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CNBC专访巴菲特:美国经济跌下了悬崖 可能需5年走出衰退

  金融乱世,股神巴菲特跳出来为所有地球人指点迷津,北京时间3月9日,他透过CNBC3小时电视直播回答网友提问,劈头就谈到金融海啸。他把金融风暴比喻成像「世界大战」一样可怕,但有信心经济最晚5年后一定会好。“宛如掉落深渊(fell off a cliff)”的美国经济终究会复苏,但过程中有可能触发1970年代末以来最严重的通货膨胀。

  就像上益智节目接受拷问,股神巴菲特在CNBC电视频道的Squawk Box节目中回答观众电子邮件时事先完全不知道网友提问的内容,也让他的对答更有可看性。第一道难题就关于金融海啸,巴菲特打了个比方,直言金融危机之恐怖,就好比二次世界大战,当美国遭逢珍珠港事变时,军民都听命指挥官,现在大家也应该合政府,暗示力挺欧巴马。

  巴菲特本来就是“国师”,和欧巴马交情不错,针对政府近期不断收购银行不良资产、银行国有化动作,巴菲特就表示,别把国有妖魔化,美国早在19世纪就有国有化,而联邦存保FDIC历史上至今也介入了至少3600家银行。虽然银行该倒还是得倒,政府要银行退场也是易如反掌,不过到时候苦的就是一般储户了,得承受前所未见的金融苦果。

  股神表示,美国目前的经济状况之糟,彷佛去年雷曼兄弟破产而导致全球信用冻结之后,“才过了几个小时”,并强调目前全世界仍然几近停止运转。

  巴菲特敦促参众两院的议员们放下偏见,共同循欧巴马的领导重振金融系统信心、启动经济成长。他说:“民众既恐慌又迷乱。人们不应对银行抱持担忧之心,但现况就是如此。”

  他也说到,多数美国民众─包括他本人─都没预期到房价下跌的严重性。他的譬喻是:“这就好像有人在说‘国王新衣’的故事,话才说完,就发现国王其实连内衣裤都没穿。”

  另外,对于本身波克夏公司投资失准,特别是买了美国银行股票,巴菲特说他不后悔;至于大家最希望的经济马上好,股神仍维持他一贯的长期乐观态度,宣称美国经济不会一夕复苏,没明确点出经济复苏的时点,但要各界放心,现在再差,任何经济问题5年后也铁定烟消云散。他也示警,经济复苏并非没有代价,一旦需求回升,有可能触发更热的通货膨胀。

  针对金融产业,巴菲特呼吁各银行回归业务本质,恢复对外放款;他强调,对金融界“丧失信心”的想法并不理智, 主因储蓄保险等机制均相当健全。由于低廉的借贷成本已经使得美国银行业的业务有所改善,它们应该能够走出目前的经济危机。

  不过,眼前经济最大敌人就是信心,他说恐惧来得极快,可能只要5分,信心重建却漫长,换句话说,大家期待经济奇迹,心脏必须强一点。(钜亨网编译吴国仲 东森新闻张舜芬)

        访谈摘录:

  This is a live blog of Warren Buffett's appearances on CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday, March 9, 2009.

  8:07a: Toxic assets that banks hold probably have the best prospects for returns if the current value is based on mark-to-market.  The big problem for banks is not the toxic assets.  Banks need to pay very little in dividends and build up their capital positions.  “This is a great time to be in banking.”  Banks can make a lot of money making loans. 

  7:50a: Buffett demurs from calling blue-chip stocks the “opportunity of a lifetime” but says it you buy a cross-section of well-capitalized companies you'll make money over 10 to 20 years.  No idea whether you'll make money over 10 months.  Getting quotes every day makes it hard to focus on the underlying businesses.  “Forget the quotes.”

  7:48a: Buffett concedes the three billion dollar commitment to Dow Chemical and Rohm & Haas did not turn out to be a good deal for Berkshire, but will stand by it.  It looked smart at the time but it looks dumb now. “That's the way the world is.”

  7:41a: Free markets sometimes overshoot but they're still the best system.  When they do overshoot, government is needed to help correct things.

  7:40a: While America made too big a bet on housing over the last ten years, a lot of other things were done right, and some things will be done right over the next ten years.  Buffett: “You want to have enough rope to hang yourself, but not enough to hang the whole system.”

  7:17a: What investment of the past year would you take back?  Buffett laughs and says there are several.  He cites ConocoPhillips and the Irish banks he mentioned in his letter to shareholders.  He concedes he makes lots of mistakes, but hopes his successes make up for the errors.

  7:05a: Do you wish you hadn't written the “Buy American” New York Times piece last October?  Buffett says he wasn't trying to call the bottom then and wasn't responsible for the headline.  He stands by his arguments that you'll do better over a 10-year period with stocks than you will with Treasuries.  It's not his game to say exactly when the stock market has bottomed.  “I stand by the article, but do wish I had run it a few months later.”

  8:34a:  Are bank stocks a good buy now?  Buffett says we own some bank stocks and likes them, but does worry that at some point they may be forced to issue more stock.  The banking system will cure itself, although Citibank may be a “special case.”  Investors are lumping all banks together. By and large, banks are in good shape although some will continue to go broke.

  8:54a: What is the biggest lesson you learned in 2008?  Buffett answers it is the dangers of extreme leveraging.  Leveraging up is a “lot of fun on the way up” but can be a “tragedy” on the way down.  The lesson that needs to be learned is we shouldn't let big institutions be “unchecked” in their use of leverage.

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