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Caterpillar CEO Sees 'Soft Landing' for Economy

James Owens, chief executive of Dow component Caterpillar, told CNBC that he expects a "soft landing" for the U.S. economy.

In an interview with CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman, Owens said: "We think there's a high probability that we'll get a soft landing after a period of slower growth."

Beyond that, Owens sees "a re-acceleration of growth late next year, going into [2009]."

Owens termed the credit crunch "sector specific."

"The markets in the United States are all performing pretty well," he said. "The problem is pretty much isolated to the credit conditions in the housing-related market. There was a bubble in the housing-related market, and we knew there was going to be a correction there; it's well under way, probably will go on into 2008, we think, before it begins to recover."

Owens was one of a group of corporate executives and trade group representatives attending a White House forum on international trade and investment. In remarks to the group, President Bush urged Congress to approve trade agreements with Peru, Panama, and Colombia as soon as possible.

On Oct. 16, Owens had told Reuters that the downturn in the U.S. housing market was the worst since World War II and was likely to weaken further next year.

Three days later, Dave Burritt, chief financial officer at Caterpillar, told Reuters the company saw as much as a 50 percent chance the U.S. economy could slip into recession next year.

Reuters contributed to this article.

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