Last Wednesday Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase, threw an idea at conference attendees that made them sit up and take notice. He said that earlier in the year he had worried by the dark clouds on the horizon, but then the clouds darkened, and now they have built up to the point where we face a hurricane. (seekingalpha.com/article/4515787-jpmorgan-chase-and-co-jpm-ceo-jamie-dimon-presents-bernstein-38th-annual-strategic-decisions)
Some of his worries:
“I'm prepared for a non-benign environment by the end of the year…we will be prepared for bad outcomes.”
The interviewer then asked about the degree of difficulty of the task at hand in front of the Fed right now? Related to which were Dimon’s previous comments about storm clouds.
“I'm going to change the storm cloud because I said there were three things that we're going through, which are, I hate the word unprecedented, which are kind of unprecedented.
“And when you're seeing things that have never happened before, then you have to question your ability to predict."
Number one – too much stimulation
“One is huge growth in this country driven by fiscal and monetary stimulation. That isn't a normal recovery, okay, and that fiscal stimulation is still in the pocketbooks of consumers, they're spending it, they're spending at very strong levels. And the data is completely distorted. It's distorted by inflation…but jobs are plentiful, wages are going up, consumers are spending - the lower-income folks, not quite as much as before - but everybody else it looks like they have $2 trillion dollars more. [There’s been a] savings rate drop.
“I don't think that's going to stop their spending in six or nine months. And so, that to me is the bright clouds out there or -- but it's different.”
Number two – the response of raised interest rates on short and long term borrowing is full of risk
“The Fed has to meet this now with raising rates and QT [Quantitative Tightening – Central Bank ceasing to buy longer dated bonds and even selling them into the market]. And the new part of this isn't the raising rates, it's the QT.
“We've never had QT like this. So, you're looking at something they could be writing in the history books on for 50 years; what was QE, what worked, what didn't work?
“I think a lot of parts of QE backfired. I think the negative rates was probably a huge mistake for a whole bunch of different reasons I won't bore you with now.
“But they’ve got to raise rates, and mind you, they have to do QT. They do not have a choice because there's so much liquidity in the system; they have to remove some of the liquidity to stop the speculation, to reduce home prices, stuff like that.
“That's a huge change in the flow of funds around the world. I don't know what the effect of that is -- and you're talking about minimum huge volatility.”
Number three – war can have massive consequences
“And the third thing is Ukraine; that you've not had a European land war since 1945, okay. And the complexity of Ukraine is we don't know the outcome.”
“I always make a list, you know, you predict the outcome. Well, you couldn't predict the outcome of Vietnam, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and 10 other conflagrations; all wrong.
“Wars go bad. They go south, they ha.....
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