WASHINGTON, Sept 2 Issuance of U.S. municipal
bonds edged down last month as new borrowing saw the slowest
August in 17 years, Thomson Reuters data released on Tuesday
Debt sales totaled $24.1 billion in 834 deals, compared with
$24.72 billion in 795 deals in July. A year earlier in August,
issuance was only $20.97 billion in 733 deals. Altogether,
issuance for the year through Aug. 31 was 12.5 percent behind
the same period in 2013.
New borrowing totaled $9.79 billion in 449 deals, the
smallest August since 1997 when new debt totaled $9.27 billion
in 693 deals. In July, borrowers sold $10.5 billion new bonds in
Refunding, on the other hand, ticked up in August.
Refinancing totaled $14.31 billion in 385 deals, compared with
$9.75 billion in 245 deals in August 2013. That was also
stronger than July, when there were 396 refunding deals totaling
Last year, as interest rates began rising from historic
lows, cities, states and other public authorities ended their
refinancing binge. But recently rates have fallen as demand for
municipal bonds picks up.
On Municipal Market Data's benchmark scale, yields on
top-rated 10-year municipal bonds fell 20 basis points over the
course of August to end the month at 2.07 percent, the lowest
level since May 2013.
Yields on highly rated 30-year bonds fell to 3.03 percent on
the last trading day of August, also the lowest since May 2013,
according to MMD, a unit of Thomson Reuters.
(Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Leslie Adler)