ICMA publishes a fourth edition of The Asian International Bond Markets: Developments and Trends report


26 March 2024 ICMA, with support from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, is pleased to announce the release of the fourth edition of its highly anticipated report, The Asian International Bond Markets: Development and Trends.

Download the report here:

English version     Chinese version

Amidst global challenges such as fluctuating interest rates, geopolitical tensions, and credit events in the Chinese sector, the Asian international bond markets have demonstrated resilience and adaptability. The report sheds light on the stability of these markets and their ability to navigate through turbulent times.

Key findings from the report reveal that the annual issuance of cross-border bonds from Asia stabilised, with approximately USD 380 billion in 2023, compared to USD 370 billion in 2022. To secure funding, Asian issuers turned to alternative sources such as domestic bond markets, bank loan markets, and private debt markets.

The China offshore market, while still influential, experienced a decline in its overall market share. Challenges within the Chinese property sector have affected spreads and liquidity. However, the central bank's supportive measures have contributed to improved stability towards the end of 2023.

Examining various markets across Asia, including China, India, ASEAN, Japan, and South Korea, the report identifies trends in both issuance and trading of international bonds in the region. Notably, Japan accounted for 30% of Asian international issuance volume in 2023, making it the largest overall source, followed by China and South Korea at 28% and 15%, respectively. Collectively, these three jurisdictions accounted for three-quarters of the entire cross-border Asian bond market.

The Green, Social, Sustainability, and Sustainability-linked bonds markets, which have now become a significant component of the international bond markets, accounted for approximately 21% of all annual international bond issuance volume in Asia, nearly twice the global average of 12%.

While the secondary markets in 2023 continued the rather subdued trend observed in 2022, characterised by higher yields and wider credit spreads, the last quarter of 2023 witnessed a positive reversal in Asia bond markets, mirroring global trends, particularly for investment-grade bonds.

The report also emphasises the deepening liquidity in the repo market for Asia international bonds. More lenders have entered the market, providing greater access for dealers to specific bonds. Factors contributing to this development include higher rates, which have created opportunities for lending specials, increased market volatility, and a demand to cover short positions.

Despite the challenges faced in recent years, market participants anticipate a potential recovery in 2024. The role of China remains critical, with the market hoping that the People's Bank of China can stabilise the property sector while stimulating economic growth. Additionally, the lower US yields may attract more Asian corporates to re-enter the international market.

ICMA Chief Executive Bryan Pascoe remarked, "Asian financial centres continue to play a significant role in the development of international bond markets, despite the macroeconomic headwinds experienced in 2023. Beyond the headline figures, we see foundational work in digitalisation that should drive strong growth."

ICMA Zurich
T: +41 44 363 4222
Dreikönigstrasse 8
8002 Zurich

ICMA London
T: +44 20 7213 0310
110 Cannon Street
London EC4N 6EU
ICMA Paris
T: +33 1 8375 6613
25 rue du Quatre Septembre
75002 Paris

ICMA Brussels
T: +32 2 801 13 88
Avenue des Arts 56
1000 Brussels
ICMA Hong Kong
T: +852 2531 6592
Unit 3603, Tower 2
Lippo Centre
89 Queensway, Admiralty
Hong Kong
info@icmagroup.org (general enquiries)
education@icmagroup.org (education enquiries)
sustainabilitybonds@icmagroup.org (sustainable finance)
Copyright © 2024 International Capital Market Association.