It is possible, senior administration officials said last Friday, that President Obama will sanction China for cyber theft as soon as this week—that is, just before its President Xi Jinping comes to Washington later this month. Most likely not; Chinese hacking wouldn’t be seriously affected by sanctioning a half dozen officials, and so most likely Obama will wait until after the visit, and use the dangling sanctions as bargaining power to try to get Xi to rein in his thieves.

This cyber fight is coming at a dangerous time, however. China’s economy has looked increasingly sluggish over the past two months and been battered by major stock markets crashes in Shanghai and Shenzen. Its gangbusters annual growth is also slowing. In August, China devalued its currency, presumably in an effort to boost its lagging export sector and kickstart growth. “There’s little correlation between the trade balance and the value of the renminbi,” the Chinese Embassy’s website protested, but of course there is. These things don’t happen by magic. They happen because Xi and the party are scared. FULL REPORT