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S.C. shouldn’t feel impact of China’s slowdown, economist says

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By Chris Cox
Published Aug. 28, 2015

The U.S. stock market’s volatile week resulting from China’s recent economic turmoil should not affect South Carolina despite its significant Chinese investment, Wells Fargo senior economist Mark Vitner said Thursday.

“At the end of the day, I think very shortly, folks are going to realize China is slowing, but it’s still growing,” Vitner said. “The worst case isn’t what we thought it was going to be. It’s not like it’s all that meaningful to the U.S. economy.”

Some 20 Chinese companies invest in South Carolina, including a few that recently announced expansions or are soon to call the state home. Appliance manufacturer Haier America announced plans last week to invest $72 million and add 400 jobs at its Camden plant, and Chinese-owned Volvo Cars will soon bring its first American factory to Berkeley County.

Other companies include textile company Keer America Corp. in Indian Land, the American Yuncheng Gravure Cylinder plant in Spartanburg, and Giti Tire in Chester County.

China’s recent slowdown should only affect South Carolina should that foreign investment slow as a result, Vitner said. China was also the state’s top destination for exports in 2014 at nearly $4.3 billion, according to the S.C. Commerce Department.

“Foreign investment is important here,” Vitner said. “On a per capita basis, we have the second-largest share of our workforce employed at foreign-owned companies than any state in the country. If we saw slowing in foreign investment that would hurt us.”

Reach Chris Cox at 803-726-7545 or on Twitter @chrisbcox.

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