Fresh data last week, however, showed that American factories are operating at their lowest rate in 10 years, matching Chinese plants, which posted their own worst-in-a-decade results in July.
While the president’s rhetoric remains cheery — he said last week “we have the hottest economy in the world” — the reality of the manufacturing recession and anemic growth he will probably carry into the 2020 campaign shows the trade war has pinched on both sides of the Pacific. That shifting economic landscape is making a settlement more urgent, according to groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ve reached the point where both countries are in the same boat,” said Ethan Harris, head of global economics for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “In the absence of the trade war, both the U.S. and China would be doing quite well. There would be no slowdown.”…
China continues to struggle with its debt-reduction efforts but has dulled the trade war pain by loosening borrowing limits for local governments and pressing bankers to lend more freely.
“It’s an exaggeration to say they’re in terrible shape,” said David Dollar of the Brookings Institution, who was a Treasury Department official in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing from 2009 to 2013.