NZX trading activity grew by more than a third in November from a year earlier as the stock market operator's efforts to drive trading through the bourse stoked a greater number of lower value transactions.

Total trades rose 35 per cent to 295,112 in November from the same month a year earlier, and were up from 269,868 in October, NZX's monthly shareholder metrics show.

However, the total value dropped 43 per cent to $3.16 billion from November 2017 due to the rising number of smaller transactions. The prior period included a record trading day for the NZX, although it was in line with the $3.1b traded in October.

NZX has made it a priority to shift more activity on to the formal market as a means of improving price transparency and driving greater liquidity in listed securities. That includes a new pricing structure designed to encourage more activity, updated listing rules, and consolidating the three equity boards into one.


So far the trend has moved in the right direction with on-market activity amounting to 50.3 per cent of value traded in November, up from 42 per cent in 2017 and 37 per cent the year before.

The size of transactions has shrunk with the increased use of algorithmic trading, with with the average on-market trade size of $8,610 in November, down 47 per cent from the same month a year earlier.

The equity market still dominates NZX trading, with 290,956 transactions for a $3.02b value. Of that, 51.2 per cent was done on market. NZX data shows of the top five equities traded in November, just 27.5 per cent of the value of Fletcher Building trading was on-market, compared to A2 Milk's 58 per cent, Spark New Zealand's 59.8 per cent, Z Energy's 40.7 per cent and Fisher & Paykel Healthcare's 46.6 per cent.

The metrics show 3,156 debt transactions worth $149 million in November, of which 94.2 per cent were on-market. In the year-to-date, the number of trades was up 60 per cent at 3.01 million, while the value traded was down 13 per cent at $35.73b. Of that, 53.1 per cent of value was traded on-market.

New equity listings remained non-existent in November, although $951m of new debt was added to the NZX as corporates continue to find the listed debt market an attractive alternative to bank funding.

So far this year, just $20m of new capital has been listed through a compliance listing compared to $4.3b of new debt. The $1m Carbon Fund listed in November.

Secondary market capital raisings have been busy, with $271m of new debt and equity raised in November, taking the year-to-date tally to $4.27b. Of that, $1.4b has come from New Zealand issuers, $668m from dual or foreign issuers, $777m from domestic funds, $174m from dual or foreign funds, and $1.25b of debt.

NZX had 310 listed securities at the end of November, up 3.3 per cent from a year earlier, due largely to a 15 per cent increase in debt securities to 132. Equity securities were down 5.5 per cent at 138.


The market's equity capitalisation was $133.95b, or 46.3 per cent of GDP, at the end of November, up 2.1 per cent from a year earlier, while the value of debt rose 12 per cent to $30.51b, or 10.5 per cent of GDP.

The benchmark S&P/NZX 50 index ended November at 8,824, up 7.8 per cent from a year earlier. It was recently at 8,793.99.

The stock market operator's derivatives futures market posted a 16 per cent increase in total lots traded at 24,791 in November from a year earlier, while options more than doubled to 6,700. Open interest increased 28 per cent to 62,756.

Professional wholesale data terminals declined 1.3 per cent to 5,995 from a year earlier, while retail terminal numbers increased 3.2 per cent to 1,308. Dairy data subscriptions rose 24 per cent to 961.

NZX shares were unchanged at $1.02, down 7.7 per cent so far this year.