Caterpillar CEO: Dollar strength is a tailwind for us

A stronger dollar is a headwind for many U.S. exporters, but the CEO of Caterpillar, the world's largest construction company, told CNBC that greenback strength has given his company a boost.

The U.S. dollar hit multi-year highs against several currencies last week, including a seven-year high against the Japanese yen, feeding off signs of continued recovery in the world's largest economy.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, has rallied nearly 12 percent since early May and hit a high of 88.146 last week – a level not seen since June 2010.

Many U.S. exporters face the risk of losing out to competitors abroad now that their product is more expensive, but that hasn't been the case for Caterpillar, whose performance is seen as a barometer for global economic growth.

Read MoreUS trade deficit widens in September; exports at a five-month low

"You have to remember that we're a big producer in Japan also. In fact in the latest quarter, dollar strength was a little bit of a tailwind for us because we tend to produce and sell in those markets to offset costs and revenue," CEO Doug Oberhelman said.

"We've set that up so we don't have to worry about whether we are long or short yen. We've really offset our costs in regards to Japan it's not been a problem against our big competitor," he said, referring to Japanese construction and mining equipment manufacturer Komatsu.

Xi's "realistic" speech

Speaking to CNBC at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in Beijing, Oberhelman also gave his perspective on China's President Xi Jinping's speech to chief executives ahead of the summit on Sunday, where he dismissed concerns about China's slowing growth trajectory and said the risks to growth were "not so scary."

Slowing growth in China has been flagged as a major headwind for Caterpillar given that China is the world's largest construction and equipment market.

Read MoreChina President: Risks to economy "not that scary"

Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc.
Bloomberg | Getty Images
Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc.

"I felt the speech was realistic... at 7 percent the economy still doubles every decade or so. It's pretty enviable," said Oberhelman.

On Sunday, Xi pledged $40 billion to improve trade links with other nations in the region, a move that Oberhelman's excited about.

"We love infrastructure, so that one that should tie together some relatively poor regions that really need a lot of development and that will cause growth in those areas, so we're all for that," he said.

Read MoreCaterpillar blows doors off analyst estimates

Caterpillar reported stronger-than-expected profits for the third quarter last month and raised its 2014 outlook, attributing strong demand from the North American energy and construction industries. However, sales suffered in Latin America and Asia Pacific, while China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa remained flat.

"In China we're looking for continued softness and probably a little increase in that next year," Oberhelman said.