With tension in Ukraine and disappointing numbers coming out of China, some investors are starting to wonder if the reigning bullish sentiment could be set back by world events. While he doesn’t try to predict what will happen in the next year, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK.A) (NYSE:BRK.B) CEO Warren Buffett doesn’t think we have to worry about another crash at least in the next few years.
Another crisis will happen in the next fifty years, but not yet: Buffett
“It’ll happen again someday, but we’re not remotely close to it happening now. But it will happen again,” said Buffett during an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box. “Humans will behave in the crazy ways both on the upside and the downside in the next fifty years. It’s very unlikely they do it in the next few years because after something like 2008 because once they get out of the emergency room they’re a little more careful.”
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Even in the short-term, Buffett seemed to think that the economy is recovering at a reasonable pace, saying that the disappointment surrounding the recovery isn’t because of the current rate of GDP growth, which is fine, but because the country fell so far so quickly that many had hoped to see a commensurate rebound.
Buffett recommends Geithner’s account of 2008 crisis
Buffett also mentioned that he has been reading the galleys for former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s upcoming book Stress Test, and he calls it the best account of the financial crisis that he has read. After learning about some of the behind the scenes action, Buffett said that his early assessment that the financial crisis was the equivalent of a financial Pearl Harbor actually didn’t go far enough in expressing the danger that the country had faced.
“If they hadn’t guaranteed money market funds like that,” said Buffett, snapping his fingers. “It would have been all over… the economy would have stopped until the Fed and everybody woke up and started realizing there was only one party in the world that could handle the deleveraging that was going on and the flight from everything.”
Buffett has been steadfastly bullish on the US economy in the long-term, buying into the stock market in the midst of the financial crisis, and even though he is glad the Fed acted as quickly as it did, he doesn’t think a misstep in 2008 would have permanently wrecked the US economy.
He points out that even when there are financial problems, or even in the case of a major attack, US farmland, manufacturing capacity, and human capital doesn’t just go away. Even after a black swan event like 2008, he doesn’t have any doubt that the US will ultimately rebound.