(Bloomberg) -- Malaysia sold its first-ever sustainability Sukuk, adding to a growing number of countries turning to debt financing for environmental projects.The nation priced an $800 million 10-year sustainability Islamic finance offering Wednesday, together with a $500 million 30-year tranche, a person familiar with the matter said. Spreads on both parts of the deal tightened during marketing, and the sustainability Sukuk sold at 50 basis points over Treasuries compared with initial price guidance of around 90 basis points.Sustainable debt issuance rose 29% last year to a record $732 billion, according to figures from BloombergNEF. Indonesia sold green debt that complies with religious principles in 2018, making it the first country in the world to issue such securities, according to a United Nations Development Programme report.“Demand for ESG or sustainability-linked bonds continues to gain traction while there is still a limited supply” of such issuance from Southeast Asia, said Winson Phoon, head of fixed-income research at Maybank Kim Eng Securities in Singapore. “Adding the sustainability label helps widen further the investor base.”Malaysia is also an infrequent issuer in overseas bond markets, last selling dollar debt in 2016. The sovereign’s existing U.S. currency notes have longer duration than Asian credit more broadly, which made them vulnerable to a selloff last quarter as yields spiked. They’ve since recouped some losses as interest rates retreated.Like governments around the globe, Malaysia has been tackling the impact of the pandemic, and Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a 20 billion ringgit ($4.9 billion) stimulus package last month that included discounts on power bills, tax breaks and cash aid to the poor.The nation’s gross domestic product may expand 6% to 7.5% in 2021, Malaysia’s central bank said last month. That’s potentially slower than its earlier projection of 6.5%-7.5% growth, but still ahead of many of its neighbors.(Updates with details of issuance in second paragraph.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
The Bank of England is closing its cash distribution centre in Leeds while planning to establish a new northern hub in the city as part of a move to bolster its regional presence around the UK. - The number of British companies in significant financial distress has risen at the fastest rate in more than seven years, sparking warnings that "the dam of zombie businesses could be about to break" when government COVID-19 support comes to an end in the summer. - Plans to create a breakaway European Super League have collapsed after most of the football clubs involved said they would quit the controversial project.
The U.S. economy will grow at its fastest annual pace in decades this year and outperform most of its major peers, with the outlook upgraded sharply, but another COVID-19 surge was the biggest risk over the next three months, a Reuters poll showed. There was a new wave of optimism among economic forecasters predicting a boost to economic activity from the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief package already passed and also from U.S. President Joe Biden's proposed $2 trillion-plus infrastructure plan, according to the April 16-20 poll of over 100 economists. While the International Monetary Fund's latest projection of 6.4% expansion was slightly more optimistic than the poll consensus, about 15% of 105 economists predicted the economy would grow 7% or more this year, with the range of forecasts showing higher highs and higher lows compared with last month.