Jamie Dimon’s warning for the U.S. economy — nobody knows what comes next

Trying to forecast the path of the American economy proper now’s like peering right into a darkish effectively — nobody knows how deep the gap goes.

Even Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase and veteran prognosticator of all issues monetary, is flummoxed. As head of the monetary system’s bellwether, a financial institution with $3.2 trillion in belongings that serves nearly half of U.S. households and a large swath of its companies, Dimon has a singular vantage on the world’s largest economy.

“The phrase unprecedented isn’t used correctly,” Dimon stated this week after JPMorgan reported second-quarter earnings.  “This time, it is getting used correctly. It is unprecedented what’s occurring round the world, and clearly Covid itself is a fundamental attribute.”

Greater than 4 months into the coronavirus pandemic, the monetary harm wrought by the outbreak has but to totally register. Take JPMorgan, for occasion: The financial institution added $15.7 billion to reserves for anticipated mortgage losses in the first half of this 12 months. However second-quarter mortgage charge-offs in its sprawling retail financial institution truly declined 3% to $1.28 billion, or roughly the identical degree seen earlier than the virus.

That is as a result of the $2.2 trillion CARES Act injected billions of {dollars} into households and companies, masking the influence of widespread closures. As key elements of that legislation start to part out, the true ache might start. As many as 25.6 million People will lose enhanced unemployment advantages by the finish of July, and it is unclear if Congress will prolong the $600 per week in further funds that has buoyed so many households.

“In a standard recession unemployment goes up, delinquencies go up, charge-offs go up, house costs go down; none of that is true right here,” Dimon stated. “Financial savings are up, incomes are up, house costs are up. So you will notice the impact of this recession; you are simply not going to see it instantly due to all the stimulus.”

Coupled with the historic steps taken by the Federal Reserve to prop up monetary markets, a number of banks truly had a banner quarter. JPMorgan earned the most income ever in the second quarter, $33.eight billion, largely pushed by a growth in buying and selling exercise and a rush by companies to faucet debt and fairness markets. It was the greatest quarter for Wall Road in a decade, permitting Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to notch information as effectively.

However buyers have not piled into financial institution shares; shares of JPMorgan have barely budged since posting outcomes. Worry of the future, of the long run influence of defaults and low rates of interest, and of potential dividend cuts, is holding them again.

Complicating issues is the surge in coronavirus instances in the U.S., which topped 70,000 new day by day instances reported for the first time Friday as outbreaks worsened in the South and West. That has prompted states together with California to reverse elements of its financial reopening, and even cities which have managed to suppress the virus are taking precautions.

Banks need to provision for potential mortgage losses, however in the pandemic, they’re flying blind. JPMorgan sees no fewer than 5 totally different paths the economy can take. The agency has gotten extra pessimistic, seeing unemployment in its default “base” state of affairs hitting almost 11% by the finish of this 12 months, 4.3% worse than when it made the identical forecast in April.

In a worst-case state of affairs the place the virus surges additional in the fall, forcing one other spherical of widespread shutdowns, unemployment might peak at roughly 23%, the financial institution stated.

The vary of outcomes for the nation is extremely vast, and that may straight influence households, companies and in the end, buyers. If the extra benign base case occurs, JPMorgan is essentially performed setting apart money for defaults. In that occasion, it might start to repurchase billions of {dollars} in its inventory once more, maybe as early as the fourth quarter. However in the most dire situations, JPMorgan may very well be compelled to chop its 90 cent quarterly dividend to protect capital.

At this level, it is not rather more than a guess, Dimon says.  

“For those who take a look at the base case, an antagonistic case, a particularly antagonistic case, they’re all doable and we’re simply guessing at the possibilities of these issues; that is all we’re doing,” he stated. “You are going to have a a lot murkier financial surroundings going ahead than you had in Might and June, and you must be ready for that.”

“We merely do not know,” Dimon added, “and, by the approach, we’re losing time guessing.”

About the author

Tina Sanders

Tina Sanders

Tina is the mind behind, and she ideated it when she was working for an online magazine company where she used to cover US-based headlines news. She holds a degree in journalism and has more than 4.5 years of experience in an online magazine company. She had the idea while working there but when she was quite sure about starting something on her own, she took the risk and left the job to start Gruntstuff. Since then she added a few team members, and along with them, she creates General US news content on the site.

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