(Bloomberg) -- Australian companies are hitting pause on expansion plans and putting deals and major projects on hold due to market uncertainty sparked by global banking turmoil, according to ANZ Group Holdings Ltd.

Mark Whelan, head of the institutional banking unit at Melbourne-based ANZ, said some buyers are holding out for asset prices to fall before doing mergers and acquisitions they had targeted earlier in the year. He also singled out the property sector as one where developments have stalled.

“We saw a really strong pipeline of potential M&A in the early part of the year, around January when the markets were calmer,” Whelan said in a Bloomberg Television interview on Friday. “But what we have seen with a lot of those is they have just taken a step back on that.”

Read more on Australian banks’ response to the turmoil

M&A in Australia and New Zealand is down about 40% so far this year to $27.6 billion compared with a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Whelan also said lending conditions are tightening and credit is becoming harder to get, but he doesn’t expect that to become a major issue. ANZ found investors receptive to bond sales in Australia and Europe this week, although the pricing was about 5 basis points higher than before the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank earlier this month.

--With assistance from Yvonne Man and Harry Brumpton.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.