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JPMorgan Chase's Jamie Dimon says the U.S. economy faces "unprecedented" risks

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The U.S. economy is facing "unprecedented" issues, with a combination of high inflation combined with Russia's invasion of Ukraine having the potential to "dramatically increase the risks ahead," wrote JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon in his annual shareholder letter

Dimon, who heads the biggest U.S. bank by assets, said that these issues could affect the economy "over the next few years and on geopolitics for the next several decades," especially as the Federal Reserve is now hiking interest rates to battle the highest inflation in four decades. 

"The confluence of these factors may be unprecedented," Dimon wrote in the April 4 letter. "Each of these three factors mentioned above is unique in its own right: The dramatic stimulus-fueled recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the likely need for rapidly raising rates and the required reversal of QE, and the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia."

He added, "They present completely different circumstances than what we've experienced in the past — and their confluence may dramatically increase the risks ahead."

Dimon said that JPMorgan and investors "should prepare for the potential negative outcomes."

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Dimon's letter, which is considered essential reading in the investment community, is decidedly more downbeat than his missive in 2021, when he had an upbeat reading on the economy. At that time, he predicted that widespread vaccinations, along with more government spending and business reopening, would spur the economic recovery for several years

To be sure, there have been dramatic changes in the U.S. economy and the geopolitical situation since 2021. For one, inflation picked up in the middle of 2021, surging to 7.9% in February. And Russia's invasion of Ukraine is likely to "slow the global economy," Dimon wrote on Monday. 

"America must be ready for the possibility of an extended war in Ukraine with unpredictable outcomes," he wrote. "We need to pursue short-term and long-term strategies with the goal of not only solving the current crisis but also maintaining the long-term unity of the newly strengthened democratic alliances."

JPMorgan stands to lose $1 billion due to Russia's war on Ukraine, he noted. But the U.S. should increase sanctions against Russia, direct "billions of dollars in aid" to Ukraine and help with Europe's migration crisis as a result of the war, Dimon said. 

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