Daily Memo: Chinese Exports Surge, Iranian Moves Escalate Tensions

Chinese production appears to be benefiting from the surge in remote working.

Chinese trade. Chinese exports in December jumped a whopping 18.1 percent compared with the same month a year earlier – a month that, looking back, may end up representing the peak of the U.S.-China trade war. China’s trade surplus rose to a record $78.18 billion. The surge in foreign purchases of medical supplies and work-from-home gear, particularly consumer electronics and other home office supplies, during the pandemic is the primary cause. Expect the Biden administration to de-emphasize tariffs as the main U.S. tool with which to pressure China. Iranian escalation. Iran is making moves that could escalate tensions in the region. The chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Gen. Mohammad Hossein Bagheri, said the military would resume security patrols in the Red Sea to protect Iranian oil tankers. On Wednesday, it was reported that Iran deployed Shahed-136 loitering munitions, so-called suicide drones, in Yemen’s northern province of al-Jawf, an area controlled by the Iran-backed Houthi rebels. These drones have a range of 1,240-1,370 miles, putting them in striking distance of U.S., Israeli, Saudi and other Gulf targets. Tehran also announced that it was advancing research on uranium metal production at a facility in the city of Isfahan, a move […]

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