The global green bond market stayed hot in the first quarter of 2019, with strong new issue activity, Moody’s Investors Service reports.
The rating agency said that $47.2 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars) worth of green bonds were issued in the quarter, which is 40% higher than in the same quarter last year.
This also represents a record for a first quarter, and it ranks as the third best quarter of all time, trailing only the fourth quarter of 2018 and Q4 2017, Moody’s said.
“Green bonds accounted for 2.5% of total first-quarter global bond issuance, and we expect their share of overall debt markets to continue to grow over time,” Matt Kuchtyak, an analyst at Moody’s, said in a statement.
The firm said corporate issuers led the way in first quarter green bond issuance, with non-financial corporates launching $15.9 billion worth of green bonds, and financials adding another $8.1 billion.
“In Q1, energy and building-related projects continued to lead with a combined 54% of issuance, but transportation green bonds showed a significant increase compared to previous quarters,” Moody’s said.
By geography, Europe was the top source of green bond issuance, accounting for approximately half of the first quarter total.
The strong start to 2019 put the market on track to meet Moody’s forecast of $200 billion worth of green bond issuance in 2019.
“Investor demand for social and sustainability bonds continues to grow, and will support the growth in these markets over the long run,” Moody’s said, noting that social and sustainability bond issuance totalled $13.4 billion in Q1, setting a new quarterly record.