CNBC’s Becky Quick interviewed Warren Buffett yesterday to get his take on the economy in the U. S. and Europe. He said the general economy for the last two months has been more or less flat. Buffett said he was seeing a pick-up in residential housing from its very low base. However, he cautioned that housing isn’t picking up that much; not enough to effect the overall economy.
Buffett sees the economy slowing down, but not heading downward. In Europe, particularly in the last month, “things are starting to slip pretty fast,” he added. By looking at all his businesses and talking to people, he has determined that spending in Europe is really slowing down.
Buffett said his freight car holdings, which he looks at frequently, have been increasing, except for the northeast, which has been effected by coal.
Quick asked Buffett what has happened in the past six weeks that has “spooked” people, and Buffett responded that he didn’t know the answer, but knows the result. He said in Europe you could see the problems coming two years ago.
Buffett also commented on unemployment, the negative rate on TIPS in real terms, and the influence of the Fed and Congress on confidence (see video below).
Back in May, Buffett said he was buying stocks and would buy more [link].