Can issuers avoid the ESG heat with private bond sales?
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Can issuers avoid the ESG heat with private bond sales?

— Hungary, its investors and their ESG worries — The digital bond markets take a step forward — Aroundtown drama fails to cool hot hybrid market

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban attends the inauguration of Mindszentyneum during the celebrations of the 66th anniversary of the Hungarian Uprising of 1956, in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, October 23, 2022. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Hungary came to the markets this week with a privately placed increase of a dollar bond. Along with recent green bonds from the issuer, the response from some in the market was that the issuer was doing funding this way to avoid scrutiny over its standards of governance.

The country is in an escalating dispute with the EU over allowing the primacy of the rule of law, as bloc membership demands.

The European Commission has recommended freezing disbursement of funds to the country unless it makes certain reforms. If Europe's Council of Ministers votes in favour of the freeze, Hungary will be more reliant on capital markets.

We look at investors’ observations of what they think Hungary is doing and ask whether they are fair. We also discuss Hungary’s response — both to the Commission and to those investors.

We also look at the latest digital bond from the European Investment Bank — what advancements were made, what the benefits are, where digital bond issuance is headed and what could stop it from getting there.

And as the Santa rally that we first discussed two weeks ago runs on and on, we take a look at the rampant market for hybrid corporate debt and how it appeared to reach a new level of sophistication this week.

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