By David Henry and Anshuman Daga
(Reuters) -JPMorgan Chase and Co’s Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon joked on Tuesday that his bank would last longer than China’s Communist Party.
While reiterating his bank’s commitment to doing business in China, Dimon said: “I made a joke the other day that the Communist Party is celebrating its 100th year – so is JPMorgan. I’d make a bet that we last longer.”
Dimon added: “I can’t say that in China. They are probably listening anyway.” He was speaking as part of a Boston College series of CEO interviews.
JPMorgan has been operating in China since 1921, the same year the Communist Party was founded there.
It has branches in many Chinese cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.
In late 2019 the bank received approval to establish a majority-owned securities joint venture, offering brokerage, investment advisory and underwriting services.
In August, the bank won regulatory approval from Beijing to become the first full foreign owner of a securities brokerage in the country. Its other business interest in China include asset management and futures business.
Global executives typically choose their words carefully when discussing China, where foreign companies have occasionally been subject to backlash for perceived offenses.
In 2019, comments about pigs in China https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-economy-politics-idUSKCN1TF0C8 by a senior economist at UBS, perceived by some as a racist slur, caused an outcry and prompted one Chinese firm to suspend all business ties with the Swiss bank.
In Boston, Dimon also said he expected inflation from supply chain issues will prove fleeting but that higher oil prices and wages will not go away. He anticipates a percentage point or two of the recent 5% U.S. inflation pace will fade as prices for items such as used cars and lumber stop rising.
“There are other things which are probably not that transitory,” Dimon said. “I don’t think oil prices are going down.”
Dimon estimated there is about a one-third chance that inflation would be slight enough to bring on moderate increases in market interest rates that do not push the economy into recession.
There’s an equal chance that inflation will pick up and push the Federal Reserve to withdraw support for the economy, perhaps causing a mild recession, he said.
Dimon described the U.S. economy as “booming.”
“Consumers and businesses are in good financial shape and there is still more monetary and fiscal stimulus coming,” he said.
Asked about cryptocurrencies, Dimon repeated prior warnings to buyers.
“It is not really a currency,” Dimon said, calling them “crypto tokens” with no intrinsic value that have run up in price on speculation fueled by government stimulus payments.
“It is hysteria,” he said.
(Editing by Matt Scuffham, Nick Zieminski and Kim Coghill)