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China’s Monetary Policy Eases Into the New Year

BEIJING—Chinese officials kicked off the new year—one that is expected to present new challenges for the world’s second-largest economy—by signaling a tilt toward easier money.

The People’s Bank of China said Wednesday it would reduce the portion of deposits that commercial banks are required to set aside as reserves by half a percentage point, a move that essentially releases 800 billion yuan ($115 billion) into the financial system.