(Bloomberg) -- Banks are getting an earnings boost from underwriting fees as companies sell debt in the US at a record pace.

The issuance spree helped to generate $699 million of debt-underwriting revenue for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in the first quarter, a nearly 40% jump from a year earlier, contributing to its stronger-than-expected earnings.

Rival Citigroup Inc.’s profits — released on Friday — were fueled in part by the surge in corporate borrowing. JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s investment-banking fees jumped 21%, while Wells Fargo & Co.’s revenue topped estimates due to an increase in investment advisory fees and brokerage commissions.

The pace of debt sales quickened this year as the market dialed back expectations for interest-rate cuts from the Federal Reserve, giving corporations a strong incentive to tap the market in case the presidential election sows uncertainty in markets. At the same time, merger activity has picked up and corporate risk spreads have tumbled as the strength of the economy eases once-widespread worries about a potential rise in defaults. 

Companies borrowed a record $573.7 billion so far this year through Friday, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The six largest US banks — including Bank of America Corp. and Morgan Stanley — are the top underwriters of corporate bonds, the rankings show. Companies of all sizes need to raise capital, according to Goldman Chief Executive Officer David Solomon.

“Tighter spreads have contributed to a constructive issuance environment,” Solomon said during an earnings call Monday.

The boost may be short lived, given the likelihood that the pace will slow in coming months. That’s because many companies moved up the timing of their issuance to seize on the current market conditions. 

“While we’re encouraged by the level of capital markets activity we saw this quarter, we need to be mindful that some meaningful portion of that is likely pulling forward from later in the year,” JPMorgan Chief Financial Officer Jeremy Barnum said during the bank’s earnings call Friday.

It remains to be seen whether the positive momentum in mergers and acquisitions will continue and the advisory business “still faces structural headwinds from the regulatory environment,” he added.

Wells Fargo Chief Financial Officer Mike Santomassimo also attributed the high issuance volumes in the high-grade market to companies likely pulling issuance forward. 

That indicates sales may fall in second half of the year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Arnold Kakuda. “With the potential for volatility to pick up with increased geopolitical risk, the corporate bond markets may not be as open as it is now,” he said.

Goldman’s Solomon, meanwhile, said he expects “solid levels of debt underwriting activity to continue this year” given a more accommodative issuance backdrop and the potential for increased acquisition financing amid a pickup in M&A after last year’s slump.

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