Bloomberg Businessweek

China’s Hard Choices

Targeted measures have averted a more severe slowdown, but a protracted trade war could imperil progress on reducing debt

Ten years ago, China shielded itself from the global financial crisis with a wall of stimulus. Facing President Trump’s tariff onslaught, that feat of self-preservation looks much harder to repeat.

The simple reason is that even if President Xi Jinping’s government were to conclude that the economy needed massive spending to keep growth on track, he’s hamstrung by China’s huge debt. At over 260 percent of gross domestic product, total debt is more than four times what it was in 2008—and much of that is

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