Green Bond Issuance Touches Highest-Ever $120 Billion In 2017

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The international green bonds market had yet another record year as total issuance exceeded $100 billion for the first time in 2017.

According to the Climate Bonds Initiative, the total volume of climate bonds issued globally touched $120.2 billion in 2017, up 48% from 2016 when $81 billion worth of green bonds were issued. While the United States seems to continue to lead green bonds issuance globally, some new countries have also emerged as major players.

A final report for the year’s issuance is yet to be released by the Climate Bonds Initiative but a half-year summary report showed France as the leader with nearly $12 billion issuance. United States and China had issued $9 billion and $8 billion green bonds. At the half year mark, the total issuance had reached $56 billion, up from $30 billion during H1 2016.

The highest-ever monthly issuance up to the end of 2016 was $11.8 billion in November 2016. It was the only month, until that time, with more than $10 billion issuance. Last year, however, witnessed over $10 billion issuance in five months, with the highest in November 2017 at $15.8 billion.

The surge in green bonds issuance can be gauged by the fact that the Q1 2016 issuance totaled just $15.3 billion, while the monthly issuance in September and November 2017 was $15.4 billion and $15.8 billion, respectively. Also, the average monthly issuance in 2016 was $6.2 billion while in 10 of the 12 months in 2017 the monthly issuance was more than $6.2 billion.

Monthly issuance in 2017 was greater than that in 2016 for every month expect July. Q4 2017 was the best quarter ever for green bonds globally, with the total issuance touching $34.7 billion. Compared to that, the total issuance in 2015 was just $42.2 billion.

A total of $99.1 billion worth of bonds issued conformed to the green bond definitions issued by the Climate Bonds Initiative, while the agency itself certified green bonds worth $21.1 billion. It should be noted that bonds worth $10.2 billion were issued as ‘green bonds’ but they did not conform to CBI guidelines, and if these are added to the 2017 total the green bonds issuance would reach $130.4 billion.

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