Warren Buffett doesn't appear to be concerned that slowing U.S. economic growth will worsen to become a "double-dip" recession, saying there's no evidence of "sour" sentiment in the latest results from Berkshire Hathaway's numerous operating businesses.
Speaking today by video to the Montana Economic Development Summit, AP quotes himas telling those attending: "I am a huge bull on this country. We are not going to have a double-dip recession at all. I see our businesses coming back across the board."
Bloomberghas almost the same quote, adding the word 'almost' to make it read, "I see our businesses coming back almost across the board."
It also adds this quote from Buffett:
"I’ve seen sentiment turn sour in the last three months or so, generally in the media. I don’t see that in our businesses. I see we’re employing more people than a month ago, two months ago."
Buffett said U.S. banks are now prepared to increase their lending: "It’s night and day from a year, year and a half ago. I know Wells Fargo, they would love to have $50 billion more of loans now. Go in and talk to the banker."
Buffett's Berkshire is Well Fargo's biggest shareholder, with over 320 million shares as of June 30. Today's market value: $8.5 billion.
It's not the first time Buffett has rejected suggestions the U.S. economy could again fall into recession in the near future, but today's comments do appear to reflect a more optimistic outlook with no reported mentions of an anemic recovery.
In March of this year, CNBC's Becky Quick asked himif he was worried about a "double-dip." At that time, he said:
"It's a slow recovery. The only thing--I mean, if you had some big exogenous event, I mean if you had something go wrong in the European Union or--I mean, there--if something--a huge terrorist attack, I mean, you can--you can think of things that would cause another jolt to the economy like that jolt we had in September of 2008. But absent something really big from an exogenous nature to the United States, no, I think we will continue moving upward but not at a very fast rate."
As early as September of 2009, Buffett was sayingthe worst was over for the economy:
BECKY: But is there a risk of a second downturn? Will unemployment levels climb to a point where it becomes a leading indicator rather than a lagging indicator?
BUFFETT: I-- I think the odds are very much against getting significantly worse. It's sort of plateaued at the-- at the bottom right now, but if you got some horrible exogenous event, some-- some, you know, 9/11-- type event or worse-- you know, you could have something that would be dis-- really disruptive and start things all over again. But in terms of problems that we've identified and are working with, we've got more to come. But we're-- we're-- we're past the-- we're past the critical point.
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