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Canadian equity issuance and debt market activity dropped in the first quarter, according to the latest data from Refinitiv.

In the first quarter, equity underwriting activity fell to its lowest level since the height of the financial crisis, the firm reported.

Compared with the same quarter last year, equity issuance tumbled by 81% to just $3.9 billion in 76 deals — the lowest quarterly deal value since the third quarter of 2008.

Refinitiv reported that deal activity dropped in all major categories, with initial public offerings (IPOs) down 97% from the first quarter of 2021, secondary offerings down by 78%, and retail structured products falling 57%.

BMO Capital Markets led the overall equity league tables, as it ranked first in secondary offerings and common stock deals, the firm said.

TD Securities Inc. placed second overall, followed by RBC Capital Markets, CIBC World Markets and Scotiabank.

CIBC ranked first in retail structured products, while the deeply-depressed IPO market was led by a host of newcomers to the top of the standings, including Boustead Securities LLC, PI Financial and Sprott Inc.

The debt market also slumped in the first quarter, although not nearly as deeply as the equity underwriting business.

According to Refinitiv, in Q1 debt market activity declined by 15% from the same quarter a year ago to $55.2 billion.

Corporate debt issuance was down 27% from the first quarter of 2021, and down 38% from the prior quarter, it noted.

Government debt activity held up better, declining just 4% from the same quarter a year ago.

RBC led the overall debt league tables, followed by National Bank Financial (NBF), and TDSI.