JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon highlighted geopolitical risks in the bank's Oct. 12 third-quarter earnings report, but he said the issues do not appear severe enough to derail a strong U.S. and global economy. Dimon also signaled some support for President Trump's handling of trade, expressing confidence that there would be a deal with China.
In an earnings presentation, a statement attributed to Dimon noted that the U.S. and global economy "continue to show strength, despite increasing economic and geopolitical uncertainties." During a conference call with journalists, Dimon expanded on the growing list of risks across the world.
"If you look at it in total — Brexit, Italy, trade, reversal of [quantitative easing], Turkey, Argentina, Saudi Arabia — it's an extensive list of stuff," Dimon said. "Again, in general those things don't necessarily derail a strong U.S. economy, but they are out there, and they seem to be increasing to me. And eventually, they may have an effect. I'm just trying to point that out, and no one should be surprised if that happens down the road."
While Dimon mentioned Saudi Arabia, which has been embroiled in allegations that a prominent journalist was assassinated, the bank declined to answer a question on the issue. A journalist asked whether Dimon was still planning to attend a Saudi Arabian conference known as "Davos in the Desert," and a bank spokesman quickly responded that the bank would not address the topic on the earnings call.
On the trade wars, Dimon said the business community was not in favor of Trump's tactics. However, he said the imposition of tariffs was a "negotiating tactic" and would not be large enough to harm the U.S. economy. Further, he expressed his approval of the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and said he believed Trump would eventually secure new trade deals with all affected countries, including China.
This week, equity markets have declined notably. During an analyst call, one questioner asked whether the increase in long-term rates was a sufficient reason for the sell-off. Management said the increase in rates would have little to no effect on JPMorgan borrowers' ability to repay loans.
"The level of rates is not surprisingly high," said CFO Marianne Lake. "From our vantage point, we're not seeing anything in terms of looking at our client dialogue, or for that matter at the credit trends, that would suggest this is problematic."