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BT EXCLUSIVE

Singapore is frontrunner on sustainable infrastructure investment: HSBC survey

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Sustainability is fast gaining traction in Singapore's capital markets, with the Republic's investors and issuers among the world's most enthusiastic about sustainable infrastructure investment, according to HSBC.

SUSTAINABILITY is fast gaining traction in Singapore's capital markets, with the Republic's investors and issuers among the world's most enthusiastic about sustainable infrastructure investment, according to a recent survey by HSBC.

In particular, Singapore's issuers and investors see strong potential in sustainable infrastructure investment, recording scores above both the regional and global averages alongside Hong Kong, HSBC said in a press statement on Wednesday.

Issuers in the Republic are more positive than their global peers about both smart city, as well as water and waste water infrastructure investment. They are also "above average" in their assessment of the potential in other sustainable areas, including electricity storage and electrifying transport.

When it comes to disclosure of environmental and social impacts, local issuers are leading the way - nearly a quarter of Singapore issuers expect to increase disclosures, ahead of their regional counterparts, HSBC noted.

While Singaporean issuers have temporarily reduced their emphasis on sustainability during the Covid-19 pandemic, the outbreak has resulted in an increased focus on well-being, the bank said.

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Among Asian issuers, 53 per cent regard social well-being as more important than before the pandemic, with Singapore (66 per cent) especially strong on the point.

Said Priya Kini, head of global banking at HSBC Singapore: "It's unsurprising that Singapore paused their focus on sustainability during the pandemic. What's crucial though is that issuers are looking to the future, recognising the need to be open and transparent."

She added that with enhanced disclosures, Singapore is likely to see increased international investment in its sustainable finance market.

HSBC on Wednesday also said its survey comes amid increasing evidence of the need to address climate change in South-east Asia. A separate research published by the bank last month noted that of the 20 global cities most vulnerable to rising sea levels,15 are in Asia, including five in Asean.

Furthermore, the bank's latest poll showed that more issuers in Asia than any other region expect to re-allocate capital in response to environmental and social issues in the next five years. Forty-three per cent of Asian issuers expect to make "substantial" change, against a global average of 32 per cent, HSBC said.

Within the region, issuers and investors are also starting to engage with green bonds and loans as a vehicle for sustainable financing, the bank noted.

"This reflects China's standing as one of the world's largest green bond markets and accelerating activity in other Asian countries such as India and Singapore," HSBC added.

The survey sought the views of 50 investors and 50 issuers in Singapore, as part of a global report which recorded the views of over 2,000 market participants.

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