China: Asia’s ESG bond issuances hit record $69 bln this year, no let-up seen

Asia-Pacific borrowers more than doubled issuance of bonds tied to environmental, social and governance (ESG) themes to a record $69 billion this year, data showed, as they sought to burnish their sustainability credentials and tap red-hot investor demand.

Bankers say the trend will continue, boosting their fee incomes. Some of the biggest global investment banks are bulking up their teams to cope with the increased ESG-related bond deals.

ESG-related issuances from companies, government bodies and other institutions in Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) this year have outpaced those by U.S. issuers for the first time in two years.

Asia-Pacific entities are fast-tracking their ESG plans, taking advantage of abundant liquidity and soaring demand from global investors who are keen to increase their exposure to the region as economies recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with the growing rollout of vaccinations.

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