Business Monday

CEOs don’t see Chinese stock crisis affecting local economy

Ramon ‘Ray’ Abadin, president of the Florida Bar and a civil trial attorney and shareholder at Sedgwick LLP.
Ramon ‘Ray’ Abadin, president of the Florida Bar and a civil trial attorney and shareholder at Sedgwick LLP.

This week’s question: China’s stock market crisis has sent a wave of fear into U.S. markets, too. Do you expect the Chinese crisis to slow down the local economy at all? Is it something that could hurt your business?

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Miami’s greatest economic strength lies in its diversity, and we are now home to legal matters from as far away as Europe, Latin America and Asia. As a lawyer who has practiced in Miami my entire professional life, I’ve seen our city grow from a regional legal market into an international powerhouse which is largely shielded from the ups and downs of any one economy.

Ramon Abadin, president, The Florida Bar, and partner, Sedgewick Law Firm

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My hope is that investors return their investments to the safer markets here in the USA. Also, a strengthening dollar can provide refuge to investors.

Brian Brackeen, CEO, Kairos

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Miami's position in the global economy is unique. When times are good, affluent Latin Americans, Europeans and Asians invest in well-priced commercial and residential real estate. When there is political or economic volatility overseas, they invest here to protect their capital. While instability in China has affected the U.S. financial markets, South Florida should continue to see inbound investment.

Carol Brooks, president and co-founder, CREC (Continental Real Estate Companies)

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Fortunately, there is still a lot of interest in China for an American higher education, and it is an area where the Chinese continue to invest. We have a large number of Chinese students on campus and continue aggressively to recruit. However, we have had to adjust our recruitment approach.

Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, president, St. Thomas University

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Many economists have suggested that the U.S. economy has the strength to withstand the turbulence due to China’s stock market crisis. With GDP growing at a steady pace, personal income on the rise and the official unemployment rate at a multi-year low, our economy should remain solid despite up-and-down markets.

Nabil El Sanadi, CEO/president, Broward Health

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China is still very much an emerging market for South Florida, so we are somewhat insulated from the collapse of the Chinese stock market. The InterContinental Miami’s chief feeder markets are Latin America, Europe, and the U.S., which is consistent with Miami’s broader hospitality sector.

Robert Hill, general manager, InterContinental Miami

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China’s recent stock market crisis created issues in my opinion for the world economy as a whole, but I am confident that President Xi Jinping has the ability and the foresight to create stability in China’s market. Just like any economy, there will always be ebbs and flows. I don’t foresee a significant impact on South Florida’s economy, but I do feel in terms of the U.S. as a whole, the key to stability and a sustainable world economy is to move toward a shared vision. This vision would need to take advantage of globalization by building international partnerships that are fair and equitable in scope. I think what President Obama is offering in the Trans-Pacific Partnership is essential in reaching that shared global economic partnership, because it seeks to grow trade, share American values, commits to improving labor practices and elevates environmental standards around the world. In my business of professional sports management, the impact by China’s current stock market downturn could possibly reduce opportunities for endorsement deals, investments in teams and hosting NBA sanctioned games. In the world of American professional sports, China has become a significant player and has created competition within the industry.

Kevin Johnson, president/CEO, Johnson Management Group

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We have seen huge fluctuations in the U.S. markets since the Chinese crisis. Individuals that are now fearful of the market are re-investing in core real estate properties. This is a benefit to the local economy. Miami was starting to see a decline in value due to devaluation of foreign currencies as well as economy downturns in Brazil, Canada, Argentina and others.

Miriam Lopez, president/chief lending officer, Marquis Bank

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Today’s world is flat, so of course, we are affected by the Chinese economy, as well as every other economy in the world. Given that our local market is heavily involved in the import/export business and financial services, should China indeed face a financial crisis, we may be more exposed in South Florida than perhaps other parts of the country and world.

Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade

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We don’t foresee a marked impact to our business and expect demand to rebound. Certainly anything can happen, but the consumer economy in China is still robust and that’s a good sign. DHL serves over 220 countries and territories, so as a global company we’re in a good position to weather the economic storms since we don’t depend exclusively on the state of the U.S. economy or any specific region.

Mike Parra, CEO, DHL Express U.S.

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The Arsht Center maintains a close watch on the stock market on a national and international level. Like all nonprofits, we rely on donations from people whose own giving is impacted by the status of the economy and the stock market - private and public donors, endowments dividends and sponsorships of all levels. The success of our supporters’ stocks, investments, etc. are important to us. If they’re not successful, that can certainly affect the Center’s success.

M. John Richard, president, CEO, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

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Our international Fortune 500 clients are still focused on understanding the needs and wants, given that the population is more than four times the U.S. [population]. For many, it's part of their growth strategy and we have not seen a slow down, given the recent stock market crisis from a consumer research perspective.

Ania Rodriguez, CEO of Key Lime Interactive

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We live in a global economy, one in which we have interdependent economies. An impact to any one major economy will most certainly impact all. Cities like New York, where there is substantial Chinese investment, particularly in real estate, will be more affected than our local economy. However, it is still too early to tell what the broader impact of the financial crisis will have. Historically, China has subsidized exports, devalued its currency and restricted imports. So, there may actually be some positive consequences that can come from the crisis as well. It could open up conversations regarding free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, drive additional investment to the United States and help Chinese citizens embrace a more capitalistic approach.

Rachel Sapoznik, founder, president, CEO, Sapoznik Insurance & Associates, Inc.

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My team and I are always paying attention to the overall economic landscape. We do our best to stay educated and take all factors into consideration when we make decisions. In the case of China’s stock market scenario, I think any impact on local business is more likely to affect multinational companies — not organizations that cater to a U.S. market. Many pundits and financial experts have different opinions, but the truth is that there’s no way to know for sure. The world is an unpredictable place, but I don’t believe in doing anything from a place of fear, much less operating a business. There’s always volatility in economics, but paying too much attention to the ups and downs of overseas market conditions can easily lead a business owner to panic and make bad decisions. For me, my product is all about passion. My team and I are making something we love, and I think that love is palpable in our products. No matter how the market may fluctuate, I think there will always be room for quality products, so that’s what I stay focused on.

Ginny Simon, founder, CEO, ginnybakes

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