Petrochemicals giant SABIC isn’t worried about China’s growth slowdown

The Middle East’s largest public company is expanding its investments in China despite an expected slowdown in the country’s economic growth, its CEO said Monday.

Speaking to CNBC during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Yousef Al-Benyan, chief executive of Saudi Arabian petrochemicals manufacturer SABIC, dismissed growing concerns about the future of the world’s second-largest economy.

“If you are a long-term player I think this is normal in any economy, they have to go through sometimes a bumpy road. And that is, I think, what we experienced with China today,” Al-Benyan told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, referencing the ongoing trade war between China and the U.S. That, he said, “has really influenced some of the growth we expect out of China, but from a SABIC perspective we look at China as long term,” he said.

Investors and analysts have raised concern over China’s growth outlook, which has been dampened by weakened domestic demand and the trade war with Washington that’s hit exports. A recent Reuters poll found that the country’s growth is expected to slow to 6.3 percent this year from an expected 6.6 percent in 2018, which would be the lowest in 29 years. That figure was 6.9 percent in 2017.

But SABIC, which is also the fourth-largest petrochemicals producer in the world, plans to keep investing in China.

“I think Asia is growing and China is really driving this growth,” Al-Benyan said. “That is why we have improved our presence in China specifically, we are trying to put even more investment in China because we think the growth is there.”

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