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Caterpillar CEO Sees Global Economy Improving

Caterpillarchief executive officer Doug Oberhelman told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday he’s optimistic the global economy is improving long term despite mixed signals currently.

**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)
Seth Perlman
**FILE** Rows of heavy Caterpillar equipment sits ready for shipment at the Caterpillar plant in Decatur, Ill.,in this April 20, 2007 file photo. For American companies with operations that stretch overseas, the slumping dollar has become a fiscal life preserver amid slower domestic economic growth and waning sales. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, file)

“We’re in a rough spot today because of what happened a year ago with a lot of governments and central banks holding policies a little too tight for too long, he said. “They’re all loose today.”

With the U.S. monetary policy easy and China working to stimulate their economy, Oberhelman said “those are the things we’re looking for later this year and into next year that give me some optimism.” He added, “Again, focusing on the long term, we’ve got it pretty well set up here.”

Earlier Wednesday, Caterpillar raised its 2012 earnings forecastto $9.60 per share from a previous forecast of $9.50. That would be a record year for the industrial giant. Analysts were expecting a profit of $9.54 per share for 2012.

Oberhelman also expects that the political “cloud” in the U.S. and Europe to dissipate. “(Politics) is the cloud that’s got all of us very, very concerned and worried,” he said, “but having said that, we think we’re going to get through all that and in the end we see pretty good things coming through the rest of this year and on into 2013 and beyond.”

In particular, with 7 billion people in the world, the Caterpillar CEO continues to see strong demand for infrastructure globally. The U.S. housing market is also starting to turn around, Oberhelman said.

While some miners have been delaying projects, Caterpillar’s mining business still has a nice backlog, Oberhelman noted. “The world still needs just about everything that comes out of the earth that the miners do,” he said.

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