JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon kicked off bank earnings season on Friday with a stark warning about the perils facing the world today.
The war in Ukraine, along with the unprecedented attacks in Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas last weekend, may have “far-reaching impacts on energy and food markets, global trade and geopolitical relationships,” Dimon said in a statement accompanying the bank’s third-quarter earnings release.
“This may be the most dangerous time the world has seen in decades,” he said.
In addition to the military conflicts, Dimon expressed concern about the persistently tight labor market and extremely high government debt levels — including the “largest peacetime fiscal deficits ever” — that he warned are increasing the risks of both inflation and interest rates remaining high.
The longtime chief executive — who last year warned of an “economic hurricane” — also cited concerns over the Federal Reserve’s quantitative tightening campaign, the long-term effects of which he said are still unclear.
Fed policymakers have raised interest rates sharply over the past year, approving 11 rate hikes in hopes of crushing stubbornly high inflation. In the span of just one year, interest rates surged from near zero to above 5%, the fastest pace of tightening since the 1980s.
Officials have signaled that another rate increase is on the table this year until there is more substantial evidence that high inflation has retreated for good. They have also stressed that interest rates are likely to remain at peak levels for some time.
The Fed next meets Oct. 31-Nov. 1, and is widely expected to hold rates steady at the current 22-year high.
Despite Dimon’s concerns over the economic outlook, JPMorgan reported that its third-quarter profit rose 35% to $13.15 billion, thanks to rising interest rates. Revenue jumped to $39.87 billion, up from $32.7 billion a year ago. On a per-share basis, profit rose to $4.33 a share, beating analysts’ expectations.
“Currently, U.S. consumers and businesses generally remain healthy, although, consumers are spending down their excess cash buffers,” Dimon said, adding, “While we hope for the best, we prepare the [bank] for a broad range of outcomes so we can consistently deliver for clients no matter the environment.”