Saudi Arabia Eyes Green Bond in 2022 as Sustainable Debt Soars
(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s government may issue its first green bond next year as the world’s largest oil exporter seeks to diversify its investor base and sources of funding, the head of the kingdom’s debt office said.
The pledge to tap into a booming global market for sustainable debt comes as the kingdom, built on decades of fossil fuel extraction, seeks to improve its reputation on environmental issues.
“Definitely it will be very soon, I can mention 2022 as a long target, if not before,” subject to market conditions and the government’s funding plan for next year, Hani AlMedaini, head of the National Debt Management Center, said at a conference in Riyadh on Monday.
The global market for debt that complies with environmental, social or governance goals (ESG) looks set to top $1 trillion this year. Last week the U.K.’s green bond debut broke records with a 10 billion pounds ($13.7 billion) sale. In the Middle East, Egypt sold the region’s first sovereign green bond last year and pulled in orders for nearly fives times its $750 million size.
Monday’s comments come after Saudi Arabia’s $430 billion sovereign wealth fund said it would announce its own first green debt issuance “very soon” and announced it was working on an environmental, social and governance framework with BlackRock Inc.
Green finance and debt that complies with ESG goals “will be one of our main funding channels in the future,” AlMedaini said. The government will also be looking at financing backed by export credit agencies, in addition to conventional and Islamic bonds, he added.
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