A surge in junk bond issuance during the first nine months this year has sparked fierce jockeying for deals among underwriters, including commercial banks.

Total high-yield issuance, which was dominated by private placements, known as 144a issues, has reached $89.4 billion since January, according to Securities Data Co. That's a 54% jump from the first nine months of last year, when issues totaled $58.2 billion. This year's volume has already surpassed the $72.5 billion annual record, set in 1993.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.