Canada's equity, debt deals rise as firms try to ride out virus crisis

July 9 (Reuters) - Canada’s capital market saw a rise in equity and debt deals in the first half of 2020, as companies fortified their balance sheets to deal with the economic slump sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, but merger activity fell.

Equity market deals rose nearly 34% in the first six months of 2020 from a year earlier to about C$15.8 billion ($11.69 billion), according to Refinitiv data, as companies such as Shopify Inc and Air Canada raised cash.

Canadian companies also raised 67% more debt in the first half of the year, with total corporate debt touching C$158.6 billion, the data showed.

Mergers and acquisitions, however, fell about 63% to C$40 billion as the coronavirus crisis shuttered shops and factories and hammered demand for industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail.

$1 = 1.3516 Canadian dollars Reporting by Neha Malara; Editing by Aditya Soni