US in Recession, Set to Worsen, Says Investor Rogers

The United States economy is already in recession and is set for a further slowdown with the dollar expected to remain under pressure, investment guru Jim Rogers said on Monday.

Last week the U.S. central bank sharply lowered its forecast for U.S. economic growth in 2008 and said it was worried the economy could face further setbacks even after a series of aggressive interest rate cuts.

"The U.S. is in recession," Rogers told reporters on a visit to Dublin. "It is going to get worse."

Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with billionaire George Soros in the 1970s, said the housing and automobile sectors were in a situation "worse than recession" with soaring energy and food prices hitting consumer spending.

"They (the U.S. central bank) are printing money and are trying to prevent the recession -- they are putting on Band-Aids," he said ahead of an investor conference in Dublin.

Rogers said the central bank was making the "same mistakes" Japan did in the early 1990s before its credit-inflated bubble economy burst.

"The Japanese did it and the Japanese still have not recovered 18 years later," he said.

"As long as the (U.S.) central bank and the federal government keep making the mistakes, you will have a longer period of slowdown and it will be perhaps one of the worst recessions we have had in a long time in America," he said.

Rogers said the dollar was set to "go down a great deal" adding he hoped to get out of all his dollar holdings at some stage this year.

"There are so many people bearish on the dollar right now including me and normally when that happens something comes along to cause a rally even if it is a bear market," he said.

Rogers said countries such as Iran and Venezuela were already using alternative currencies to the dollar.

"The dollar is going to lose its status as the world's reserve currency -- that is in the process of happening," he said.

Rogers reiterated he preferred investments in the agriculture sector in the light of tightening supplies worldwide.

"Inventories for food are the lowest in 40 or 50 years. I don't see where the supplies are coming from," he said. "Agriculture is still the best place to be, maybe (also) silver, maybe palladium," he said.