UPDATE 1-KKR's Kravis sees Europe as biggest concern

Wed Nov 9, 2011 8:09am EST

* Kravis does not expect a U.S. recession

* See historic shift of economic power to East from West

By Elzio Barreto and Stephen Aldred

HONG KONG, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts co-founder Henry Kravis said volatility and uncertainty in global markets had created enormous challenges and threats as financial firms, investors and governments face sovereign debt crisis and a slowdown in major economies.

Kravis, one of the pioneers of the private equity industry, said on Wednesday Europe "remains our biggest concern", adding while U.S. unemployment would likely remain high for a long time, he did not expect the world's largest economy to go into recession

"We all face enormous challenges and threats coming from a lot of different directions without a doubt," Kravis said.

"The deep systemic problems that the U.S. is facing and Europe as well are obviously contributing to this historic shift of economic power from the West to the East and I think that will continue without a doubt."

Kravis, who co-founded KKR in 1976 with George Roberts, said the firm believed the global economy was in the third and final stage of a debt driven cycle that began with the bankruptcies of Enron, Tyco and Worldcon.

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