• US consumer finances are solid but economic and geopolitical risks are looming, Jamie Dimon said.
  • The JPMorgan CEO warned sticky inflation, more interest-rate hikes, and a recession remain threats.
  • The world order is being challenged, and crypto’s done little despite a decade of hype, Dimon said.

Most people are financially healthy, but economic and geopolitical threats could spoil the party, Jamie Dimon warned on Tuesday.

Consumers have seen their homes and stock portfolios surge in value in recent years, and they’re spending a historically low percentage of their incomes on debt repayments, the JPMorgan CEO told the Economic Club of New York.

People are also benefiting from strong economic growth and near-record employment, but they won't be immune if disaster strikes, Dimon said.

"Even if we go into recession, the consumer's in good shape," he said in a clip of the interview posted by Bloomberg. "That doesn't mean you can fight off the effects of stagflation, something like that, if it gets much worse."

"So far we're in pretty good shape, and so far it looks like a soft landing type of scenario, but put me on the cautious side of that one," he added.

Dimon's circumspect comments speak to the murky outlook for the economy.

Inflation has cooled from 40-year highs of more than 9% in the summer of 2022 to below 4% in recent months, but remains well above the Federal Reserve's 2% target.

The US central bank has raised interest rates from nearly zero to north of 5%, but has held off on reversing those increases until it's certain inflation is under control, and could even raise them if prices take off again.

Higher borrowing costs discourage spending, hiring, and investing, and tend to pull down asset prices, which can help to curb inflation but can also choke economic growth to the point a recession sets in.

Dimon underlined the sweeping effects that further hikes and a downturn could have, the Economic Club of New York said in a X post: "If rates go up and you have a #recession, that will hurt leveraged companies, jobs, profits, and real estate. So you can have circumstances where it's a triple whammy negatively affecting the #banks."

'Little bit of chaos'

The Wall Street heavyweight also flagged the fraught state of the world, echoing his recent annual letter and comments on JPMorgan's first-quarter earnings call.

"The geopolitical situation is probably the most complicated and dangerous since World War II," he said, pointing to US-China tensions and the Russia-Ukraine and Middle East conflicts.

Dimon underscored the impact that foreign conflicts can have on oil and gas prices, international trade, and military relationships, and how those effects can disproportionately hurt poorer countries.

He added that the world order is being "challenged" and could descend into a "little bit of chaos" as it realigns.

Dimon, a vocal skeptic of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, took a fresh potshot at them, per the Club's X feed: "Blockchain is real, we use it, but we've been talking about #crypto for 10 years and not a whole lot has come of it."