Editor's letter: Snakes and ladders
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Editor's letter: Snakes and ladders

Southeast Asia is driving increased equity market activity within the region, but it’s a different game further north.

Vintage Antique Snakes and Ladders Board Game
Photo: iStock

For investment bankers in deal-starved parts of the world, the volume of activity across Asia Pacific this year must be a source of grudging envy.

But the good news is not universal. There may have been more IPOs in southeast Asia in the first six months of 2023 than in the equivalent period of any of the previous five years, but across the whole Asia-Pacific region, the number of IPOs fell 2% year on year, while total proceeds fell an eye-watering 40%.

Southeast Asia is driving equity market activity within the region by some margin. The number of IPOs in these countries has jumped 26% to 82 so far in 2023, up from 65 during the same period in 2022. And the value of those deals was 31% higher year on year, at $3.3 billion.

It is no surprise that Indonesia leads the pack, with the electric-vehicle theme driving a surge of activity in the country. Despite political turmoil, Thailand is the second most active market, followed by Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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