About $25.3 billion in social and sustainable bonds were issued in the first quarter, according to data from Moody's, with an additional $12.2 billion issued from March 31 to April 17. The surge was driven mostly by multilateral development bank efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank's $8 billion April 15 issuance of sustainability-focused debt was the largest of such offers, followed by the African Development Bank's $3 billion social bond. The debt issued by the World Bank was the largest ever dollar-denominated bond issued by a supranational entity.
Multilateral development banks were the chief issuers of the two bond groups, as they move to fund efforts to combat the pandemic.