Modern office building close up in sunlight

As market volatility spiked, global equity issuance plunged in the first half of 2022, according to new data from Refinitiv.

Total equity issuance dropped by 67% in the first half, compared with the same period a year ago, the firm reported.

First half issuance totalled US$237 billion, which marked the weakest start to a year since 2005, before the global financial crisis.

Alongside the plunge in value, the volume of equity underwritings also dropped 48% year over year to a 10-year low, Refinitiv reported.

In the second quarter, global issuance declined 10% compared to the first quarter of this year, and the volume of issuance dropped below 1,000 offerings for the first time since the pandemic hit in the first quarter of 2020.

All sorts of deal activity dropped in the first half. Global initial public offering activity was down 67%, secondary offerings were down 63%, and convertible offerings were down by 76% compared to a year ago.

While Goldman Sachs continued to lead the global equity league tables, China’s CITIC Securities Co. Ltd. jumped to second place from seventh last year.

Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan ranked third and fourth, respectively, with China Securities Co. Ltd. taking fifth place, up from 18th spot last year.

RBC Capital Markets was the only Canadian firm in the top 25, slipping to 21st place from 17th spot in 2021.

While global equity activity plunged in the first half, debt markets slipped more modestly. Refinitiv reported that total debt issuance was down 14% in the first half to US$4.8 trillion, and the volume of debt deals slipped by 7% year over year.

In the second quarter, debt issuance declined 19% compared to the first quarter of this year, and the volume of deals was down 5% from the prior quarter.

For the first half, investment-grade corporate debt offerings were down by about 7%, but global high yield activity plunged by 78% from last year to its lowest level since 2009, Refinitiv reported.

The global debt underwriter rankings were more stable than the equity league tables. JP Morgan continued to lead the global debt league tables. BofA Securities ranked second, followed by Citi, Goldman Sachs and Barclays.

Again, RBC was the only Canadian firm in the top 25 globally. It ranked 19th overall, down from 12th place last year.