CITIC Securities and China International Capital Corp (CICC), the only brokerages permitted to underwrite medium-term notes and commercial paper in China, arranged a combined US$4.9 billion in bond sales in the first quarter of 2009, Bloomberg reported. This compares to US$3 billion for the whole of 2008. China introduced medium-term notes – bonds that typically mature in three to five years – in April of last year, although sales were then suspened between July and September. With initial public offerings still banned, firms are are increasingly turning to the debt markets for capital. A total of US$24.5 billion in medium-term notes was sold in the first quarter of the year, up from US$14.7 billion the previous quarter, according to ChinaBond, the country’s largest clearing house. These were all underwritten by domestic banks as well as CITIC and CICC. It is estimated the two brokerages generated US$59.1 million in underwriting fees in the first quarter.