GE Exec Sees A Lot Of Thistles

GE Vice Chairman John Rice isn’t buying into the “green shoots” theory. As he tells Bloomberg, from his perch things still look pretty rough.

“I am not particularly of the green shoots group yet,” Rice said today to the Atlanta Press Club, referring to a phrase used by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that described signs of a nascent recovery. “I have not seen it in our order patterns yet. At the macro level, there may be statistics suggesting the economy is starting to turn. I am not seeing it yet.”

“We see a world where good companies and good consumers can’t get all the credit we would like,” Rice said. “Companies with lots of cash on their balance sheet are worried about whether they will get what they need for working capital” and are cutting spending.

“Until that changes I don’t think you will see a significant rebound,” Rice said. “We are preparing for 12 or 18 months of tough sledding.”

His comments might be a little self-serving as he tries to gin up support for more lending for his customers, but you can’t dismiss them. Once again, it reinforces my feeling that we will see a weak recovery late this summer and into the fall but it won’t be strong and won’t be permanent.

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