Buffett bashes bitcoin as nonproductive, thriving on mystique

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the mystique behind the cryptocurrency has produced a surge in its price.
Updated 07 May 2018
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Buffett bashes bitcoin as nonproductive, thriving on mystique

NEW YORK: Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on Monday said buyers of bitcoin, which he has characterized as “rat poison squared,” thrive on the hope they’ll find other people who will pay more for it.
Likening bitcoin demand to the tulip mania in 17th century Holland, Buffett, the chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, said the mystique behind the cryptocurrency has driven a surge in its price.
“It does create a rising price, creates more buyers ... If you don’t understand it, you get much more excited,” Buffett said on CNBC television. “People like to speculate, they like to gamble.”
Buffett said investors would instead be much better off investing in US stocks, which in turn are also a far better investment than 10- or 30-year US government bonds.
Buffett said stock prices are elevated but not in a bubble.
He said he would much rather have Berkshire’s pile of cash and equivalents be $30 billion, rather than the $108.6 billion it was at the end of March, but good deals have not emerged.
Buffett revealed last week having bought about 75 million additional Apple Inc. shares in the first quarter, despite already owning about 165.3 million.
Berkshire now owns 5 percent of the iPhone maker, trailing only Vanguard Group and BlackRock.
He also said he would be happy to see Apple shares go down in price if it would spur repurchases.
Buffett presided on Saturday at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, which was expected to have drawn more than 40,000 people.


Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

Updated 25 April 2019
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Head of Saudi Arabia’s SRC: ‘Ask banks for a mortgage, and we will refinance it’

  • SRC CEO Fabrice Susini: One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people
  • Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production

RIYADH: The head of the state-owned Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) has made an unprecedented offer to the Kingdom’s home-seekers to underwrite future mortgages.
Speaking at the Financial Sector Conference in Riyadh, Fabrice Susini, SRC CEO, told the audience: “Ask them (the banks) for a mortgage, and we will refinance it.”
Although Susini later clarified his remarks to show that he still expected normal standards of mortgage applications to be met, the on-stage show of bravado illustrates SRC’s commitment to facilitate home-ownership in the Kingdom.
“Obviously if you have no revenue, no income, poor credit history, that will not apply. Now if you have a job, it is different. We have people in senior positions at big foreign banks that could not get a mortgage,” he explained.
He said that Saudi banks have traditionally assessed mortgages on the basis of “flow stability” of earnings. Government employees, or those of big corporations like Saudi Aramco and SABIC, found it easy to get mortgages “because you were there for life.”
“One of our key objectives is to ensure that the banks are extending loans to more and more people. The government is pushing for entrepreneurship, private development, private jobs. If you work in the private sector and cannot get a mortgage the next thing you will do is go to the government for a job,” Susini said.
Extending home-ownership is one of the cornerstones of the Vision 2030 strategy to diversify the economy away from oil production. Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rates of mortgage penetration of any G20 country — in single digit percentages, compared with others at up to 50 percent.