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Global issuance of ESG bonds tracked by IGM in the first half of 2021 surpassed all of 2020's issuance to total USD 474.79bn on 595 tranches. This compared to last year's ESG issuance of USD 468bn on 530 tranches.
Q2 ESG issuance came in a touch lower than Q1's record quarter issuance of USD 251.67bn at USD 223.11bn but still represented the 2nd largest quarter of ESG issuance per IGM's records and 97% higher than Q2 2020.
Green bonds remain the favored theme and comprised 44% of total ESG issuance over Q2 at USD 98bn versus 40% in Q2.
Sustainability-Linked bond issuance stood out in Q2 however with issuance surging to a record USD 26.28bn, more than the accumulated volume from when the 1st SLB was issued in Sep 2019 to end Q1 2021, of USD 15.789bn.
The 10 largest tranches in Q2 (and H1) once again came from Europe or cross border* issuers, of which the largest ESG issuer continues to be the EU via its SURE Social Bond framework. Consequently Euros, SSAs and Investment Grade proved once again to be the predominant currency, sector and rating categories of ESG issuances.
ESG now comprises around a quarter of all European issuance, led by green & social bonds.
Q2 ESG issuance by US issuers was the 2nd largest on record after Q1's record volume of USD57.74bn at USD 51.55bn and represents a 34% rise vs Q2 2020. Issuance in the US has gained four fold from Q2 2020 but still represents a mere 8% of US issuance volumes, signalling room for expansion.
China has leapt onto the ESG bandwagon and now represents the 4th largest global issuer ex supras after France, Germany and the US, with issuance from Chinese issuers surging 91% in Q2 vs. Q1 to USD 7.97bn and USD 11.47bn for 1H. From 2% this time last year, APAC US$ ESG issuance now comprises over 16% of all APAC US$ issuance.