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Alternative Market Briefing

COVID-19: Global sustainable bond issuance falls 32% to $59.3bn in Q1

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Laxman Pai, Opalesque Asia:

Global sustainable bond issuance totaled $59.3 billion in the first quarter of 2020, 32% lower than the fourth quarter of 2019, as the economic and financial fallout from the coronavirus crisis began to spread, Moody's said.

Green bond volumes declined to $33.9 billion, a steep 37% decline compared with the first quarter of 2019 and an even greater 49% decline compared with last year's fourth quarter.

More positively, social bond issuance totaled $11.9 billion, a new quarterly record, while sustainability bonds registered a strong $13.4 billion total.

The surge in social and sustainability bonds has been primarily led by multilateral development banks, which have increasingly turned to these instruments to finance their coronavirus response.

Greater emphasis on social finance and sustainable development will likely be one of the lasting outcomes of the coronavirus crisis.

EM sustainable bond issuance totaled $7.7 billion in the first quarter, its lowest level since Q1 2018.

"Despite economic challenges associated with the coronavirus in the coming months, we continue to see strong potential for sustainable bond growth throughout EM economies over the long run given their susceptibility to ESG risks and huge investment needs to finance sustainable development," Moody's said.

A precipitous drop in green bond issuance was the main driver of the steep decline in sustainable bond volumes. Record quarterly social b......................

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