Another complication: Policy makers don’t have a lot of experience dealing with trade tensions. It’s “something that we haven’t faced before,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in July.

China Debt
The more tempered reaction is most evident in China, which is trying to rein in debt that tops 300% of gross domestic product, according to the Institute of International Finance.

Rather than launching an all-out borrowing binge as it did a decade ago, the government has responded with more targeted measures, including 2 trillion yuan ($280 billion) of tax cuts and some infrastructure spending.

It’s also held off from dramatically loosening monetary policy. “We are not in a rush to roll out massive rate cuts,” People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang said Sept. 24.

“Policy makers in China have shown restraint and are allowing growth to slow, partly due to a desire to maintain financial stability,” said Shaun Roache, S&P Global Ratings’ Asia-Pacific chief economist.

The downside is that growth next year could slip below 6%, the most tepid pace in decades.

Japan’s Economy
The Chinese slowdown has sideswiped Japan’s export-dependent economy.

But rather than responding with a looser fiscal stance, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pressed ahead with an Oct. 1 consumption tax increase that he says is needed to improve the government’s finances but which some economists fear could trigger a downturn.

The push to tighten budget policy -- even though countermeasures such as tax breaks on buying cars were also rolled out -- will pressure the BOJ to expand its already unprecedented stimulus measures.

Germany has also felt fallout from China’s downdraft and looks to be on the brink of a recession. Yet the government has so far resisted rolling out a big budget package.