Jamie Dimon, the chief executive officer of JPMorgan Chase, said cracks in China’s property sector were unlikely to trigger a global shock during a visit to Hong Kong on Monday.
Dimon is the first Wall Street boss to come to Hong Kong since the start of the coronavirus pandemic and was exempted from the city’s stringent quarantine measures.
“We do not expect China’s property woes to have a big impact [on global markets],” he said in an interview with South China Morning Post.
He is the first senior global banker known to have been granted an exemption from quarantine after the Hong Kong government this month suspended exemptions for most groups, including foreign diplomatic personnel, top business executives and senior bankers as part of a ramped-up campaign to reduce imported Covid-19 infections.
“The government was satisfied that the exemption is justified to facilitate the short visit (30 odd hours) by a small party (Mr Dimon and his chief of staff), the purpose of which is considered to be in the interest of Hong Kong‘s economic development,“ said a spokesperson at the Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau.
“Robust infection control requirements and protocols are attached to the exemption. The approved itinerary of the visit has fully reflected the need to minimise social contact. We are also satisfied that sufficient safeguards have been put in place by the applicant financial institution to ensure compliance with those requirements and protocols.”
Dimon said his 32-hour visit was aimed at thanking his 4,000 employees for their hard work and dedication during the challenges presented by the pandemic.
His visit coincides with a virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping scheduled for Tuesday morning Beijing time, when the two leaders will attempt to mend relations and discuss their countries’ many points of disagreement. The summit will be scrutinised for signs of movement in US-China relations.
Dimon said he is “not swayed by geopolitical winds” and expects the relationship between the two countries to improve.
He said mainland China’s recent debt crisis led by property companies will not be a big issue because the country has made strides in improving transparency and regulations.
In its latest Financial Stability Report, the US Federal Reserve warned that Beijing’s regulatory scrutiny of corporate debt levels has the potential to strain the property sector and other highly indebted businesses. This stress could spill over to financial firms and cause a sudden correction in real estate prices or a reduction in investor appetite in the mainland, said the report.
Given the size of China’s economy and financial system, as well as its extensive trade links with the rest of the world, financial stresses in China could infect global financial markets, pose risks to economic growth, and affect the United States, the Fed said early this month.
Dimon played down such concerns, pointing out the fact international investors and creditors are still interested in China.
“[The Fed’s] job is to highlight the risks,” he said.