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JPMorgan Chase reports 69% drop in 1Q profits to $2.9 bn

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New York (AFP)

JPMorgan Chase reported a staggering decline in first-quarter earnings Tuesday after setting aside nearly $8.3 billion for loans vulnerable to the economic devastation from coronavirus shutdowns.

The biggest US bank by assets reported profits of $2.9 billion for the quarter ending March 31, down 69 percent from the year-ago period. Revenue dipped three percent to $28.3 billion.

Chief Executive Jamie Dimon described the bank's underlying results as "extremely good" during the first quarter, but said the addition of large credit reserves was needed because of the "likelihood of a fairly severe recession."

The bank said in a press release that the reserve build reflects "deterioration in the macro-environment as a result of the impact of COVID-19 and continued pressure on oil prices."

The provisions included $4.4 billion, primarily in its credit card business, and $2.4 billion across businesses, with the biggest amounts in oil and gas, real estate and retail.

The sums reflect the bank's assessment of clients' ability to pay back loans after suffering a big drop in business due to the shutdown of large parts of the United States to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Wells Fargo reports results later Tuesday and other large banks will follow on Wednesday.

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