While his friend and fellow Democrat Larry Fink used his latest annual letter to cheer for an accelerating transition to ESG while simultaneously warning about the fallout from “de-globalization” spurred by Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned Monday in his own annual letter to investors that the US economy faces “unprecedented” risks from the confluence of COVID pandemic, high inflation and, of course, the situation in Ukraine.
“They present completely different circumstances than what we’ve experienced in the past – and their confluence may dramatically increase the risks ahead,” Dimon said.
Dimon, who has repeatedly advocated for a ‘Marshall Plan for energy’ to help the Europeans wean themselves off of Russia’s influence, also called on the US to turn up the sanctions pressure on Russia.
“Turn up sanctions – there are many more that could be imposed – in whatever way national security experts recommend to maximize the right outcomes.”
As far as JPM’s own book is concerned, Dimon suggested that the bank could ultimately lose more than $1 billion from its exposure to Russia. Dimon said he wouldn’t be surprised to see the conflict drag on, and said “America must be ready for the possibility of an extended war in Ukraine with unpredictable outcomes. We should prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
But Russia wasn’t the only foreign power to face skepticism from Dimon. Expounding on the “de-globalization” theme, Dimon warned that US firms must diversify their supply chains away from China and instead rely only upon “completely friendly allies”. He also urged the US to rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership (or TPP), the Obama-era trade deal that President Trump cancelled immediately after taking office.
In keeping with his previous comments about the pace of Fed rate hikes (remember, Dimon helped to instigate the trend of Wall Street banks one-upping one another with forecasts for five, six, seven – even eight rate hikes), the JPM CEO predicted that the Fed could still surprise Wall Street with a number of rate hikes that are “significantly higher than the market expects.”
As for the bank’s potential losses, Dimon said JPM’s “fortress balance sheet” is robust enough that JPM could withstand losses of $10 billion or more and “still be in very good shape.”