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JPM's Dimon: China to hit 'bumps in the road'

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said Wednesday that China may struggle to achieve "smooth, steady" growth, though he noted he expects more elite companies to develop in the world's most populous nation.

"Reforming inefficient state-owned enterprises, developing healthy markets (like we have in the United States) with full transparency and creating a convertible currency where capital can move freely will not be easy. There will be many bumps in the road," he wrote in JPMorgan's annual report for 2015.

In the wide-ranging letter, Dimon also addressed JPMorgan's liquidity, U.S. interest rate policy and American financial regulation, among other topics. It comes amid an uncertain time for large banks, which have recently faced global economic confusion, monetary policy changes and political rhetoric against Wall Street.

Jamie Dimon at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Jamie Dimon at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Debate about the U.S. banking system's safety has raged on the campaign trail, and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont has made breaking up big institutions a cornerstone of his Democratic presidential campaign. A call for more regulation has also come from the Federal Reserve ranks, as Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari warned this week that significant risks still linger in the banking system.

In the letter Wednesday, Dimon outlined JPMorgan's focus on risk controls and a strong balance sheet. He said regulators have made the banking system safer since the financial crisis, highlighting the U.S. Federal Reserve's stress tests.

"Nearly every year since the Great Recession, we have improved virtually every measure of financial strength, including many new ones," Dimon wrote.

He also contended that the global economy needs both large and small banks, saying JPMorgan "does things that regional and community banks simply cannot do." He pointed to work for large investors and governments.

Developments in China and around the globe have stirred fear in some investors this year. The Fed has closely watched global economic developments in its policy discussions, while other central banks have implemented negative interest rate policy.

Dimon noted that the bank is not worried about the possibility of negative interest rates in the United States.

He also addressed the a possible "Brexit," or Britain leaving the European Union. Dimon argued that, while Britain could potentially thrive on its own, its departure may disrupt the European economy.

"The range of outcomes of a Brexit is large and potentially unknown," he wrote.

Dimon, who made waves this year for buying 500,000 shares of his company's stock, also wrote he is not satisfied with JPMorgan's stock performance since the bank merged with Bank One in 2004.

JPMorgan's stock has fallen about 10 percent this year.