World map with chart whooping ETF growth over time / MicroStockHub

Amid a surge in market turmoil, global equity issuance is at a 19-year low through the first nine months of 2022, according to data from Refinitiv.

In a new report, the financial data firm said that global equity activity is down by 62% so far this year, with aggregate issuance of US$369.1 billion in the first nine months of the year — which represents the weakest level since 2003.

Global initial public offering activity is down by 63% to US$114.9 billion, and secondary offerings are off by 60% to US$207.9 billion during the first nine months.

The volume of equity offerings is also down by 42% year over year, Refinitiv said, noting that this is a nine-year low.

Debt market activity is weaker too this year, albeit not nearly as dramatically as equities.

Refinitiv reported that total debt issuance is 17% lower through the first nine months of the year to US$6.7 trillion, and the volume of debt deals is down by 11% year over year.

High-yield debt has been hit particularly hard, with issuance in that sector down by 80% year over year. Investment grade corporate debt issuance has held up much better, but is still down by 9% from last year; green bond issuance is down by 14%.

For the third quarter alone, debt issuance dropped by 23% from the previous quarter — but equity activity enjoyed a modest increase, rising 6% from the previous quarter, the report said.

JP Morgan continued to lead in debt underwriting, followed by BofA Securities, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Barclays. Among Canadian firms, RBC Capital Markets (19th) and TD Securities (25th) were the only firms in the top 25 globally.

On the equity side, Goldman Sachs remained the top underwriter, but two Chinese firms cracked the top five: CITIC (second) and China International Capital Inc. (third). This reflected the greater share of equity activity in Asia this year. JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley rounded out the top five.

RBC was the only Canadian firm ranked in the top 25 of the global equity league tables, up one spot this year to 17th place.