The head of Goldman Sachs says a lack of appetite for risk among businesses in the United States is hampering the economic recovery there.
The investment bank was a major dealer in financial products associated with the US sub-prime mortgage crisis that sparked the global financial crisis.
In Sydney on Saturday, chief executive and chairman Lloyd Blankfein said business confidence remained very low among companies in the United States.
"It's a very poor time to take risk and without risk-taking there's less growth," he said.
"I would say the US feels like it's recovering from that, but I wouldn't say that's quite healthy yet.
"In other words, growth I believe is established but it's not great growth, and the kind of confidence that we're seeing that's resulting in transactions - the nature of the transactions are relatively low risk."
The ABC reports Mr Blankfein was asked for his views on the state of Australia's economy.
It's awful, you've now sunk to a level that we're trying to get up to," Mr Blankfein joked.
The event was organised by the Australian Institute of Company Directors.