UPDATE 1-JPMorgan trims exposure to Russian local bonds, rouble on Ukraine tensions

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LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) - JPMorgan said on Friday it had moved to market-weight from over-weight on Russian local bonds and the Russian rouble after the recent escalation in geopolitical friction between Russia and Ukraine.

Although the ensuing sell-off as a result of the tensions had reduced the value of local assets, the bank said it had decided to reduce its structural positions.

The bank said it still expected risks to fade through the course of the year as economically damaging measures by the U.S. administration would be unlikely and Russian assets were taking on excess risk premium to reflect that.

“While we still hold this base case, morphing risks recently suggest that the overhang could last longer than we originally expected, giving no clear window for a structural repricing of Russian assets,” JPMorgan’s Anezka Christovova, Michael Harrison and Saad Siddiqui wrote in a report.

Russia has more troops on Ukraine’s eastern border than at any time since 2014, when it annexed Crimea and backed separatist territory seizures, and the United States is concerned by growing “Russian aggressions,” the White House said on Thursday. (Reporting by Tom Arnold; Editing by Susan Fenton and Toby Chopra)