May 30 - With China's dominance in the global economy increasing, any setback in its domestic economy could reverberate throughout the world. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services believes three sectors are vulnerable to a hard landing in China: the automotive, capital goods, and technology hardware sectors. But the automotive sector seems the least vulnerable of the three from a credit rating standpoint. According to "Implications For The Global Automotive Sector Of A Hard Landing In China," published yesterday on RatingsDirect, the automotive sector would face less credit risk than the other two sectors in a hard economic landing of one year or less, despite some companies' significant sales exposure to the world's largest auto market. Ratings on some speculative-grade auto component manufacturers in Asia may be vulnerable, however. If a hard landing lasted two years, some investment-grade and strong speculative-grade companies in the auto, capital goods, and technology hardware sectors could be at risk of a downgrade. "The increase in auto sales in China has recently slowed dramatically, and we expect this trend to continue because of slowing economic growth, high gasoline prices, and the expiration of government incentives for car buyers," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Robert Schulz. "However, if China's economic expansion were to slow significantly, we believe auto sales growth would moderate to 3% to 5%, or even stall," he continued. The article is part of a special series of articles on RatingsDirect under the heading "The Credit Overhang." Other reports discuss the capital goods and technology hardware sectors, and an overview summarizing our conclusions from our research, titled "A Hard Landing In China Could Hurt Ratings In Certain Global Manufacturing Sectors," is also on RatingsDirect. The report is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. If you are not a RatingsDirect subscriber, you may purchase a copy of the report by calling (1) 212-438-7280 or sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Ratings information can also be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site by using the Ratings search box located in the left column at www.standardandpoors.com.