Warren Buffett has declared that America will not suffer a double-dip recession, in a bullish assessment of economic prospects across the US.
The legendary investor, who celebrated his 80th birthday two weeks ago, said that he saw no sign that the economic recovery was petering out. Buffett said his own companies were hiring more people than earlier in the year.
"I am a huge bull on this country. We are not going to have a double-dip recession at all," Buffett told the Montana Economic Development Summit. "I see our businesses coming back across the board."
Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway conglomerate has interests in insurance, transport, retail, utilities and manufacturing. He acknowledged that sentiment about the US economy had turned "sour" recently, but insisted that "this country works — The best is yet to come."
Recent data has painted a mixed picture of the US economy. GDP grew by 1.6 per cent in the second quarter of this year, on an annualised basis, slower than in the first quarter of 2010. The latest trade and employment statistics have provided some optimism. However, last week the OECD revised down its forecast for economic growth among the G7.
In the UK, businesses have suffered a sharp decline in confidence in recent months which makes a double-dip recession in Britain more likely, a report released on Tuesday said.
US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner struck a cautious tone on Monday, saying that the American economy was not growing fast enough. Geithner said Congress needed quickly to approve a new lending package for small businesses, and extra funding for infrastructure across America.
"We are going to have to keep at it until we get Americans back to work, to extend economic growth and opportunity to all communities across the nation," Geithner said. Buffett is adamant that the dark days of the downturn have passed and that banks are happy to lend again.
Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer also told the summit that he was optimistic about America's economic prospects.