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Opinion
William Pesek

Asia's Growing China Problem

China is sputtering in ways that should worry officials from Seoul to Jakarta.
Domino theory.

Domino theory.

Photographer: PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images

Asia has a China problem. Beijing has just initiated its biggest cut in bank reserve requirements since 2008, a move that underscores just how worried it is about its economy. But the cut is also a stark wake-up call for neighbors that have gotten used to riding China's boom. For years, China's steady growth served as a welcome antidote to an otherwise gloomy global scene. Now even China is sputtering in ways that should worry officials from Seoul to Jakarta. 

The People’s Bank of China betrayed a sense of heightened anxiety this week. Normally, the central bank tweaks the amount of cash lenders must set aside as reserves by 50 basis points, at most. Slashing it by 1 percentage point leaves little doubt that, amid a collapse in the price of commodities like iron ore (down 30 percent this year), China is decelerating faster than President Xi Jinping had expected.