Labourers check the quality of blades of wind turbines in a factory in Lianyungang, east China's Jiangsu province on September 7, 2015. China on September 7, lowered last year's economic growth figure to 7.3 percent after concerns over slowing expansion caused global market havoc, but said its own exchanges are stabilizing following "bubbles" and painful corrections.
Photograph by Getty Images
By Laura Lorenzetti
September 10, 2015

China’s economy has been on a rollercoaster ride for the past few months, and the latest data out of the world’s second largest nation isn’t getting much better.

Here’s a quick rundown on the situation.

The background

Since mid-June, the main stock index in Shanghai is down about 40%. Its stock-index futures market, the world’s biggest, hit record lows on Wednesday after falling 99% from June highs.

At the same time, the nation has struggled to stabilize its currency. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) devalued the yuan by about 2% in early August, an unexpected move that brought the currency’s value closer to what the market believes it ought to be. It also may help China’s export sector.

But Chinese officials have been intervening to stop the yuan from going into freefall, which led to a $94 billion decline in its foreign currency reserves last month.

Latest update

The greatest risk currently for China is deflation, which could slow economic growth considerably.

China’s Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of change in the price companies receive for their output, fell 5.9% in August, a much steeper decline than expected. The drop cut into profits at Chinese firms, which has already led to layoffs.

Still, consumer prices actually gained last month, mostly due to soaring food prices. Non-food inflation remained unchanged at 1.1%.

So, what is China doing about it?

China’s Premier Li Keqiang went on the record saying the nation won’t pursue a quantitative easing policy, but that doesn’t mean the government is standing idly by. There have been several interest rate cuts this year, and Chinese officials are organizing debt swaps with local Chinese governments to boost investments.

Meanwhile, when the market was dissolving, the PBOC also jumped in to inject funds into a state-owned entity that lends to brokerage firms as a stabilization effort.

Could this affect the U.S.?

Fortune’s Chris Matthews took a deeper look at the issue, finding that China accounted for a third of global growth this decade compared to just 17% for the U.S. China’s fate will weigh heavily on the global economy, but given America’s low reliance on exports (only about 15% of GDP), it could affect the U.S. economy less drastically than it might other nations, particularly ones that rely on the export of commodities used in manufacturing.

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