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Buffett says inflation an issue for Berkshire, it 'swindles almost everybody'

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·1-min read
First in-person annual meeting since 2019 of Berkshire Hathaway Inc, in Omaha, Nebraska
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OMAHA, Neb. (Reuters) - Warren Buffett said on Saturday that inflation "swindles almost everybody" and that it was "extraordinary" how much inflation had been seen in Berkshire Hathaway Inc's own businesses.

Inflation has surged in the United States, hitting a new 40-year annualized high of 6.6% in March, and U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers appear set to deliver a series of aggressive interest rate hikes to cool prices.

Buffett said he did not know what level inflation would be in the next month or decade, but that rising prices were having an impact.

"Inflation in our own business, it's extraordinary how much we've seen," Buffett said. "For two years the prices have kept coming in higher."

Berkshire noted cost increases in some of its businesses when it reported earnings https://www.berkshirehathaway.com/qtrly/1stqtr22.pdf.

Geico, the auto insurer, posted an underwriting loss in the first quarter because loss claims rose as used vehicle prices and parts surged higher.

"Inflation swindles the bond investor ... it swindles the person who keeps their cash under their mattress, it swindles almost everybody," Buffett said.

(Reporting by Carolina Mandl in Omaha, Nebraska, and Megan Davies in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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