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JPMorgan CEO warns Wall Street to prepare for a recession: ‘Dangerous and inflationary’

JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon sounded the alarm on a possible recession, warning Wall Street to prepare for the threat of rising interest rates even as inflation slows.

A lot of things out there are dangerous and inflationary. Be prepared, Dimon said at the New York Times DealBook Summit in New York on Wednesday.

Interest rates may go up and that might lead to recession,” he added, according to CNN Business.

Dimon’s comments suggest that he doesn’t forecast a rate cut following the next two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Dec. 11 and 12.

Federal Reserve officials have unanimously decided to keep the benchmark federal funds rate at its current 22-year high, between 5.25% and 5.5%, for the past two policy meetings with little indication that theyll slash interest rates moving forward.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell even reiterated during his closely watched speech during the International Monetary Funds policy panel in Washington, DC, earlier this month: “If it becomes appropriate to tighten policy further, we will not hesitate to do so.”

Economists have been divided on what central bankers’ next move is — and whether it means the US economy is in for a soft landing, which will see it skirting a recession, or a hard landing.

“Im cautious about the economy,” Dimon said, per CNN.

The 67-year-old investment banking boss also noted that “inflation is hurting people,” and in a moment of positivity, pointed to the resilient labor market.

Representatives for Dimon at JPMorgan declined to comment.

Economists have cited October’s weaker-than-expected jobs report — when the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the US economy added 150,000 positions — as a signal that an interest rate cut is forthcoming.

The unemployment rate is now 3.9%, the agency said, above the Feds 3.8% year-end forecast.

Inflation has also trended weaker than central bankers estimates as Americans see some reprieve from the Feds aggressive tightening cycle, which began in March 2022, when rates were between 0.25% and 0.5%.

By June of last year, inflation peaked at 9.1% and rates have since increased at a pace not seen in 40 years.

The Fed hasn’t cut interest rates in over a year despite falling inflation, which slowed to 3.2% in October, according to the Consumer Price Index, which tracks changes in the costs of everyday goods and services.

The figure marked a drop from Septembers 3.7% advance, though it remains well above the Fed’s 2% inflation target, which the US economy hasnt seen since 2012.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV last month, Dimon suggested that Americans are in for an interest-rate hike as steep as 1.5 percentage points, to a staggering 7%, which would mark the highest federal funds rate sine December 1990.

Dimon’s warnings of a recession echo those of hedge fund titan Bill Ackman, who said just this week that the Fed needs to slash interest rates as early as the first quarter in order to avert a real risk of a hard landing for the US economy.

Ackman told Bloomberg that if the Fed keeps rates around the 5.5% range while inflation trends below 3%, thats a very high real rate of interest.

Whats happening is the real rate of interest, which is what impacts the economy, keeps increasing as inflation declines, said the Pershing Square Capital Management founder.

I think theres a real risk of a hard landing if the Fed doesnt start cutting rates pretty soon, Ackman added, per Bloomberg, noting that hes seen evidence of a weakening economy.

Traders, however, arent fully pricing in a rate cut until the end of 2024s second quarter, in June, Bloomberg reported, citing swaps market data.

The chance of a cut happening in May is some 80%, the data showed.

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