“I don’t expect a recovery in China for us for some time, significant time probably,” Mr. Fogel said.
Those effects, however, are likely to be muted. Even if the economic picture darkens, the American and Chinese banking systems are separate enough to insulate U.S. institutions and investors, aside from the few who might have invested in property developers like Evergrande or Country Garden.
“There aren’t realistic channels for financial contagion from China to the U.S.,” Dr. Setser said. While China’s central bank may hold off on buying U.S. Treasury bonds, he noted, any impact on the overall market could be contained. “There’s no real scenario where China disrupts the bond market in a way that the Fed cannot offset.”
On the contrary, there may be some upside for American companies if Chinese investors, lacking domestic opportunities, move more of their money into the United States. China’s direct investment in U.S. assets is relatively low and could face new obstacles as states seek to erect barriers to Chinese purchases of U.S. real estate and commercial enterprises. But places that welcome it could benefit.
“Given that the U.S. seems to be doing relatively well, you could have money coming to the U.S., both in search of higher yield and in search of safety,” said Eswar Prasad, a professor of trade policy at Cornell University.