HONG KONG—As the first major economy to beat back Covid-19, China is now taking the global lead in moving to unwind its pandemic-driven economic stimulus efforts.
Unlike the U.S. and Europe, which are still flooding their economies with liquidity and spending, China has started reining in credit in some corners.
The shift puts China at the vanguard in confronting a challenge other economies will face in coming years as their economies recover: how to withdraw stimulus without snuffing out growth or causing broader market instability.
China’s policy makers have expressed concern about an overheating housing market and want to prevent bigger imbalances. They are also eager to resume a multiyear campaign to curb debt that started building during the previous global recession.
If mishandled, China’s tightening could impair its recovery, which would crimp the global economy. China’s plans could also create wider problems if they trigger more debt defaults or a bigger correction in China’s stock markets, at a time when global investors are already jittery.