NEW YORK Billionaire financier George Soros spoke at a Reuters Newsmaker event on Wednesday.
Below are quotes from Soros on a range of issues:
JAPAN'S INTERVENTION TO BRING DOWN VALUE OF YEN
"Certainly, they are hurting because the currency is too strong so I think they are right to intervene. They had a real estate boom and then a crash in banking ... It's 20 years now, and they are still just struggling along."
U.S. ECONOMIC OUTLOOK:
"If I had to sum it up in one word, I would say: 'blah.' It may slip into double-dip (recession) or it may not, but it is going to slow down. There is no question in my mind because the stimulus is running out, and there is great resistance to any further stimulus."
"Gold is the only actual bull market currently. It just made a new high yesterday. In the present circumstances that may continue...It will be very interesting to see if there is a decline in the next few weeks... It's certainly not safe and it's not going to last forever."
HOLDING DEBT VS EQUITY:
"I think some blue-chip, steady-earning cash cow companies now yield substantially more than government debt and I would rather own them than government debt."
EURO ZONE DEBT CRISIS:
"Since sovereign debt was questioned, in Europe, there was a flaw in the construction of the euro...namely that Europe has a central bank but it does not have a central Treasury...The euro is here to stay but it remains somewhat flawed, not yet fully developed..."
CHINA'S YUAN CURRENCY:
"There are great big tensions particularly with regard to the currency, basically because China has been so successful because it has found luck in (its) fabulous machinery for skimming the surplus value of Chinese labor for the benefit of the state...
"The currency has to appreciate but it has to be done in an orderly manner, and I hope that the Chinese will actually find it to their own benefit to do it because they actually have inflationary pressures and (it helps) to have an appreciating currency for them."
"But you now have also rapidly rising wages and superimposing on that an appreciating currency would hurt exporting industries badly and they have a voice in China and they resist it, and that is going to be an issue."
Asked about U.S. bills in Congress to impose trade sanctions on China: "Those things would be disruptive." Soros said the bills could be used to apply pressure on China but called it "inappropriate" to apply trade sanctions.