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HSBC and Singapore Exchange Execute Successful $300M Digital Bond Issuance

Corporate bonds from Olam International – a major commodities supplier – were issued on SGX's digital asset platform.

Sep 1, 2020 at 12:36 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 14, 2021 at 9:50 a.m. UTC

One of Asia's first digital bonds has been piloted in Singapore – opening the door for more such issuances using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

  • International bank HSBC, Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek said Tuesday their pilot for the DLT-based bond – first mentioned in November – had been successful.
  • Per an announcement, S$400 million (around $294 million) worth of 5.5-year corporate bonds from Olam International – one of the world's largest coffee bean, rice and cotton suppliers – were issued on SGX's digital asset platform.
  • SGX said the pilot showed DLT could streamline issuances and minimize settlement risk in the Asian bond market.
  • The Asian Development Bank estimated in March that the region's local currency bond market was worth approximately $16 trillion last December, up 12.5% on the year before.
  • The digital bond used smart contracts to codify rights and obligations, as well as its maturity, into the bond itself.
  • An on-chain payments solution from HSBC was also used to facilitate settlement in multiple currencies, as well as to transfer funds to Olam International.
  • Olam, which is listed on SGX, has held back a further S$100 million (roughly US$74 million) in the digital bonds for issuance at a later date.
  • SGX plays host to one of Asia's largest bond markets and says it has issued over a $1 trillion in debt securities so far.
  • Lee Beng Hong, the SGX senior managing director responsible for the pilot, said the exchange is now moving to fully digitalize corporate bond issuances on its platform.
  • It's unclear whether other issuances are already in the pipeline.

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