JPMorgan says U.S.-sanctioned Russian bonds could be excluded from key indexes


FILE PHOTO: A sign outside JP Morgan Chase & Co. offices is seen in New York City, U.S., March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. sanctions announced on Thursday on newly-issued Russian government debt could see the bonds excluded from JPMorgan's influential indexes, including the emerging market local-currency GBI-EM investment index, the bank said.

"Economic sanctions which impact the replicability of the JPMorgan fixed income indices will result in an Index Watch (observation period) followed by potential rebalance actions such as exclusion of the sanctioned bonds/issuers from the benchmark," JPMorgan said.

Russia's share in JPMorgan's GBI-EM index, the main global benchmark for emerging market local currency bonds, now sits at 7.1% compared with 8.9% a year ago and the maximum possible 10% in 2014 before Russia was hit with Western sanctions for annexing part of Ukraine.

The U.S. bank said 11 Russian bonds with a combined market value of over $40 billion are part of the EMBI index series, tracked globally by about $412 billion in assets. Some 22 Russian bonds worth just over $99 billion are included in the GBI-EM index series, tracked by some $241 billion globally.

(Graphic: Russia's share of JPMorgan's GBI-EM index https://graphics.reuters.com/RUSSIA-ECONOMY/yzdvxebzdpx/chart.png)

NO IMMINENT CHANGES

JPMorgan added there would be no immediate impact on the existing EMBI or GBI-EM series composition.

"Existing index composition, i.e. rouble-denominated Russia government bonds (OFZs) in the GBI-EM series, dollar- and euro-denominated Russia sovereign and quasi-sovereign bonds in the EMBI and Euro EMBIG series, will remain eligible at this time provided these securities satisfy all other index eligibility criteria."

As with other index constituents, the eligibility of Russian bonds in the various indexes will depend on liquidity and accessibility, JPMorgan said.

Russia's U.S.-dollar debt weight on the EMBI Global Diversified stands at 2.8% and 2.2% on the Euro EMBI Global Diversified.

(Reporting by Marc Jones in London and Rodrigo Campos in New York; Editing by Chris Reese, Sam Holmes and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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