The U.S. equity capital markets are the deepest and most liquid in the world, and as a result have been very attractive to foreign issuers for many years. The advent of globally integrated trading markets for equity securities has facilitated capital formation for foreign issuers, and underscored the value to foreign issuers of raising equity capital through registered offerings in the U.S. capital market. Equity offerings in the United States by foreign issuers dramatically increased throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s, but declined through 2003 as the U.S. economy experienced a recession, during which the U.S. equity markets remained depressed for U.S. domestic issuers as well.