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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

U.S. manufacturers and small businesses have been hit hard by the trade war, but recent data shows that China is really suffering.

Driving the news: China's total exports fell for the 12th straight month in November, dropping 1.1% from a year ago, and exports to the U.S. have fallen more than 20%, according to China’s customs administration.

  • Economists had expected shipments to rise 1%, as retailers and companies stock up for Christmas, per Reuters.

What's happening: The U.S. trade deficit declined 7.6% in October to $47.2 billion, the smallest since May 2018, as both imports and exports of goods fell. It was the second straight month the trade deficit has fallen and the largest drop since January.

  • The goods trade deficit — a key benchmark of the Trump administration — is at its lowest since September 2017.
  • China’s trade surplus fell to $38.73 billion in November, about $8 billion below what it was expected to be.

By the numbers:

  • 27.4% drop in the goods trade deficit in October.
  • 23.1% year-over-year decline of U.S. imports from China.
  • 2.8% year-over-year decline in U.S. exports to China.

What they're saying: "There’s little reason for the Trump administration to back away from tariffs as the pressure on China is working," analysts from S&P Global Market Intelligence note.

But, but, but: The goods trade deficit with the EU increased 20% during the month, with U.S. imports from the EU surging to a record high, so American business owners aren't necessarily reaping the benefits.

  • The Commerce Department also reported that factory orders increased 0.3% in October, but shipments were unchanged and unfilled orders were flat, indicating the recession in the U.S. manufacturing sector could continue for some time, Reuters notes.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 12, 2020 - Economy & Business

Markets ride the blue wave

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Markets got a shot in the arm from fiscal stimulus expectations last week, but it's not negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration that's got investors' attention — it's the largesse of spending expected from Pelosi, President Joe Biden and a Democratic Senate in 2021.

What's happening: Trump's polling numbers have fallen through the floor since the first presidential debate on Sept. 29.

24 mins ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.