JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Picture: AL DRAGO/BLOOMBERG
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon. Picture: AL DRAGO/BLOOMBERG

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon joked on Tuesday that his bank would last longer than China’s Communist Party.

While reiterating his bank’s commitment to doing business in China, Dimon said: “I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year — so is JPMorgan. I’d make a bet that we last longer.”

Dimon added: “I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.” He was speaking as part of a Boston College series of CEO interviews.

JPMorgan has been operating in China since 1921, the same year the Communist Party was founded there.

It has branches in many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

In late 2019 the bank received approval to establish a majority-owned securities joint venture, offering brokerage, investment advisory and underwriting services.

In August, the bank won regulatory approval from Beijing to become the first full foreign owner of a securities brokerage in the country. Its other business interests in China include an asset management and futures business.

Global executives typically choose their words carefully when discussing China, where foreign companies have occasionally been subject to backlash for perceived offences.

In 2019, comments about pigs in China by a senior economist at UBS, perceived by some as a racist slur, caused an outcry and prompted one Chinese firm to suspend all business ties with the Swiss bank.

Booming economy

In Boston, Dimon also said he expected that inflation from supply-chain issues would prove fleeting but that higher oil prices and wages would not go away. He anticipated a percentage point or two of the recent 5% US inflation pace would fade as prices for items such as used cars and lumber stopped rising.

“There are other things that are probably not that transitory,” Dimon said. “I don't think oil prices are going down.”

Dimon estimated there was about a one-third chance that inflation would be slight enough to bring on moderate increases in market interest rates that do not push the economy into recession.

There was an equal chance that inflation would pick up and push the US Federal Reserve to withdraw support for the economy, perhaps causing a mild recession, he said.

Dimon described the US economy as “booming.”

“Consumers and businesses are in good financial shape and there is still more monetary and fiscal stimulus coming,” he said.

Asked about cryptocurrencies, Dimon repeated prior warnings to buyers.

“It is not really a currency,” Dimon said, calling them “crypto tokens” with no intrinsic value that have run up in price on speculation fuelled by government stimulus payments.

“It is hysteria,” he said. 

Reuters

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