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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.

SoCalGas agrees to $1.8 billion settlement for 2015 gas blowout

An evacuee with a Save Porter Ranch sign outside Southern California Gas Company's Aliso Canyon gate in Porter Ranch in January 2016 as the gas leak continued. Photos: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Southern California Gas Company and its parent company announced Monday they've agreed to pay up to $1.8 billion in settlement claims over the 2015 Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility blowout.

Why it matters: Some 100,000 tons of methane, ethane and toxic chemicals poured into the air for 112 days, forcing over 8,000 families to evacuate from their Los Angeles-area homes and sickening thousands of others with headaches, nausea and nosebleeds, per the L.A. Times.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea fires short-range missile to sea, slams "hostile" U.S. policy

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Photo: API/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Tuesday that North Korea's military had fired a short-range missile toward its eastern sea, per AP.

Why it matters: North Korea's ambassador to the United Nations defended the latest launch in remarks to the UN General Assembly, demanding the U.S. and South Korea end their "hostile policy" against the country.