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Chris Hughes

Some Bankers Are Doing Even Worse Than in 2009

The number of IPOs and share placements has fallen sharply in January and February. This may be technical and temporary, but don’t count on it. 

There have been fewer IPOs so far in 2019 than there were in the same period in 2009. That may be a worrying sign.

There have been fewer IPOs so far in 2019 than there were in the same period in 2009. That may be a worrying sign.

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

It may not feel like it, but some corners of banking are suffering as badly as they did during the depths of the financial crisis. Global volumes of initial public offerings and share placings in January and February have been nearly 60 percent lower than in the same period last year. The numbers are worse than the first two months of 2009. If activity doesn’t pick up soon, it would be worrying evidence of the fragility of investor sentiment.

The hope is that the lull is temporary, and technical. The government shutdown in Washington has gummed up U.S. IPOs. Uncertainty over the U.K.’s future relationship with Europe just drags on. And the December stock-market wobble probably killed off deals that were being planned for the window that traditionally opens between January and the start of the full-year earnings season in late February.