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Dimon: The post-lockdown economic boom has 'absolutely' begun

Julia La Roche
·Correspondent
·3 min read
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JPMorgan Chase (JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon says the post-lockdown economic boom has "absolutely" begun.

On a client webcast on Wednesday, the long-time bank CEO echoed his upbeat views on the U.S. economy that he recently outlined in his annual letter to JPMorgan shareholders in which he predicted an economic boom that "could easily run into 2023."

Pointing to the vaccine rollout, Dimon said on the webcast we are "lucky to have it" and people "should be happy to go back to work," both factors that are "critical" to a stronger economy.

Dimon, who has been vocal about raising the minimum wage, acknowledged that many have lost their jobs and are suffering from the pandemic, but he believes that the economy today is "very different" from 2009.

"For the rest of Americans, their savings accounts are up $2 trillion," Dimon said. "Home prices are up. Asset prices are up. They're anxious to get back to work. There's a little bit of euphoria in places that have opened up. Even driving in today, to New York, driving down the streets, you have a lot more mothers and schools are open. Companies are in very good shape."

Dimon added that JPMorgan sees higher spend in cities that have opened up and that spending on travel and leisure is higher than pre-COVID.

"I could go on and on and on," the CEO said. "It's coming. It's going to be a boom, and it could last for years because the money that I'm talking about, a lot of it hasn't been spent yet, and it doesn't include the $1.9 trillion. It doesn't include infrastructure. So we're going to have a pretty healthy economy for quite a while."

Dimon asserted that the additional $2 trillion in consumers' bank accounts would be spent over time, driving the economic boom. What's more, Dimon noted that consumers have paid off a lot of debt, which is "coiling the economy."

Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday, April 4, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase, speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations Thursday, April 4, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

"The consumer balance sheet very low debt, very high investments, very high savings, and they're ready to go, and their jobs are coming back. It's also basically true for businesses," he added.

To be sure, there is a downside scenario which is inflation. "Does it rear its ugly head in a way that the Fed has to take actions that cause a recession?"

"Goldilocks would be very strong growth this year, next year. Inflation goes up to 2.5% into early next year, maybe 2.7%, and then it comes down. The 10-year bond goes to 3; the short rates go to 2 or 2.5. That would be a home run, and the effect of a strong economy dwarfs the effect of rising rates," Dimon added.

According to Dimon, a "bad case" would be if inflation goes up to 2.7% this year and it doesn't temper and hits 3% next year, resulting in the Fed raising rates 50 basis-points, not the 25 basis-points people are accustomed to, while the 10-year bond goes to 5 or 6.

"And that is what I call a 'traditional recession,' when the Fed has taken away the punch bowl to slow down excessive growth. I don't know if you're going to know that until sometime next year, so between now and 12 months from now, it's probably going to feel very good, and then we'll watch that closely," he said.

As it relates to the market, Dimon, who pointed out that he hates forecasting the stock market, said a "booming economy will justify today's prices." The bank CEO said there "are bubbles out there," but he declined to mention any names.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter.

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