Ukrainian upheaval takes heavy toll on JP Morgan’s Russia fund

 
Michael Bow
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JP MORGAN’S listed Russian fund sank to its lowest value for five years at the end of April after unrest in Ukraine cast a pall over Russian companies.

JP Morgan Russian Securities Plc, the only UK listed fund investing exclusively in Russia, lost about one third of its value for the six months ending April.

Despite a reversal in Russian stocks during May, the fund is still feeling the pain after its net asset values fell 6.7 per cent for the month.

The collapse of the Ukrainian government, Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea and ongoing unrest in eastern Ukraine has led to a dramatic decline in asset prices in the region since November.

The MSCI Russian 10/40 Equity Indices Index, the benchmark against which the fund rates itself, mirrored the drop, falling 26.4 per cent between November and April.

The fund’s manager, Oleg Biryulyov, said: “There is a clear increase in Russian country risk on the back of the escalating conflict between Moscow and the West… We believe that there will be a gradual but peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian situation. Based on this, we believe that valuations in Russia are attractive. Shares are trading close to levels last seen during the 2008-2009 period of the global financial crisis.”

The fund has about 10 per cent of its cash invested in Russian energy firm Lukoil, followed by large investments in Sberbank and Magnit.

The £230m fund saw the value of its listed shares decline rise 0.86 per cent yesterday to 468.5p, lower than the 560p level the stock traded at last year.

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