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China's green bond market rebounds after COVID-19 rout; social bonds surge


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China's green bond market rebounds after COVID-19 rout; social bonds surge

The ESG Insider newsletter compiles news and insights on environmental, social and governance developments driving change in business and investment decisions. Subscribe to our ESG Insider newsletter, and listen to the latest ESG Insider podcast on SoundCloud, Spotify and iTunes.

We delve into the world of "labeled bonds" in this week's newsletter, looking at how the COVID-19 crisis has dented demand for green bonds in China, one of the world’s largest issuers of the debt that finances environmentally friendly projects.

With a large part of the country in lockdown during the first quarter, the coronavirus had a significant impact on Chinese green bond volumes. Issuers also shifted their focus to pandemic bonds to fight the economic impact of the virus. But issuance rebounded in April and could return to 2019 levels by the second quarter, experts predicted.

READ MORE: Sign up for our weekly coronavirus newsletter here, and read our latest coverage on the crisis here.

At the other end of the spectrum, social bonds, which finance things such as health, housing and education projects, are surging globally as issuers seek funding to tackle the health emergency.

Chart of the week

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Top Stories 

China green bond issuance rebounds after falling to lowest in over 3 years in Q1

China, one of the largest global issuers of green bonds, saw issuance drop to the lowest level in three years during the first quarter amid the coronavirus pandemic, but the market is showing signs of revival.

RWE blasts 'questionable' Norway fund divestment, dismisses threat of copycats

German utility RWE criticized Norway's $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund for selling its stake in the company and said the decision does not take into account RWE's planned exit from fossil fuels.

Social bond surge appears here to stay as COVID-19 crisis shifts funding needs

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to surging demand for bonds that finance social projects as it has given the social bond market a sense of purpose and clear goals that had been lacking.

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