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MAS proposes further capital market collaborations with China through green finance

22 Jun 2020

Ravi Menon, Managing Director, Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), on Thursday (18 June) in his panel remarks at the Shanghai and Singapore: Financial Centre Partnership forum suggested the two countries work together to harness the power of finance to promote a greener, more sustainable economy.

Singapore as the largest offshore centre for Renminbi (RMB) deposits and RMB trade finance and second largest for RMB foreign exchange trading, outside Greater China is well positioned with solid links between both capital markets, he explained.

Both China and Singapore are committed to meeting their sustainability goals under the Paris Agreement, and both countries have embarked on ambitious green finance agendas, noted Menon.

China issued a Green Industry Guiding Catalogue last year to harmonise differing standards for green activities, and is in the process of updating its taxonomy on green bonds to align with international practices, he said.

Singapore in turn, has launched a Green Finance Action Plan last year, built on three core pillars:

  • building the financial industry’s resilience against environmental risks;
  • developing green financial products and solutions; and
  • leveraging technology to support the development of green finance.

The recovery of both economies from the COVID-19 pandemic is a good opportunity to collaborate on promoting green finance in the region, suggested Menon. 

He stated that such endeavours are already happening where in April 2019, ICBC Singapore worked with DBS and other global banks to jointly issue its first Belt and Road green bond, sized at USD2.2 billion, and more recently issued its first green loan in Singapore, through a partnership with DBS and OCBC.

Menon further suggested the following endeavours as scope for Singaporean and Chinese financial centres to deepen its partnership in green finance:

  • Creating frameworks for green and sustainability-linked loans customised for Chinese and Singaporean small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • Apply innovative FinTech solutions to promote green finance. Some examples include:
    • the Sustainable Digital Finance Alliance’s (SDFA) (founded by China’s Alibaba Ant Financial and UNEP) efforts to engage the FinTech community on applying digital technology to promote green finance – such as the digitisation of green bonds. 
    • MAS’ annual Global FinTech Hackcelerator is another platform through which financial institutions and FinTech firms in Shanghai and Singapore can collaborate on innovative green finance solutions.

As a first step , Menon also invited Shanghai FinTech firms and financial institutions to participate in the Singapore FinTech Festival this November.

“Strengthening the partnership between Shanghai and Singapore will bring broader benefits to our economies, and together with other financial centres such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Sydney, create a more vibrant financial ecosystem across Asia,” concluded Menon. 

The Asia Pacific Exchange (APEX), a commodities derivatives exchange in Singapore, is collaborating with the Shanghai International Energy Exchange (INE) to attract more international institutional investors to China’s commodity derivatives markets.

A transcript of Menon’s address at the forum is available here.

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Photo credit:
World Economic Forum
Published: 22 June, 2020

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