TOKYO – As President Xi Jinping tries to bring order to Asia’s biggest economy, he’s expanding the central bank’s mandate in ways that may prove game-changing. On Wednesday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) unveiled details of a new "stability fund" to steady wobbly financial firms.

“In the face of complex economic and financial situations at both home and abroad, it is necessary to proactively set up an authoritative and efficient system to prevent, resolve financial risks, and prepare for rainy days," the PBOC said in a statement.

It’s an initiative that has one foot in the present, and one foot in a highly uncertain future.

The pressures of today come from a slowing economy as a new wave of Covid-19 infections prompt Xi’s government to lock down giant metropolises like Shenzhen and Shanghai. That, along with the fallout from slumping property markets and the Ukraine crisis, is straining heavily indebted local governments and the financial entities that drive their economies.