Reproduced from Panjiva; Chart: Axios Visuals

U.S. stocks fell sharply in the final hour of trading Wednesday after President Trump seemingly reignited the trade war, telling reporters the U.S. would be evaluating whether China has complied with the "phase 1" trade deal to buy an extra $200 billion a year of U.S. goods.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus pandemic continues to choke the U.S. and global economy, Trump is threatening to tighten the vice.

By the numbers: S&P Global Market Intelligence, Panjiva, finds that not only is China not making purchases on pace for a $200 billion increase, it is now $21.2 billion behind — not even halfway to its target on a monthly basis.

  • Further, data Thursday showed Chinese exports rose 3.5% year over year in April while imports fell 14.2%, bringing China’s trade surplus for the month to $45.34 billion — well above the $6.35 billion economists had predicted.

What's happening: Most had long expected that China would be unable to meet the terms of the deal as the novel coronavirus ravaged its economy, causing the worst quarterly economic contraction on record.

  • But it was expected the U.S. would look the other way, given the economic situation.

What we're hearing: "Trump is basically trying to distract the American public from focusing too much on the unemployment rate, employment figures and so on," Keith Wade, chief economist at Schroders, said during a recent webcast.

  • "If we do reignite the trade wars, and we see the ‘phase 1’ deal fail, I think it won’t just be China that loses, it will be the U.S. as well."

Between the lines: The nascent stock market rebound also could be threatened by revived tensions between the world's two largest economies.

  • “That’s probably the number one concern in the market when we talk to investors and sell-side analysts,” Zhiwei Zhang, president and chief economist of Pinpoint Asset Management, told CNBC Wednesday.

Watch this space: The general public is starting to grow more wary of the tariffs. A new survey from CivicScience finds a record high 71% of Americans are concerned, and industry lobbying groups have ramped up messaging again opposing the trade war.

  • “Adding more tariffs during a time of economic crisis will only further punish U.S. companies, manufacturers, and farmers who are already struggling to survive," Americans for Free Trade spokesperson Jonathan Gold said in a statement earlier this week.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Aug 13, 2020 - Economy & Business

S&P 500's historic rebound leaves investors divided on future

Data:; Chart: Axios Visuals

The S&P 500 nearly closed at an all-time high on Wednesday and remains poised to go from peak to trough to peak in less than half a year.

By the numbers: Since hitting its low on March 23, the S&P has risen about 50%, with more than 40 of its members doubling, according to Bloomberg. The $12 trillion dollars of share value that vanished in late March has almost completely returned.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
16 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Zooming in on China's new energy plan

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 31,647,930 — Total deaths: 971,711 Total recoveries: 21,776,599Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 6,897,661 — Total deaths: 200,818 — Total recoveries: 2,646,959 — Total tests: 96,612,436Map.
  3. Health: Hospitals want more time to repay pandemic loans — Supply shortages continue to plague testing.
  4. Business: The high-wage jobs aren't coming back
  5. Vaccines: Johnson & Johnson begins large phase 3 trial — The FDA plans to toughen standards.
  6. Sports: Less travel is causing the NBA to see better basketball.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!