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US economy still inching ahead: Warren Buffett

PTI Omaha | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on October 25, 2012

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said yesterday that the global economy is definitely slowing because of continued problems in Europe and the decline in Asia.

But he said that the US economy is still improving modestly and business will improve regardless of who wins the presidential election.

Warren Buffett said that while the US economy is outperforming those in Europe and Asia, American businesses would be performing better if leaders would address the nation’s fiscal problems.

“We’re still inching ahead, but we’re inching,” said Warren Buffett, who addressed a variety of topics during a two-hour appearance on CNBC yesterday.

The head of Berkshire Hathaway Inc said he gets a sense of the economy’s direction from reports he gets from subsidiaries of the Omaha-based conglomerate. Its holdings include the BNSF railroad, Clayton Homes and a large real estate brokerage.

Warren Buffett said he thinks the economy will improve no matter whether President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney wins although he supports Obama. Waren Buffett said he thinks the biggest differences between the two men are on social issues and who they would appoint as judges.

“I think the economy will get better under either one of them,” Warren Buffett said.

He said the US housing industry is starting to rebound, but it is still well off its peak. Buffett says Clayton is selling 10 per cent to 15 per cent more manufactured homes and Berkshire’s real estate brokers are handling 15 per cent more transactions.

He added the housing recovery will help hiring eventually.

General Electric Co. CEO Jeff Immelt joined Buffett for part of the interview.

Both men were in Columbus, Ohio, for an Ohio State University event focused on mid-sized businesses. Jeff Immelt said the overall economic trends continue to be positive, but business is volatile in the aftermath of the recession.

“I think if you’re out there hustling you can find business,” Immelt said.

The GE boss encouraged investors to consider the long-term positive trends. Immelt said his company has a USD 200 billion backlog of business currently.

But Immelt said he thinks there would be more investment in the United States if the nation’s leaders would address the so-called fiscal cliff of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that could be triggered at the start of the new year.

Warren Buffett mentioned he thinks the solution is obvious to all the nation’s leaders, but action in Washington, DC, is on hold because of the election. He says it’s clear the solution will involve a mix of tax increases and spending cuts.

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Published on October 25, 2012
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