32% of Green Bonds Achieved a Greenium in the First Half of 2023
USD green deals priced well and were more than five times oversubscribed
20/09/23 04:00 New York / 09:00 London: Climate Bonds Initiative (Climate Bonds) today releases a report showing that within a sample of 50 green bonds, 16 priced inside their own secondary market yield curves (32%). The Green Bond Pricing in the Primary Market H1 2023, studies yield curves for 50 non-sovereign bonds out of a sample of 106. The findings arrive in the latest iteration of the Green Bonds Pricing in the Primary Market Series, sponsored by IFC, which assesses bonds denominated in EUR or USD, across countries and issuer types.
The period saw particularly strong pricing metrics for USD deals. Average book cover for USD denominated green bonds was 5.4 times the deal size. This underscores the shortage of large USD deals with the required clarity and transparency over the Use of Proceeds (UoP). Domestic and international issuers can harness investor appetite by bringing USD deals to the market.
The H1 2023 iteration sees the largest semi-annual sample to date, assessing 111 green bonds with a combined volume of USD124.6bn. Green bonds in both EUR and USD performed well on all metrics in the primary market, on average, and allocations to green investors remain stable at 66%.
Among other highlights, three EU sovereigns returned to the green bond market and Israel priced its debut sovereign green bond deal. Green bond ETF assets achieved net growth of 20% on the prior period, and the report also spotlights the quality of SLB issuance. See highlight section below.
Caroline Harrison, Head of Market Research, Climate Bonds: “The glowing green bond pricing metrics continue to demonstrate the strong investor appetite for these instruments. Investors are keen to finance the decarbonisation of our economy, and issuers should leverage this by prioritising green investment.”
Jamie Fergusson, Global Director of Climate Business at IFC said “IFC actively supports market research and intelligence on green and other labeled bonds to mobilize private capital and accelerate an inclusive climate transition in emerging markets. Our Green Bond Technical Assistance Program has a long-established partnership with the Climate Bonds Initiative and its Green Bond Pricing in the Primary Market series. Rigorous research into the often misunderstood yet crucial topics of “pricing” and “greenium” helps debunk myths and improve understanding and confidence in green bonds. It complements the capacity building work we provide to regulators and issuers and the investments we mobilize to catalyze green bond markets in developing countries.”
- Bigger and better bonds: The volume and number of deals eligible for inclusion in this report reached a peak at 111 bonds with combined volume of USD124.6bn. The previous high of 93 bonds with combined volume of USD93.4bn constituted the H1 2022 sample. This new high confirms that more issuers are coming to the market with increasingly larger deals that have the required rigour and transparency to be in alignment with Climate Bonds Green Bond Database methodology. This is great news!
- EUR green bonds from issuers of the highest credit quality attracted most interest: SSA and covered bond issuers tend to have the highest credit quality, investors turn to the safest assets when the market is volatile. The green label adds extra appeal.
- EUR utilities achieved good price tightening in the primary market: EUR bonds from utility issuers have consistently done well in the six years that Climate Bonds has been monitoring green bond pricing. This is important because electrification is the most critical process for the decarbonisation of the economy and evidently investors are ready and willing to support this transition. Demand is in place to scale up low-carbon electricity and improvements to the grid, which should see more utility issuers coming to the market with green bonds.
- 66% of green bonds were allocated to green investors: Emphasising the unique source of support from the dedicated green investment community, and that more green bonds could be absorbed.
- ETF total fund assets increased by 20% in H1: Investors are keen to commit money to funds investing in green bonds.
- Largest half year for sovereign issuance so far: USD40.3bn of sovereigns were included in the H1 analysis. The momentum behind this issuer type continues and has the potential to increase.
- SLBs achieve brilliant bookbuilding metrics in the primary market, which happens regardless of the quality of the decarbonisation ambition embedded in the KPIs. Climate Bonds recently launched SLB Database Methodology classifies SLBs according to the strength of their commitment. This should help investors to distinguish the more robust targets, and issuers to model best practice.
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About Climate Bonds Initiative: Climate Bonds Initiative is an international not-for-profit working to mobilise global capital for climate action. Climate Bonds undertakes advocacy and outreach to inform and stimulate the market, provides policy models and government advice, market data and analysis, and administers an international Standard & Certification Scheme for best practice in green bonds issuance. For more information, please visit www.climatebonds.net.
About IFC and GB-TAP: IFC’s Green Bond Technical Assistance Program (GB-TAP) is a donor-funded flagship program that promotes the supply of green and other sustainable bonds in emerging markets. GB-TAP is supported by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the Ministry of Finance of Luxembourg. IFC is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets, using capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in development countries.