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Initial public offering (IPO) activity for the first half of 2020 was gutted by the Covid-19 outbreak, but the market for new issues now appears to be stirring, according to a new report from Ernst & Young Global Ltd. (EY).

Global deal volume was slashed nearly in half in April and May this year, and deal value dropped by about two thirds (to just US$13.2 billion), compared with the same months in 2019, EY reported.

This, in turn, dragged down deal activity in the first half of 2020 by 19%, compared with the same period a year ago, and deal value was down 8% year-over-year to US$69.5 billion.

However, IPO activity actually ticked up year-to-date in the Asia-Pacific region, the firm noted, even while it was down everywhere else.

“The technology, industrials and health care sectors dominated in [the first half of 2020],” EY reported.

The first half of 2020 did finish strongly, with the market seeing a surge of deals in June.

“Although IPO activity declined in April and May 2020 because of the economy lockdown in most markets, we began to see a strong rebound in June,” said Paul Go, global IPO leader at EY.

This points to the prospect of a stronger deal pipeline for the second half of this year.

“Well-prepared companies, in the right sectors and business models, can successfully adjust during the pandemic, and will find the right window of opportunity amid turbulent capital markets for the rest of 2020,” Go said.

Looking at how the government is providing fiscal support and how central banks are ensuring liquidity in the financial system, EY said, “Both actions bode well for equity markets and IPO activity in [the second half of 2020].”