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Watsa comments @ International Insurance Society conference


omagh
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08 June 2009

This year's International Insurance Society conference opened strongly today (June 8) with an executive panel of world leaders. However, the panellists gave a gloomy outlook towards economic conditions in the coming year.

 

Panelists:

Nikolaus von Bomhard, CEO of German reinsurer Munich Re

Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Canadian firm Fairfax Financial Services

Bijan Khosrowshahi, president and CEO of Fuji Fire and Marine in Japan

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Prem Watsa, chairman and CEO of Canadian firm Fairfax Financial Services, gave an equally ominous verdict on the state of the US economy. With unemployment in the US around 9.5%, Watsa said it was worth remembering when unemployment in 1929 was at 2% and a recovery had been predicted.

 

“They didn’t really think they had a depression. By 1932 unemployment was 25% and stayed there right through to 1941,” Watsa said. “The worry for us is whether the US government with all its might and power can stimulate the economy to offset the deleveraging taking place.”

 

“The stock markets are down 50% so there is a tremendous opportunity in the market but the economy is a worry,” he added.

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“Auto company revenues are down 50%. No matter what planning you have, there is no way to prepare for that,” Watsa said.

 

Source: http://www.reactionsnet.com/Article/2228771/Sectors/23074/CEOs-give-gloomy-outlook.html?Type=Channel&ArticleID=2228771&ID=23074 [registration required]

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I found my self thinking this week "Is this the bottom in Canada, like everyone seems to think?"

 

Glad to hear Prem's comments on this. I think i'll keep my fireproof pants on a little longer.

 

It's clear to me that the dead cat will be bouncing a bit longer.

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