Chinese history plays out in cycles, or so goes the well-worn cliché. Whether or not that is true, it is undeniable that five years after the last major downturn, the specter of another Chinese property crash—and associated financial turbulence—is once again tormenting global markets.

Some things haven’t changed. Commodity currencies like the Australian dollar and shares of construction equipment makers like Komastu have already sold off sharply. Europe, with its big exposure to Chinese spending on luxury goods and industrial equipment, appears to be at greater risk of collateral damage than the U.S. And in a bracing bit of déjà vu, Kaisa Group Holdings —the first Chinese real-estate developer to default on offshore debt way back in 2014—looks poised to do so again.

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