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Jamie Dimon says Fed 'may very well' raise interest rates to 6%

Jamie Dimon expects the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates higher than most officials and Wall Street strategists have forecast as the U.S. central bank continues its fight against persistent inflation.

The chief executive officer of JPMorgan (JPM), the largest consumer bank in the U.S. by assets, said Tuesday in an interview with Fox Business Network that the Fed’s terminal rate may hit 6%, a level notably above the 5% many have called for.

“Whether 5% interest rates are enough to slow inflation to where it needs to be, I don’t know,” Dimon said during the discussion at JPMorgan’s annual health-care investment-banking conference in San Francisco, citing fiscal stimulus that was “so large and still largely unspent.”

“Is it 5%? My view is, it may very well be 6%,” he added.

JPMorgan Chase & Co President and CEO Jamie Dimon testifies during a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing titled “Holding Megabanks Accountable: Oversight of America’s Largest Consumer Facing Banks” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz
JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon testifies during a U.S. House Financial Services Committee hearing in Washington, U.S., September 21, 2022. REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz (Elizabeth Frantz / reuters)

This time last year, Dimon was among the first voices on Wall Street to predict – correctly – that Federal Reserve officials would deliver as many as six or seven increases to their benchmark policy rate as prices rose at a historic pace. He said the three or four hikes investors were bracing for at the time were a low estimate.

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In 2022, the U.S. central bank lifted rates seven times to a cumulative increase of 4.25% to the highest in 15 years from near-zero levels. At least 75 basis points more of hikes are expected this year.

Dimon also told Fox Business on Tuesday that Fed officials should move rates to 5% and then pause to assess their lagging impacts on the U.S. economy.

"We were a little slow getting going. It caught up. I don't think there's any harm done by waiting three to six months to see what the full effect this is around the world," he said. "I'm on the side where it may not be enough."

He also separately indicated he was not sure if wage inflation would peak "the way people think."

Last week, stocks staged their first big rally of the year after December's jobs report reflected a slowdown in wage growth, while job openings reflected a still sizable imbalance between labor supply and demand.

"The lower-paid Americans are getting wages higher than the rate of inflation, and I don't think in total that's a bad thing — that's a good thing," Dimon said, adding this cohort of workers "haven't had a pay raise for 20 years."

"Inflation won't quite go down the way people expected, though it will definitely be coming down a bit," he said.

Dimon's predictions for a higher terminal rate come the same week a series of Federal Reserve officials hinted at a similar possibility.

San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly said Monday during a live-streamed interview with the Wall Street Journal that she expects policymakers will raise interest rates to somewhere above 5%, while adding that the final rate will ultimately depend on the path of inflation.

Atlanta Federal Reserve President Raphael Bostic also said the U.S. central bank should raise interest rates above 5% by early in the second quarter and then hold them there for a "long time."

The latest economic forecasts from the Fed's December meeting showed officials project their key overnight lending rate rising to 5.1% in 2023.

The rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is scheduled to meet Jan. 31-Feb. 2 and deliver its first interest rate hike of this year and eighth of the current cycle.

JPMorgan Chase is scheduled to report fourth-quarter earnings results on Friday.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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