The best word to describe the U.S. economy and economies around the world is "stability," Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman told CNBC on Monday, despite the company's disappointing earnings, revenue misses and scaled-backed outlook.
"It's really hard to predict a really flat-to-slow economy and what happens to us with the segments we sell to," Oberhelman said in a "Squawk Box" interview. Still, "this is the first year in three years where we've seen a relative degree of stability around the world," he said.
He said the U.S. economy appears to be growing in the 2.5 percent range, with the world economic growth from about 2.5 to 3 percent.
"I was just in Europe in the last two weeks at a huge construction show," Oberhelman reported. "[And] the news wasn't doom and gloom."
Though the latest prediction from the International Monetary Fund called for the euro zone economy to contract for a second consecutive year.
"China—even with a little bit weaker [economic] number in the first quarter—the stories there are still pretty good," he continued, saying he saw it firsthand when he visited China about a month ago.
The world's second-biggest economy grew 7.7 percent in the first quarter—slower than Q4 2012—and below the Reuters consensus forecast of an 8.0 percent number.
"Stability is the word right now," Oberhelman said. "And while nobody likes that feeling we're in, that gives me a little bit more confidence going forward than I've had really since early 2011."
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But he did argue that economies around the world are being propped up by central bank easy money policies. "What we've got is a monetary policy-infused growth rate, as anemic as it is."
"I think we're going to be in that mode for a very long time," he concluded.