October 31, 2018 / 4:17 PM / 12 days ago

Dutch to issue first green government bonds in 2019

AMSTERDAM, Oct 31 (Reuters) - The Netherlands will issue its first green government bonds next year, expecting to be the first triple A-rated country to do so.

Dutch Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra said on Wednesday 3.5 to 5 billion euros ($4 billion-$5.8 billion) of currently planned government expenses could qualify as green, citing those in railroads and sustainable energy.

Details on the size and timing of the green bonds will follow on Dec. 14, Hoekstra said.

“We want financial markets to take an important role in financing green projects. But until now, Dutch pension funds, insurers and banks had to look abroad for safe, green government bonds.”

So far, France, Belgium and Ireland are the only euro zone countries to have issued government bonds with the specific aim of financing environmentally friendly projects.

Though green bonds make up just a small fraction of the overall bond market, they are attracting more attention because meeting emissions-cut targets will require trillions of dollars of capital from public and private sectors.

Global green bond issuance hit a record $155.5 billion in 2017 and could reach $250 billion-$300 billion this year, according to research from the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI).

In the Netherlands, around a dozen banks and companies have so far issued 15 billion euros worth of green bonds. ($1 = 0.8824 euros) (Reporting by Bart Meijer Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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