Ebay, where the listings are incredible. There are bearings of all kinds listed on there for next to nothing. Bearings.Parts, for example, is offering a ten-pack of very high performance 6203 bearings for just $35 with free shipping.
This is because so many people are bringing in bearings from China at prices that were really undreamed of in the U.S. a couple of decades ago. I remember when Russian 6203-2RS bearings started to flood the market back in the 1990's for around 89 cents. That was below the cost of production at a wholly automated SKF plant in the U.S.
The prices have only gotten lower from there.
However, these things don't last forever. It seems there is a trade war brewing between the U.S. and China. The U.S. is trying to raise the tarrifs on Chinese steel by 400%, China retaliated by disallowing the sale of iphones in China because of copyright infringement.
It seems like, a year from now, Chinese bearings could be harder and harder to find. Which would mean that prices will rise and sellers on Ebay might be struggling for supply. Or it just might mean that bearing supply will come from Mexico or India and still be just as cheap.
One never can tell. But the U.S. has been running a trade deficit with the rest of the world for a long, long time. So long, that there are more dollars floating around outside of the U.S. than there are inside the U.S.
If those dollars ever get returned to the U.S., the era of the sub-dollar 6203's will be ended. In the meantime, it remains smooth sailing for bearing consumers.