Berkshire Hathaway Inc.’s Charlie Munger told a conference Friday that markets are wildly overvalued in places and that the current environment is “even crazier” than the dotcom boom of the late 1990s that subsequently led to a bust.
“I consider this era an even crazier era than the dotcom era,” Munger, 97, said at the Sohn conference in Sydney, The Australian Financial Review reported.
Munger also said that he wished cryptocurrencies didn’t exist, and praised China for taking action to ban their use, according to the AFR.
“I wish they’d never been invented,” he said. “And again I admire the Chinese, I think they made the correct decision, which was to simply ban them. In my country, English-speaking civilization has made the wrong decision, I just can’t stand participating in these insane booms, one way or another.”
The S&P 500 index has more than doubled since its pandemic lows of March last year, while Bitcoin is up over 1000%. Investors have poured almost $900 billion into equity funds in 2021 — exceeding the combined total from the past 19 years — according to data from Bank of America Corp. and EPFR Global.
The valuation of the U.S. stock market is now higher than before the bust induced by the health crisis, and investors have become jittery. Spiking inflation is forcing central banks to tighten monetary policy, threatening to reduce the liquidity tailwind that lifted a wide range of assets.
The veteran investor also weighed in on China’s global relations, urging Australia to play a role in bridging differences between the Asian nation and the U.S.
“I think Australia with its deep involvement in China can be in a constructive position, Australia can encourage the U.S. and China to be more reasonable,” he said.
Munger, who was speaking after Warren Buffett’s Berkshire cash pile hit new heights at $149.2 billion of funds in the third quarter, also said he was bullish on renewable energy.
“I love the fact that we’re rapidly reducing the burning of coal and the burning of gasoline and diesel,” he said. “I think that’s a smart thing for the world to be doing and it would be smart even if there were no global warming.”