The European securitization market took many strides forward in 1999, a year that confirmed Europe's position as the world's most innovative market. Thanks to a final flurry in late November and early December overall issuance reached around $80 billion (including CLOs and CBOs), according to figures from Merrill Lynch & Co., well ahead of 1998's $60 billion.

On closer inspection the year was a tale of two halves, with the first half of the year seeing demand, supply and liquidity all abound, while the second six months saw liquidity tighten and spreads head out, not to return. While there were several reasons

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