A big week for the Chinese economy began on a disappointing note, with monthly exports falling to their lowest level for two years in December. This raises two important questions. How much can falling exports be blamed on the trade war with the US? And how much are they down to a broader slowdown in China?
As always, the picture is a bit messy. In an unintended consequence of the trade war, the January 1 deadline from Washington to increase tariffs encouraged American importers to front load purchases of Chinese goods. But in early December, China and the US agreed to a three-month truce. That led to a contraction in buying as US importers breathed a sigh of relief. But it is that slowdown in demand that appears to be behind December's sharp drop in exports.
Overall, though, the total China-US trade surplus - Donald Trump's favourite measurement of the trade relationship between the two countries - is now at its highest since 2006. This is, in part, down to a fall in imports from the US to China, including the much discussed fall in Chinese sales of Apple's iPhone.
But also included in the detail is a decline in iron ore imports, the first since 2010. And a signal that the real estate industry is starting to wobble. A big slowdown in construction could have even greater significance in the wider Chinese economy, as well as hurting Australia and the big miners for whom China is, by far, their biggest customer.
If the slowdown in real estate starts to affect house prices, then China's economy might really be in trouble. That hasn't happened yet, but there are signs that consumers are starting to tighten their belts with sales of big ticket items, like cars, expected to slow in 2019.
Global industries from automakers and mobile phones to luxury goods have relied on Chinese consumers for growth since the financial crisis. It now looks as if Chinese consumers won't be the big spenders they have been up to now.