JPMorgan Chase boss Jamie Dimon urged investors Wednesday to prepare themselves for turbulence in the market in the weeks ahead – warning that extraordinary financial circumstances were creating a potential “hurricane” for the economy.
Dimon, the head of the largest US bank, said factors such as the Russian invasion of the Ukraine and the Federal Reserve’s move to tighten monetary policy due to decades-high inflation could stoke chaotic conditions in the market.
“It’s a hurricane. Right now, it’s kind of sunny, things are doing fine, everyone thinks the Fed can handle this,” Dimon said during a conference sponsored by AllianceBernstein, according to Bloomberg.
“That hurricane is right out there, down the road, coming our way,” he added. “We just don’t know if it’s a minor one or Superstorm Sandy or Andrew or something like that. You better brace yourself.”
The Federal Reserve is set to begin shedding its nearly $9 trillion in bond holdings this month in a process known as “quantitative tightening.” Central bank officials are also expected to enact another half-percentage point interest rate at their meeting later this month.
The Fed is cutting off the pandemic-era flow of cheap money and tightening credit as it aims to bring down consumer prices to acceptable levels. But the Fed’s hawkish policy shift has spooked investors who fear it will result in a recession.
Meanwhile, the Russia-Ukraine war has prompted further disruptions to global supply chains and contributed to an international energy crisis that has resulted in record-high gas prices for American motorists – with benchmark oil prices well above $100 per barrel.
“JPMorgan is bracing ourselves and we’re going to be very conservative with our balance sheet,” Dimon added.
Dimon’s comments showed that his meteorological take on the markets has darkened further from just a few weeks ago, when he told analysts during a conference call that he saw “storm clouds on the horizon” for the US economy due to the unprecedented market conditions.
“I hope those things disappear and go away, we have a soft landing and the war is resolved,” Dimon said at the time. “I just wouldn’t bet on all of that.”
Dimon has expressed major concerns about the long-term effects of the Russia-Ukraine war. Earlier this month, he called the brutal invasion a potential “disaster” for the global economy that could trigger an economic recession.
“Basically, the Cold War is back,” the JPMorgan chief told Bloomberg. “I think the whole world learned something that we always knew – that national security is always the most important thing, but it kind of recedes in the background when we’re all doing well.”
Dimon added there was a “chance” that the Russia-Ukraine war could last for “years” – an outcome that would “completely rattle global energy markets, wheat markets, commodity markets.”