As 2008 ends, consider yet another indication that this was a terrible year for financial markets: there has been only one IPO in the US in the last four months according to IPO research firm Renaissance Capital. The U.S. total for 2008 was 43 new issues raising $50 million or more, which makes this the slowest year since 1979 and represents an 84% decline in the number of deals from 2007.

Of the IPOs that did make it to market, performance was not good. 58% percent of new issues in the U.S. traded down on their first day. 84% of global IPOs finished the year below their offer price.

And while it is true the rest of the world’s markets are also hurting (global IPO proceeds fell 69% compared to last year) the data indicates a disturbing trend that non-US markets may be more receptive to IPOs. The largest deal of the year was easily Visa in the U.S. at close to $18 billion, but the next 14 largest deals were on non-U.S. exchanges, including 3 in Saudi Arabia and several in the Asia-Pacific region.

The global IPO decline is directly linked to the absence of cheap credit and investors in general looking for less risky endeavors. The U.S. decline is also likely a result of increased regulation costs and increased competition with emerging markets that can still show significant growth.