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Monday, May 20, 2024

Hong Kong has subsidised over 220 green and sustainable debt instruments: Christopher Hui

Hong Kong has subsidised over 220 green and sustainable debt instruments: Christopher Hui

Hong Kong has approved grants for green and sustainable finance debt instruments with underlying issuances worth more than US$71.5 billion, according to Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui Ching-yu.

Hong Kong has approved grants for green and sustainable finance debt instruments with underlying issuances worth more than US$71.5 billion as of the end of March, as part of the government’s push to accelerate the city’s development as an international centre for green and sustainable finance, according to Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui Ching-yu.

Grants have been approved for more than 220 related debt instruments issued in Hong Kong since the launch of a scheme to support green and sustainable bond issuances and lending in the city in May 2021, Hui said in a keynote speech in a video at the Asia Summit on Green Economy organised on Friday by the non-profit Business Environment Council and consultancy firm Arup.

“We are all aware that promoting the green economy for sustainable development is a subject of global concern,” Hui said. “Hong Kong, a vibrant and resilient international financial centre, is uniquely positioned to play a leading role in green finance.”

The green and sustainable finance grant scheme, announced in Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po’s budget speech in February 2021, is a three-year programme that provides subsidies to eligible bond issuers and loan borrowers to cover their bond issuance and external review expenses.

Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui Ching-yu.

The scheme provides grants of up to 50 per cent for bond issuance expenses of up to HK$2.5 million (US$318,793) and external review costs of up to HK$800,000 per instrument, according to a guideline issued by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the administrator of the scheme.

“The government will continue to accelerate the development of Hong Kong into an international centre for green and sustainable finance,” Hui said. “Over the years, with local, mainland [Chinese] and overseas issuers using our sustainable finance platform, the amount of green and sustainable debt arranged and issued in Hong Kong has been increasing steadily.”

The total green and sustainable debt issued in Hong Kong, including both bonds and loans, increased by more than 40 per cent from 2021 to US$80.5 billion last year. The volume of green and sustainable bonds arranged in Hong Kong accounted for a third of the Asian market in this period, according to Hui.

In December, the government also launched a three-year pilot scheme to build green and sustainable finance capacity. The government earmarked HK$200 million for the scheme, which will provide subsidies for the training of market practitioners and related professionals, as well as students and graduates of relevant disciplines, helping them obtain the relevant professional qualifications in sustainable finance.

After completing the programme, the applicants can apply for a subsidy of up to 80 per cent of their fees, while full-time students can apply for up to 100 per cent of their fees, subject to a ceiling of HK$10,000.


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