Initial Impact of COVID-19 on European Capital Markets | AFME

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Initial Impact of COVID-19 on European Capital Markets
21 Apr 2020
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Author Julio Suarez Director
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AFME has published a new research note on the “Initial impact of COVID-19 on Europe’s capital markets”.  The report analyses the significant impact that Covid-19 has had across all major capital markets sectors including: equities (IPOs and secondary), fixed income primary and secondary  (sovereigns, corporates, securitisation, high yield, leveraged finance), FX, derivatives, and banks. The report also highlights AFME’s initiatives to support markets during the COVID-19 crisis.  

Key findings:

  • European capital markets have continued to operate well following the outbreak of COVID-19, with liquidity ranging from very good to mixed, depending on the sector. In fact, there have been record volumes of new issuance in certain sectors. 
  • Issuance of investment grade corporate bonds surpassed EUR 50bn in the first week of April; this amount was also the highest weekly amount ever issued in Europe. French companies have been particularly active in this respect. This is remarkable, given that many, if not most, financial market participants are working remotely.
  • Markets are more volatile than a few months ago, which has made it costly for some companies to list through IPOs. IPO issuance on European exchanges has declined 83% compared to a year ago. 
  • Markets have been playing their role in providing liquidity, price formation, and timely clearing and settlement procedures, contributing to capital allocation and helping investors manage their portfolios. Equity average daily trading has surged 94% year on year in March-20, corporate bond trading increased 31% year on year in Q1 2020, and FX trading rose 61% year on year in March-20. The rapid increase in securities trading and post-trade activity has been carried out without any major disruption from a business continuity perspective.
  • Securitisation secondary markets have suffered disproportionate reductions in liquidity due to central bank support which is more limited in scope and slower and more difficult to access than for other fixed income sectors.  
  • Banks operating in Europe are well-positioned from a solvency and liquidity perspective to support households and businesses during this period of abnormal economic pressure.