The war in Ukraine and US-China relations are two of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon’s largest economic concerns, he said Monday.
“The thing I worry the most about is Ukraine,” he told Bloomberg Television in an interview Monday morning. “It’s oil, gas, the leadership of the world, and our relationship with China — that is much more serious than the economic vibrations that we all have to deal with on a day-to-day basis.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began more than a year ago and has roiled the global economy, leading to energy and food price shocks, along with global supply chain disruptions that fueled surging inflation across the world and led to painful interest rate hikes from the world’s central banks.
“This is the most serious geopolitical thing we’ve had to deal with since World War II,” Dimon said Monday, also highlighting the war’s impact on relations with China.
Beijing enjoys a close relationship with Moscow, and the Chinese government has been purchasing Russian energy and supplying machinery, electronics, base metals, vehicles, ships and aircraft, throwing the Kremlin an economic lifeline.
In recent months, tensions between the United States and China have increased as the countries compete for dominance of the microchip industry and argue over tariffs, US support for Taiwan and potential spy balloons.
Dimon said JPMorgan Chase is taking an active role in improving the relationship between the United States and China by advising and engaging with both governments on keeping cordial relations. He’s hoping that “cooler heads prevail” but he doesn’t believe a business solution exists to ease growing disputes. While JPMorgan Chase does a fair share of business with Beijing, it’s the government, not private enterprise, that has to smooth tensions, he said.
“We probably should have started resetting this 10 years ago,” he said. The US government has to sit down and have a “very serious conversation with the Chinese government,” he said.
Dimon added that he believes the war in Ukraine could continue for years to come.
On the home front, Dimon is still holding out hope for the possibility that the Federal Reserve can execute a soft landing — lowering interest rates while avoiding recession. But overall, his outlook remains cloudy.
“A mild recession is possible, a harder recession is possible,” he said Monday. “I think there’s a good chance that inflation will come down, but not enough by the fourth quarter — the Fed may actually have to do more,” he said.
Dimon did note that the US consumer is still very healthy: Home prices and wages are high, households still have more money in their bank accounts than they did before the pandemic and they’re still spending it.
Consumers are in great shape, he said. “But that’s going to end at some point.”
Still, even if America does enter a recession, he said, consumers are much stronger and will be able to better withstand a downturn than they were in 2008.