The biggest surprise to investors of late may not be the success of Brexit or the Trump campaign, but the Chinese government's saving of an economy that looked headed towards a hard landing just one year ago.

Since that time, markets have set aside worries over the China's stability, as we watched the economy find its feet by doubling down on a strategy of higher debt, mostly in the corporate, state-owned sector.

Source: Bank of International Settlements

The Wall Street Journal checks in on the health of these SOEs, pointing out that over the past year, they have binged on debt, with borrowing growth hitting 25% in 2016, compared with private debt growth of just 3%.

Why it matters: The amount of debt the Chinese economy needs to add to create to hit its growth targets rate has risen steadily in recent years, suggesting the strategy of funneling loans for state-owned enterprises to invest is unsustainable. Furthermore, the practice is likely crowding out more efficient investments by China's increasingly innovative private sector.

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56 mins ago - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread

A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.