business documents on office table with smart phone and laptop computer and graph business with social network diagram and man working in the background
© everythingpossible / 123RF Stock Photo

Global debt issuance held up in the first half, but global equity market activity dropped, according to new data from Refinitiv.

Equity issuance tumbled to a three-year low in the first half, with new issue activity totalling $307.1 billion (all figures in U.S. dollars). This represented a 25% decline from the same period a year ago. The volume of deals was also down 23% year over year.

Within the weak first half, the second quarter rebounded notably from a weak first quarter. Deal volume jumped by 39% quarter over quarter, and Q2 finished as the strongest quarter in the past 12 months.

Refinitiv also reported that global initial public offering (IPO) activity came in at just $67.2 billion in the first half, down by 33% from last year.

By sector, the financial and tech sectors led the equity issuance in the first half, accounting for 18% of new issuance each. The real estate, healthcare and industrials sectors rounded out the top five.

Goldman Sachs led the overall equity underwriting league tables, followed by Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

RBC Capital Markets was the top ranking Canadian firm, taking 10th spot in the global league tables, up one notch from 11th place in 2018.

On the debt side, global issuance held up much better. Refinitiv reported that global debt activity totalled $3.9 trillion during the first half, up by 2% compared to the first half of 2018.

The green bond market was particularly strong in the first half, jumping by 25% from the first half of 2018, to $85.5 billion.

The top underwriter for the global debt and syndicated loan market in the first half was JP Morgan, followed by BofA Merrill Lynch and Citi.

Again, RBC was the highest ranked Canadian firm, in 13th place globally. TD Securities ranked 17th, with Scotiabank and BMO Capital Markets also showing up in the top 25.