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Expand chart
Data: Institute of International Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

The Chinese government had put plans in place to reduce the high levels of debt in the country's economy this year, but the negative economic effects of the trade war have put those plans on the back burner and companies are again levering up, in large part with dollar-denominated debt.

Why it matters: As the yuan weakens, debts held in dollars get more expensive. That could pose a major problem for China should the economy continue to slow. It would also mean problems for the rest of the world, as China is the planet's No. 1 trading nation.

  • The big picture: Having shown that they are unafraid to let the yuan weaken past 7 to 1 with the dollar, Chinese authorities are raising concerns about many companies' indebtedness.

Watch this space: Dollar-denominated debt held by Chinese firms is now more than $1.5 trillion, 20% higher than it was in 2015, data from the Institute of International Finance shows.

  • The distribution of dollar debt has fallen to around 50% of total corporate debt from 70% in 2015, but banks and other financial institutions are now more exposed to currency risk because of their increased borrowing in dollars.

Go deeper: Chinese yuan weakens past key milestone as trade war heats back up

Go deeper

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As America emerges from the pandemic, here's a special Axios AM Deep Dive on the Biden administration's health care agenda.

42 mins ago - World

Palestinian Authority announces new COVID restrictions as cases surge

A nurse administers the COVID-19 vaccine to a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron. Photo: Hazem Bader/AFP via Getty Images

The Palestinian Authority on Saturday announced fresh coronavirus restrictions, including a partial lockdown, for the occupied West Bank as COVID-19 cases surge.

The big picture: The new measures come as Israel, which leads the world in vaccinations, faces increased pressure to ensure Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip have equal access to vaccines.

Myanmar military fires UN ambassador after anti-coup speech

Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Myanmar's military regime on Saturday fired the country's Ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, a day after he gave a pro-democracy speech asking UN member nations to publicly condemn the Feb. 1 coup, The New York Times reports.

Details: State television said the ambassador had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn’t represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador."

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