Standing in stark contrast with the previous two years of strong first-quarter issuance, global loan volumes in 1Q23 contracted to levels not seen for over a decade, reaching just USD 637bn – a marked fall from an average of USD 930bn in the same period over the previous 10 years. While the Americas recorded one lower quarter in the past decade (3Q20), the totals in EMEA and Asia-Pacific were their weakest since 2009 and 2005, respectively.
Historically, the end of the quarter has seen a bounce in issuance, but 1Q23 closed on a sour note, with financial markets rocking in the US on news of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and in Europe, as the Swiss government pushed through the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS. In Asia, a brighter picture painted by China’s higher GDP growth than the rest of the world has yet to manifest in increasing activity in the loan market.
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