Jamie Dimon, the J.P. Morgan Chase CEO who has been bullish on the U.S. economy, said the partial government shutdown could wipe out growth from the world’s biggest economy.
“Someone estimated that if it goes on for the whole quarter, it can reduce growth to zero,” Dimon told reporters on a media call to discuss fourth-quarter results. “We just have to deal with that. It’s more of a political issue than anything else.”
Dimon, who is also chairman of the Washington, D.C.-based Business Roundtable, said that while the “underlying statistics for the economy globally are not bad,” the bank will be prepared for the eventual downturn.
There’s still growth, despite early signs of a slowdown in China, Japan and the U.S., among other nations, he said. “Consumers are in good shape, they’re spending money, they’re saving money, household formation is going up, wages are going up,” Dimon said. “Eventually there will be offsets that may push the economy into recession, we don’t know when that’s going to be.”
In the earnings release, Dimon addressed the U.S. political dysfunction that is now threatening to sap economic growth: In 2019, “we urge our country’s leaders to strike a collaborative, constructive tone, which would reinforce already-strong consumer and business sentiment. Businesses, government and communities need to work together to solve problems and help strengthen the economy for the benefit of everyone.”
The bank is “less concerned about the direct impact it may have on our fee performance, and more concerned about the impact it has on uncertainty and sentiment which can be pretty negative,” CFO Marianne Lake said of the shutdown. “The more prolonged, the more customers are impacted, the more it’s going to be hard to realize capital market fees.”