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Widespread capital markets retreat marks 2022

Lucille Jones
Lucille Jones
Deals Intelligence Analyst

Global capital raisings retreated in 2022 across both equity and debt instruments. Widespread declines were driven notably by dramatic falls in U.S. equity issuance and U.S. high yield. Asian markets fared only a little better, while a few pockets of growth in EMEA could not disguise a wider sentiment of caution and concern.

  1. U.S. leads to decline in both equity and debt activity. And unlikely gainer is Middle Eastern IPOs, which is up 63 percent.
  2. High yield is out-of-favour.
  3. Asia local currency issuance benefits.

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It was a year to forget for capital markets professionals. After a ‘good’ crisis over the previous two years, when global liquidity came to the rescue of cash-constrained companies and governments, 2022 saw a sharp decline in capital raising.

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Just $488bn of equity was raised across global capital markets during the year, the lowest tally since 2003 and 62 percent down in 2021. The number of offerings fell by a more modest 39 percent to 4,450 – a ten-year low.

In addition, the direction of travel for equity capital remains negative, with the fourth quarter 14 percent down on Q3.

Losses were heaviest in the U.S., where proceeds fell 78 percent compared to 2021, to take a historically low 17 percent share of the total market.

Meanwhile, China, which itself suffered a 43 percent year-on-year fall in proceeds, nevertheless captured its largest-ever share of the pie, with 38 percent of 2022’s global ECM action.

IPOs take a hit

In a risk-off market, it is little surprise that IPOs took the biggest hit, with global IPOs down 64 percent to raise just $148bn.

What is more surprising is the geographic asymmetry of those IPOs declines. In the U.S., stock markets all but closed to new listings, with IPOs down 95 percent to raise just $8bn, the smallest number since 1990.

Europe also saw a big decline in new listings, down 84 percent to $14 billion, and heavily propped up by the $8.8 billion IPO of German car marque Porsche. China-domiciled IPOs had a comparatively busy year, raising $71bn.

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The Middle East entirely bucked the trend, with the value of IPOs in 2022 rising by more than two-thirds compared to 2021 – driven by a series of flotations on domestic exchanges.

Global declines were barely any less for follow-on offerings, which fell 61 percent to raise $271bn from 2,800 offerings globally, the slowest aggregate value since 2003. Here, EMEA saw a 66 percent fall in issuance to touch a 27-year low.

In terms of equity underwriters, CITIC has shot up from outside the top 10 just three years ago, to take the number one spot for proceeds in 2022, knocking Goldman Sachs into second place and JP Morgan to third.

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High yield and U.S. lead DCM declines

After a somewhat promising first quarter for global debt issuance, 2022 saw consistent quarterly declines, to end the year 19 percent down in 2021, raising a total of $8.3trn, just above the pre-pandemic year of 2019. The number of issuances fell a relatively modest 12 percent to 26,625. The quarterly DCM run rate is now below $2trn.

Financials, government and agencies accounted for 78 percent of the global debt issuance in 2022, up from 73 percent last year.

We saw steep falls in high-yield issuance, down 80 percent globally to a 14-year low to raise $133bn. Indeed, fourth quarter high yield issuance dropped below $20bn, the lowest level since the depths of the global financial crisis in early 2009, largely the result of the precipitous decline in high-yield activity in the U.S. for December.

In a flight to quality, investment-grade corporate debt fell a mere 13 percent to raise $4.1trn, albeit the slowest year since 2019.

There was a general retreat in debt issuance in terms of international bond offerings, which were down 30 percent to $3.6trn while emerging market corporate issuance fell 42 percent to $226bn.

One bright spot was Asia’s local currency debt, up 4 percent to $3.4trn, the strongest annual showing since records began in 1980, and driven, in particular, by a 14 percent increase in China Yuan offerings.

In terms of league tables, JP Morgan retained the top spot in a shrinking market, while BofA Securities swapped positions with Citi, to take second and third place respectively.

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