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.