US is headed for a recession, says head of JP Morgan Chase bank: ‘This is serious’

The US and global economy is facing a “very, very serious” mix of headwinds that is likely to cause a recession by the middle of next year, warned Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JP Morgan Chase, the largest US investment bank, on Monday.

Dimon pointed to the effects of runaway inflation, sharp interest rate rises and Russia’s war in Ukraine, as factors that informed his thinking. But he added that the US was “actually still doing well” and consumers were likely to be in better shape compared with the global financial crisis in 2008.

“You can’t talk about the economy without talking about stuff in the future – and this is serious stuff,” Dimon told CNBC at a conference in London.

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“These are very, very serious things which I think are likely to push the US and the world – I mean, Europe is already in recession – and they’re likely to put the US in some kind of recession six to nine months from now,” he added.

Dimon said that the US Federal Reserve “waited too long and did too little” as inflation jumped to a 40-year high over the past 18 months. He said the central bank, which has raised rates five times so far this year, is “clearly catching up”.

“And, you know, from here, let’s all wish him [Fed chair Jerome Powell] success and keep our fingers crossed that they managed to slow down the economy enough so that whatever it is, is mild – and it is possible,” he added.

But the bank chief said he expected volatile market conditions that could coincide with disordered financial conditions. The benchmark S&P 500, Dimon said, could fall by “another easy 20%”.

“The next 20% would be much more painful than the first,” he added.

This is not the first time Dimon has warned of a sharp financial downtown. In June he said he was preparing the bank for an economic “hurricane”. JP Morgan, he said “is bracing ourselves and we’re going to be very conservative with our balance sheet”.

Dimon is not alone in anticipating tough times. Over the weekend, Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at the German financial services giant Allianz SE said the US economy is on “a bumpy journey to a better destination”.

El-Erian blamed the US central bank for exacerbating the risk of a recession by waiting too long to raise interest rates and then “slamming on the brakes this year”.

“Not only does it have to overcome inflation, but it has to restore its credibility,” El-Erian said of the US central bank on CBS’s “Face the Nation”. “So yes, I fear we risk a very high probability of a damaging recession that was totally avoidable.”