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Chinese bank unveils green bond in London

By WANG MINGJIE in London | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-08 09:35
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Representatives from China's embassy in the UK, the Agricultural Bank of China, the UK Parliament, and the banking system witness the listing of the new green bond at the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday. CHINA DAILY

Agricultural Bank of China launches new product in UK's financial center

The London branch of the Agricultural Bank of China launched its first green bond on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday, with the aim to facilitate an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy.

The listed green bond is a three-year, $300 million floating-rate bond, and is the first green bond to be issued by the Agricultural Bank of China that is linked to the new benchmark interest rate, the secured overnight financing rate, which is also known as the SOFR.

Speaking at the listing ceremony, Zheng Zeguang, China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, emphasized that the listing reflects the firm actions taken by the Chinese government and companies in promoting green and low-carbon development and combating climate change.

He mentioned the substantial progress made by China in its climate efforts, citing that in 2022, China's CO2 emission intensity had decreased by more than 51 percent compared to 2005. Additionally, China now possesses almost half of the world's installed photovoltaic capacity, and he said more than half of the world's new energy vehicles are on China's roads.

Zheng said China has contributed one-fourth of the global increase in afforestation area, and allocated more than 1.2 billion yuan ($168 million) of special funds for South-South cooperation on climate change.

Since 2015, $12.2 billion of green bonds from Chinese banks have been listed on the London Stock Exchange and the number is expected to continue to grow.

"This demonstrates the potential in growth prospects of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the UK on green financing," Zheng said. "I hope the two countries will work together to carry out more collaboration in green and low-carbon fields, so as to bring more benefits to people in both countries and also make a greater contribution to this global effort to combat climate change."

Lin Li, vice-president of the Agricultural Bank of China, said: "With a focus on green and low-carbon development, the bank has introduced plans for green finance development and continuously improved a multi-level green investment and financing business system."

As of the end of September, the total green credit balance of the Agricultural Bank of China had reached 3.8 trillion yuan, with green investments approaching 40 billion yuan, and ESG-themed wealth management products totaling approximately 50 billion yuan.

Lin pledged that all raised funds from the green bond issuance will be used for qualified green projects that support the development of the green economy.

The London branch of the Agricultural Bank of China is committed to strengthening cooperation with local financial institutions in the UK and providing comprehensive and high-quality financial services to Chinese and British enterprises and promoting the development of China-UK economic and trade relations, he added.

Tom Attenborough, head of international business development for primary markets at the London Stock Exchange, said the listing of the green bond strengthens the long-standing trusted cooperation between the London Stock Exchange and the Agricultural Bank of China, and he hopes that there will be additional future collaborations with other Chinese financial institutions, to address global sustainable development challenges.

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