London Money raised on global equity capital markets so far this year is at a seven-year low, with June set to see the least amount of activity on record.
The news, which coincides with what industry insiders have called "abysmal" initial public offering volumes, underscores the growing reluctance among companies to raise money under current market conditions.
Companies have raised a total of $285.6 billion (Dh1.05 trillion) through 1,968 deals in the first half of this year, the lowest first half amount since 2005, according to preliminary figures from Dealogic.
Equity raised in the month of June is set to fall to a record low of $25.7 billion through 195 deals, according to data going back 20 years.
Article continues below
"Right now macro [economic] events appear to be the sole driver of equity prices," Viswas Raghavan, global head of ECM at JPMorgan, said.
"It is pretty tough because you're seeing high correlation in the market with share prices all moving together, almost indifferent to any single stock news flow... That puts a lot of conviction buyers on the sidelines," he added.
Volumes from equity issuance picked up at the start of the year, mimicking a broader rally across markets. The momentum has since slowed, however, as concerns about the Eurozone crisis have unnerved markets.
In May, global equities had their worst month since September 2011, as investors pulled out money and put it into "core" government bonds, sending benchmark yields in the US, UK and Germany to historic lows.
While deal activity slowed overall, volumes from so-called accelerated offerings picked up, and accounted for nearly half of all ECM volume this year.
This process, which involves offering shares within a narrow time window and often without any marketing, has become popular because it allows companies to take advantage of brief rallies in the market.
Fees from accelerated deals are significantly smaller, however, impinging on already declining revenues for the investment banking industry.
As a result, global ECM revenues have fallen 42 per cent year-on-year to $6.3 billion, the lowest since 2003.
"Accelerated bookbuilds are a product of opportunism, and so when the market rallies hard, you'll see vendors try to take advantage," said Craig Coben, head of equity capital markets origination at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
"But the amount of work required for a documented transaction, such as an IPO or rights issue, is going to be a lot more than for an accelerated deal," Coben added.
With much of the deal-making activity revolving around small deals, banks are increasingly going "elephant hunting", looking for the next big deal.
June is set to be the first month on record that no European initial public offering has raised more than $100 million, casting a shadow over prospects for the rest of the year.