JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon says China has 'serious issues' - and lays out what the US needs to do to push back against Beijing

·2 min read
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JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon warned the firm's wealthier clients that China has 'serious issues' and could be 'overreacting' to tensions over Taiwan.Brian Snyder/Reuters
  • JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said China faces "serious issues" due to its food and energy usage.

  • Dimon urged the US to take a stand against Beijing by upping its soft-power efforts in the developing world.

  • "America needs to take a leadership position," Dimon told the firm's wealthy clients last week.

JPMorgan chief executive Jamie Dimon has said China faces "serious issues" regarding its energy and food usage - and urged the US to take more of a stand against Beijing.

Dimon pointed out China is far more reliant on imports than the US in a call to wealthy clients last week that was first reported by Yahoo Finance.

"They don't have enough energy and food. We do," Dimon said. "They use 14 million [barrels of oil] a day and they import something like 10 or 11. Those 10 or 11 are going by pipeline or ship."

Tensions between the US and China have rattled markets this year, with major indices slipping when the Speaker of the House, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, touched down in Taiwan on August 2.

Pelosi's visit angered Beijing considerably, because China claims Taiwan as part of its territory and has been seeking a "reunification" with the island for decades.

Rather than trying to ease tensions, Dimon said that the US government should take a stand by trying to match China's efforts to build soft power in the developing world.

"You see what China is doing in Africa and Asia," he told JPMorgan's clients. "We need to do that, too. America needs to take a leadership position."

The US will lose out on major trade opportunities if it doesn't apply geopolitical pressure to China now, Dimon added.

"If we don't do trade with Western allies, China is going to cherry pick every nation," he said. "They'll give them 5G equipment for cheap. They'll negotiate deals, lend money. They are trying to do it in Latin America. Our backyard."

Dimon also told clients the US could be set for a prolonged economic downturn that would feel worse than a recession and shrugged off the impact the upcoming midterm elections could have on markets.

"It is rare that an election, either mid-term or full presidential election, actually changed the nature of the American economy in the short run," he said. "In terms of investing, I'm not sure it matters that much."

Read more: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon told wealthy clients there's a chance the US is heading into 'something worse' than a recession, report says

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