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JPMorgan chief says worst still to come

LONDON, January 15 – The chief executive of US bank JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon, told the Financial Times on Thursday that the worst of the economic crisis still lay ahead as hard-hit consumers default on their loans.

"The worst of the economic situation is not yet behind us. It looks as if it will continue to deteriorate for most of 2009," he told the business daily.

"In terms of our sector, we expect consumer loans and credit cards to continue to get worse."

Dimon said the bank — which bought rivals Bear Stearns and Washington Mutual last year — was prepared for a deterioration in consumer-orientated businesses but if things were worse than expected, it would have to cut costs further.

The interview was published after a fresh wave of selling hit US and European stock markets Wednesday, as an unrelenting flow of bad economic and corporate news sparked fears of a deepening global downturn.

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