The World Federation of Exchanges publishes 2018 Full Year Market Highlights

Published by: The WFE Statistics Team Feb 2019

The World Federation of Exchanges (“WFE”) has published its 2018 Full Year Market Highlights report.

Global stock markets had a turbulent year in 2018. Volatility made a come-back, breaking the spell of stable markets in 2017. The return of volatility was against the backdrop of a global economic slowdown, geopolitical and trade tensions, concerns about tightening monetary policy, and increased scrutiny of the technology sector.  While the year began on a high note, with domestic market capitalisation scaling record levels in markets across the globe, by the end of the year, there were significant declines in market valuations when compared to the beginning of 2018. In the presence of such high volatility, trading activity was up on 2017; however, overall primary market activity saw a slowdown, with a decline in overall IPO listings and investment flows.

KEY HIGHLIGHTS: 

  • Global domestic market capitalisation was down 14.9% on end 2017.
  • Value and volume of trades in equity shares were up 15.4% and 11.5% respectively on 2017.
  • New listings through IPOs and investment flows through IPOs were down 14.5% and 12.1% on 2017.
  • Exchange traded derivatives volumes were up 19.3% on 2017, driven by increases in volumes traded across all product types except commodity futures.  

Nandini Sukumar, CEO, WFE commented on the report, saying: “2018 marked the year of a return to volatility, a trend observed by the WFE in our half year market highlights report in August 2018. This set the tone for the remainder of the year, with stock markets across the world reflecting the ongoing uncertainties of the global geopolitical landscape right through to the end of 2018. This can be seen most clearly in the dip in global market capitalisation, which closed out the year almost 15% down vs 2017, the first time since 2014 that this indicator has shown a decline.

“In the face of increased global risk, combined with an environment of monetary policy uncertainty and high volatility in both equity and currency markets, it is not surprising to see more investors using derivatives for hedging risk, resulting in strong volumes of equity, currency and interest rate derivatives, all of which were higher in 2018 than in 2017. Finally, another trend we saw at the half year for IPOs also held true for the rest of the year, with the Americas posting a 37.3% increase in new listings for 2018 (led primarily by healthcare, technology and financial sector IPOs), in contrast to declines in Asia-Pacific (-22.7%) and EMEA (-22%).”

According to the WFE’s full-year statistics, the key trends of 2018 when compared to 2017 were as follows:

  • Global market capitalisation at end 2018 was down 14.9% on 2017.
    • This was due to declines across all three regions: the Americas region was down 6.3%, Asia-Pacific was down 23.8%, and the EMEA region was down 16.5%.
    • This is the first time in the five-year period since 2014 that there was a year-on-year decline in overall domestic market capitalisation.
    • Unlike 2017 when domestic market capitalisation increased consistently month-on-month, in 2018 the market was more volatile. As a result, the average monthly growth rate in market capitalisation in 2018 was -1.6% as compared to +1.6% in 2017.
    • While domestic market capitalisation soared to record high levels in January 2018 in markets across the globe (a 25.9% increase on January 2017), there were significant declines in market valuations in the months of February, October and December 2018. Due to the declines in Q4 2018, overall domestic market capitalisation fell from $87.3 trillion as at end Q3 2018 to $74.4 trillion as at end Q4 2018 (a QoQ decline of 14.8%). Of the twelve months in 2018, all three regions recorded their lowest overall domestic market capitalisation at end December 2018.

  • There was a marginal decline of 0.3% in the number of listed companies.
    • A 1.1% increase in the number of listed companies in the Americas was offset by a 1.9% decline in the EMEA region.
    • In the Asia-Pacific region the total number of listed companies was unchanged, although there were changes in the number of companies listed across exchanges.

  • Value and volume of trades in equity shares were up 15.4% and 11.5% respectively on 2017.
    • The uptick in value traded was driven by increases in the Americas region (30.4%) and the EMEA region (11.1%). In Asia-Pacific volume traded was down (3.6%).
    • The increase in volume traded was driven by increases across all three regions: the Americas region was up 19.4%, the Asia-Pacific region was up 7.9%, and the EMEA region was up 10%.
    • Of the four quarters in 2018, value traded was highest in Q1 2018, while volume traded was the highest in Q4 2018.

  • Overall new listings and investment flows on exchanges were down on 2017.
    • New listings through IPOs were down 14.5% on 2017. This was due to a decline in the number of IPOs in the Asia-Pacific (-22.7%) and EMEA (-22%) regions. Only the Americas saw an increase (37.3%) in the number of IPOs on 2017.
    • Investment flows through IPOs fell by 12.1% on 2017. This was due to a decline in investment flows in Asia-Pacific (-12.6%) and EMEA (-28.4%). Only the Americas recorded an increase in investment flows of 6.3%. 
      • IPO listings and investment flows in the Americas region were up despite uncertainty in the region driven by market volatility and geopolitical uncertainties. The healthcare, technology and financial sector accounted for the highest share of listings, led by companies such as AXA Equitable (NYSE), Moderna (Nasdaq) and Fibra E - Grupo Aeroportuario (Bolsa Mexicana de Valores) coming to market.
      • Despite recording a decline in overall listings and investment flows, the Asia-Pacific region accounted for over 50% of global IPO listings (60.2%) and investment flows (50.8%). Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) recorded the highest number of IPOs globally due to a surge in the number of technology companies coming to market. Some major IPOs in the region were SoftBank (Japan Exchange Group), China Tower (HKEX), Thailand Future Fund (Stock Exchange of Thailand) and Foxconn Industrial Internet (Shenzhen Stock Exchange). Performance across the region was mixed. Despite increases in listings and investment flows at some exchanges such as HKEX and Taiwan Stock Exchange, these were offset by declines in other markets in the region.
      • In the EMEA region, listings and investment flows fell in the presence of uncertainty stemming from Brexit negotiations, trade tensions, volatility in oil prices and economic instability in some markets. In Europe listings and investment flows fell on most markets except Deutsche Börse and Euronext. The region saw some mega-IPOs, however, namely Aston Martin Lagonda (LSEG), Siemens Healthineers (Deutsche Börse) and SIG Combibloc (SIX Swiss Exchange). In the Middle East and Africa, IPO listings and investment flows fell on most markets.
    • Other non-IPO listings were down 23.3% on 2017. This was entirely due to a 60.9% decline in the number of non-IPO listings in the EMEA region. In the Americas and Asia-Pacific regions, non-IPO listings were up 1% and 12.9% respectively.
    • Investment flows through already listed companies declined by 27.5%. This was due to a decline in investment flows across all three regions: a 14.8% decline in the Americas region, a 26.1% decline in the Asia-Pacific region, and a 37.6% decline in the EMEA region.

  • Value and volumes of trades in ETFs were up on 2017.
    • Value of trades in ETFs was up 33.4% on 2017, driven by increases in all except the EMEA region (-28.8%). Value traded was up 36.1% in the Americas and up 48% in Asia-Pacific.
    • Number of trades in ETFs was up 45.8% due to increases in volumes across all regions: the Americas region was up 39.6%, Asia-Pacific was up 90.2%, and the EMEA region was up 20.6%.
    • Across the four quarters, overall volume and value of ETFs traded was the highest in Q4 2018.

  • Exchange traded derivatives volumes were up 19.3% on 2017, driven by increases in volumes traded across all product types except commodity futures. In an environment of monetary policy uncertainty and high volatility in equity and currency markets, volumes of equity, currency and interest rate derivatives were higher in 2018 than in 2017. 
    • Single stock options volumes were up 14.5% on 2017. While in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions volumes were up 18.5% and 19.1% respectively, in the EMEA region volumes fell by 16.6%.
    • Single stock futures volumes recorded a 43.2% increase on 2017. This was due to increases in the Asia-Pacific (51.7%) and EMEA regions (33.4%), where over 99% of the global volumes are traded.
    • Stock index options volumes were up 34.2%, driven by increases in volumes traded across all the three regions – the Americas region was up 15.4%, the Asia-Pacific region was up 45.6%, and the EMEA region was up 9.6%.
    • Stock index futures volumes were up 37.6%. All three regions recorded an increase in volumes on 2017 – the Americas region was up 55.4%, the Asia-Pacific region was up 34.2%, and the EMEA region was up 19% on 2017.
    • ETF derivatives volumes traded were up 16.3%, driven by a 16.4% increase in the Americas region where over 99% of the volumes are traded.
    • Currency options and futures volumes were up 41.8% and 23.7% respectively. The increase in the volumes of currency options was driven by the Asia-Pacific region (up 47.9%) where the bulk of the volumes are traded. Currency futures volumes were driven up by increases in volumes in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific regions, up 14.6% and 65.9% respectively.
    • Interest rate options and futures volumes were up 13.2% and 9.7% respectively on 2017. Interest rate options volumes were driven by increases in the Americas (13.9%) and EMEA (10.9%) where over 99% of the volume is traded. The increase in volumes of interest rate futures was almost entirely driven by an 10.5% increase in the EMEA region where over 93.7% of the volume is traded.
    • Volumes of commodity futures, which account for 96% of the volumes of commodity derivatives, fell by 0.6% while commodity options volumes were up 10.9% on 2017. Commodity futures, which account for 95.7% of commodity derivatives volumes, saw marginal changes in volumes traded in the three regions when compared to 2017: the Americas region was down -0.1%, the Asia-Pacific region down -1.1% and the EMEA region up 0.2%.

      You can read the full report here.