US Municipal Bond Credit Report, 2011 Q4

Long-term municipal issuance volume, including taxable and tax-exempt issuance, totaled $98.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011 according to Thomson Reuters, a 34.7 percent increase from the prior quarter ($73.2 billion), but a decline of 25.5 percent from 4Q’10 ($132.3 billion). Issuance picked up in the last three months of the year in both new money and refunding deals, as issuers sought to take advantage of exceptionally low rates. Refunding deals as a percentage of total issuance dipped slightly, representing 30.7 percent of all issuance in 4Q’11, compared to 35.4 percent and 19.3 percent, respectively, from 3Q’11 and 4Q’10.

For the full year 2011, issuance totaled $287.2 billion, down by a third from the record-breaking $430.5 billion issued in 2010 and in line with the 2011 forecast of $288 billion from the 2012 SIFMA Municipal Issuance Survey (“SIFMA Municipal Survey”). The primary market for 2011 remained at levels last seen in 2001 ($283.5 billion) and was generally in line with the 20-year average ($287.4 billion). According to the respondents to the SIFMA Municipal Survey, issuance is expected to rise by 20.5 percent in 2012 to $347 billion, led by general purpose deals. Risks to projections included the elimination and/or reduction in tax-exempt benefits, the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act, and more aggressive direct bank lending/direct placements (respondents expect $23 billion in direct placements in 2012).

About the Report

The municipal bond credit report is a quarterly report on the trends and statistics of U.S. municipal bond market, both taxable and tax-exempt. Issuance volumes, outstanding, credit spreads, rating changes, highlights and commentary are included.


SIFMA Research

  • Managing Director, Director of Research: Kyle Brandon
  • Director, Research: Sharon Sung

Municipal Division

  • Managing Director, Associate General Counsel, Co-Head: Leslie Norwood
  • Managing Director, Associate General Counsel: David Cohen
  • Managing Director, Co-Head: Michael Decker
  • Manager, Policy (Advocacy): Lynne Funk