The JP Morgan boss, Jamie Dimon, has warned the world may be living through “the most dangerous time the world has seen in decades” as Israel prepares to launch an expected ground offensive on Gaza.
The escalating conflict could have “far-reaching impacts” on energy prices, food costs, international trade and diplomatic ties, he said as JPMorgan Chase, America’s largest bank, reported earnings for the latest quarter.
While the lender posted another robust set of results, Dimon cautioned that interest rates may increase further in the United States, as the savings of consumers dwindle.
Dimon said: “The war in Ukraine compounded by last week’s attacks on Israel may have far-reaching impacts on energy and food markets, global trade and geopolitical relationships. This may be the most dangerous time the world has seen in decades.
“While we hope for the best, we prepare the firm for a broad range of outcomes so we can consistently deliver for clients no matter the environment.”
Earlier this week, Dimon informed staff that JP Morgan employees in the region had been confirmed safe. “This past weekend’s attack on Israel and its people and the resulting war and bloodshed are a terrible tragedy,” he wrote in an internal memo seen by the Guardian.
In a later memo, he told employees that the conflict in the Middle East would have “ripple effects that extend far beyond the region”.
Global companies have scrambled in recent days to account for their staff and formulate public comments on developments. Antonio Neri, the chief executive of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, described Saturday’s attack by Hamas as “unjustified and inexcusable”.
In a statement issued alongside the bank’s earnings on Friday, Dimon said US companies and consumers “generally remain healthy”, but noted that Americans have been “spending down their excess cash buffers”.
As the Federal Reserve mulls the next steps of its campaign on price growth, he said: “Persistently tight labor markets, as well as extremely high government debt levels with the largest peacetime fiscal deficits ever, are increasing the risks that inflation remains elevated and that interest rates rise further from here.”
Net profits at JP Morgan jumped 35% to $13.15bn in the three months to the end of September. Revenue at the bank rose 22% to $39.87bn.
Its takeover of the collapsed First Republic Bank, which failed following weeks of turmoil in the banking sector earlier this year, helped drive net interest income at JP Morgan – the difference between what it earns on loans and pays out on deposits – to an all-time high.
Shares in JPMorgan rose 1.8% during pre-market trading in New York on Friday.