US municipal bond market kept shrinking in 4th quarter-Fed

WASHINGTON, March 6 Thu Mar 6, 2014 12:06pm EST

WASHINGTON, March 6 (Reuters) - The U.S. municipal bond market shrank for three straight quarters last year to reach $3.671 trillion in the fourth quarter, the smallest amount of outstanding debt in five years, Federal Reserve data released on Thursday shows.

That compares to $3.686 trillion in the third quarter of 2013.

The largest holders of municipal bonds, individual investors, continued to flee the market, as well. The household sector shed $147 billion bonds in the fourth quarter, after dropping $83.1 billion the quarter before.

Meanwhile, mutual funds also pulled out. They dropped $39.3 billion bonds in the fourth quarter, while closed-end funds shed $100 million and exchange-traded funds $300 million.

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