WASHINGTON Aug 30 Sales of U.S. municipal bonds
saw their weakest August in more than a decade, as cities,
states and authorities brought $20.57 billion of debt to market,
according to preliminary Thomson Reuters estimates released on
That was the smallest issuance for August since 2000, when
borrowers only sold $16.59 billion in bonds, according to
Thomson Reuters data.
Altogether, this month's sales were the lowest since January
2012, when $17.11 billion of municipal bonds were issued.
Rising interest rates in the secondary market and fears
about credit risk have cooled issuers' fever to refinance and
made them wary of new borrowing.
More than halfway through 2013, total issuance is running
12.2 percent below last year, with an estimated $218.94 billion
of new and refunding bonds sold for the year ended Aug. 30,
compared to $249.43 billion in the same period in 2012.
There were only 740 deals this August, compared to 995 deals
totaling $31.28 billion in August 2012.
For refinancing, $8.85 billion of refunding bonds were sold
in 227 deals this month. That was the lowest since May 2011 and
less than half the $18.87 billion sold in 509 deals in August
Over the last two years, issuers had rushed to take
advantage of historically low interest rates and refinancing
crested at $27.27 billion in June 2012.
New debt sales in August were also below a year ago, with
$11.71 billion of debt issued this month compared to $12.41
billion in August 2012. But the number of deals rose to 512 from
last year's 486, suggesting that issuers are trying to keep
their borrowing low.