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Buffett says he can’t imagine a US debt burden


Warren Buffett said on Saturday he couldn’t imagine Washington allowing the US to default on its debts by refusing to raise the country’s debt ceiling, and risking disrupting the world’s financial system by “stirring” the world. to take”.

Speaking at Berkshire Hathaway Inc’s annual meeting in downtown Omaha, Buffett also said it would have been “catastrophic” if regulators failed to protect the depositors of the recently seized Silicon Valley Bank.

Buffett, 92, chairman and CEO of Berkshire, and Charlie Munger, 99, vice chairman, answer questions from shareholders for five hours during the meeting.

Vice Chairman Greg Abel, 60, who would become CEO if Buffett was no longer in charge, and Vice Chairman Ajit Jain, 71, also answer some questions.


The rally is the centerpiece of a weekend Buffett calls “Woodstock for Capitalists” that draws tens of thousands of people to Omaha. It also includes shopping discounts and events in the city.

Visitor numbers are up significantly from last year, with Berkshire receiving card applications from 45 countries.

Unlike in 2022, the arena in downtown Omaha where the rally took place was completely full.

Berkshire also released first-quarter results on Saturday.

Net income increased more than sixfold to $35.5 billion, largely due to gains from Berkshire’s stock holdings, including Apple Inc, as well as higher investment income and a recovery in performance at auto insurer Geico.

Berkshire also said it repurchased $4.4 billion in shares and sold $13.3 billion in shares of other companies in the quarter, signaling increased confidence in its own stock.

Buffett said Berkshire’s insurance performance is likely to improve in 2023, and that Berkshire will generate more revenue now that interest rates have risen.

He said it added $7 billion in Treasury bills in April and recently bought another $3 billion at a yield of nearly 6%.


Prior to the rally, thousands of people lined up outside the arena for the 7am CDT (1200 GMT) opening, often to get seats close to the stage.

Many realized that it could be one of their last chances to see Buffett and Munger, given their advanced age.

Vidhya Vivekananda, a Vancouver investment partner, said she and her husband showed up 30 minutes early for their first meeting.

“It’s been on our bucket list for a long time,” she says. “We don’t know how long it will take Warren and Charlie to pass it on.”

Yongsheng Zhao, who lives in Shanghai and is a researcher for an asset management company, said he showed up at midnight to attend his eighth meeting in Berkshire. He brought his own chair.

“I’m inspired by their passion and normalcy,” he said, referring to Buffett and Munger. “I hope they can continue for another five years or more.”

This story was published from an agency news agency with no edits to the text.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.