Oberhelman Talks Oil and China with CNN

While Caterpillar Chairman and CEO Doug Oberhelman was in New York City last week, he sat down with CNN's Poppy Harlow and addressed important topics impacting both global economic growth and Caterpillar's business.

“We are starting to see – in the U.S. anyway – the benefits in some of our sectors with the cheap oil price,” Oberhelman said. “Will it offset for us the down impact on our oil business, and the rest of our business? I doubt it, but it’ll be a big help for us in the United States. We have a lot of U.S. dealers and customers that are very optimistic.”

Oberhelman says cheaper oil could stimulate the U.S. economy, but it’s contingent upon the prices staying low. If that happens, he expects consumers will spend more.

“I can’t imagine how a 2 percent interest rate and mortgage levels where they are today, and $2 to $2.50 gasoline will be bad for our economy,” Oberhelman said. “Now, there’s going to be a transition – the city of Houston, North Dakota, parts of Pennsylvania – they’re going to go through this adjustment as we always have with ups and downs with oil, but everyone else just had this huge stimulus put in their lap that no Federal Reserve bank has ever been able to do.”

Click here to see Oberhelman’s interview on oil prices.

When it comes to China, Oberhelman discussed the slowing growth rate of the country. Harlow noted that China’s 7.4 percent growth in 2014 was the lowest in nearly 25 years, but that doesn’t scare Oberhelman.

“Double digit growth rates were great for 20 years, but it can’t sustain itself for 100 years,” Oberhelman said. “China’s in a cyclical adjustment – a transition phase like we’ve seen in every developing country. There’s going to be a huge middle class that’s going to come through in the next 15 to 20 years, and they all want to live like we do.”

Click here to watch Oberhelman’s take on China.

Doug Oberhelman Biography

Oberhelman joined the Caterpillar treasury department in 1975 and has worked in or led a wide variety of businesses across the company.

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