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JPMorgan Has Biggest Exposure to Debt Risks in Europe

April 29 (Bloomberg) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co., the second-biggest U.S. bank by assets, has a larger exposure than any of its peers to Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain, according to Wells Fargo & Co.

JPMorgan’s exposure to the five so-called PIIGS countries is $36.3 billion, equating to 28 percent of the firm’s Tier-1 capital, a measure of financial strength, Wells Fargo analysts including Matthew Burnell wrote today. Morgan Stanley holds $32.4 billion of debt in the region, which equates to 69 percent of its Tier 1 capital, Burnell wrote.

“Regulatory data suggests JPMorgan’s exposure is largest in aggregate, but Morgan Stanley held the largest aggregate exposure to the PIIGS relative to Tier 1 capital,” the analysts wrote. Overall U.S. bank “exposure to Greece is lower than exposure to Ireland, Italy and Spain.”

Bonds and stocks plunged across Europe in the past week on concern the Greek debt crisis is spreading across the euro area. Standard & Poor’s this week cut Greece, Portugal and Spain’s credit ratings as concern the nations may fail to meet their debt commitments increased.

U.S. banks held a total of $236.8 billion of exposure to the five nations, including $18.1 billion to Greece, Wells Fargo said. European banks have claims totaling $193.1 billion on Greece, according to the Bank for International Settlements, with another $832.2 billion of claims on Spain.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gavin Finch in London at gfinch@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Edward Evans at eevans3@bloomberg.net

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