BarCap top of debt league in first-quarter

BARCLAY’S Capital has topped a list of global banks for handling the highest value of debt capital for the first-quarter of this year.

The British investment bank handled the raising of $128.6bn (£79.7bn) through debt instruments over the first three months of 2011, according to Thomson Reuter’s global league table. The lender knocked Bank of America Merrill Lynch off the top spot, after placing second over the same period a year earlier.

Barclays boosted its position through the issuance of several large sovereign bond issuances, including a €6bn (£5.3bn) bond issuance for the Spanish government and a €3.5bn Portuguese bond.

However, the lender did not make as much in fees as its peers, due to the number of sovereign deals – which typically incur lower fees.

Barclays raked in an estimated $358.7m over the first quarter, whilst JP Morgan topped all other underwriters with an estimated $469.2m. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank also made more than Barclays.

Meanwhile, high yield debt issuance hit an all time first-quarter record of $100.4bn, as investor appetite for risk-laden bonds improves.

The sum is just shy of the largest ever quarterly volume of $104.2bn, hit during the final quarter of last year.

Corporates are returning to bond markets to raise capital, as the global economy stabilises.