Finance

Jamie Dimon says his one big worry is negative interest rates

Key Points
  • J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said that negative interest rates are one of the only things that concern him in a market that's otherwise in a "Goldilocks place."
  • "The only thing I have trepidation about is negative interest rates, QE, and the diversion between stock prices and bond prices and yield and stuff like that," Dimon said on CNBC's "Squawk Box" from the World Economic Forum in Davos.
  • "It's kind of one of the great experiments of all time, and we still don't know what the ultimate outcome is," Dimon said.
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Jamie Dimon: I have some trepidation on negative interest rates

J.P. Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon told CNBC on Wednesday that negative interest rates are one of the only things that concern him in a market that's otherwise in a "Goldilocks place."

"The only thing I have trepidation about is negative interest rates, QE, and the diversion between stock prices and bond prices and yield and stuff like that," Dimon said on "Squawk Box" from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"It's kind of one of the great experiments of all time, and we still don't know what the ultimate outcome is," Dimon said.

Negative interest rates have been used by central banks in Japan and Europe to try to stimulate their stubbornly stagnant economies. Economists are divided over their effectiveness to reignite economic growth, and some fear negative rates can keep growth subdued rather than lift it. They have been used in conjunction with quantitative easing, in the U.S. and abroad, where central banks purchase assets like Treasury bills.

"I think it's very hard for central banks to forever make up for bad policy elsewhere," Dimon said. "That puts in them in a trap. We're a little bit in that trap today with rates so low around the world."

"I would never buy a negative rate bond, not unless I was forced," Dimon added. "In history whenever you've seen anything like that, it doesn't necessarily end well."

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How negative interest rates work

President Donald Trump, however, touted the use of negative interest rates at his Davos address on Tuesday, saying the U.S. is at a competitive disadvantage because its rates are higher.

"Even now as the United States is by far the strongest economic power in the world, it's not even close. … We're forced to compete with nations that are getting negative rates, something very new," Trump said. "Meaning, they get paid to borrow money, something I could get used to very quickly. Love that."

Dimon added that he was worried about the repercussions from quantitative easing, along with risks from cyber attacks or geopolitical events.

"It's just in the back of my mind as such an abnormal situation that's gone on for a long time," Dimon said. "We don't completely understand why, or the causes and effects, and we may not know for another 10 years."

Dimon has led New York-based J.P. Morgan since 2005, helping build it into the biggest U.S. bank by assets.

—With reporting from CNBC's Fred Imbert.