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China is the first noticeable crack in the COVID-19 recovery.

The only major economy to show any growth at all last year, the country is now taking steps to ease monetary policy — just when the Federal Reserve is beginning to lay the groundwork to taper asset purchases. A significant slowing of its expansion might give other commercial powers pause about the robustness of the global upswing, and a taste of how hard it may be to meaningfully withdraw stimulus.

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