A cargo ship in a port in Longbeach, California, in 2019. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP via Getty Images

The phase one U.S.-China trade deal will have little to no impact on sales this year, according to 63% of companies who participated in the latest business conditions survey released today by the National Association for Business Economics.

Why it matters: President Trump has championed the agreement as a "sea change in international trade" and the deal's signing has helped power U.S. stock indexes to fresh record highs, but business owners and economists are less enthusiastic.

  • Of those respondents who do expect an impact, views are equally split, with 15% anticipating a positive impact and 15% expecting a negative impact on their firms’ sales outlook.

Flashback: Last week, a "Reuters poll of more than 100 economists ... showed a significant pickup in the U.S. economy was not on the cards" as a result of the trade deal.

Between the lines: Just 8% of finance, insurance, and real estate businesses (FIRE) and 10% of those in transportation, utilities, information and communications (TUIC) expect a positive effect from the deal, while 30% of TUIC firms and 13% of FIRE firms see negative impacts.

  • Conversely, more than 41% of goods-producing companies and 50% of TUIC companies say tariffs and the trade war had a negative effect on sales.

The big picture: Overall, the survey found businesses were more bullish about economic growth over the coming 12 months than they were in NABE's last outlook in October.

  • Still, NABE Business Conditions Survey chair Megan Greene notes, “For the first time in a decade, there are as many respondents reporting decreases as increases in employment at their firms" over the last three months.

Of note: The Dec. 23–Jan. 8 survey includes responses of 97 NABE members.

Go deeper:

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Why it matters: The conference's about-face follows a similar move by the Big Ten last week and comes as President Trump has publicly pressured sports to resume despite the ongoing pandemic. The Pac-12 will play a seven-game conference football season, according to ESPN.

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Why it matters: Assuming one or more vaccines ultimately gain approval, there will be a period of months or even years in which supply lags far behind global demand. The COVAX initiative is an attempt to ensure doses go where they're most needed, rather than simply to countries that can produce or buy them at scale.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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