U.S. municipal bond sales totaled $237.8 billion in the first nine months of 2013, down 13.6 percent from the same period in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Tuesday.
Sales of muni debt by states, cities, hospitals, schools and others in the $3.7 trillion municipal market totaled only $67.8 billion in the third quarter, the lowest quarterly amount since the second quarter of 2011.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the top underwriter of munis so far this year, with $35.3 billion of debt in 290 deals. J.P. Morgan Securities ranked second, with $29.1 billion of debt in 262 deals and Citigroup came in third, with $26.6 billion of debt in 282 deals.
California was the top issuer, selling $5.86 billion of debt since January, followed by New York City with nearly $4.2 billion of debt, Regents of the University of California with $4.1 billion of debt and Illinois, with $3 billion of debt.
Taxable issues totaled $27.8 billion, up 28.8 percent from the same period in 2012.
Thomson Reuters also reported that private placements of municipal securities totaled $10.3 billion in 435 deals so far this year. Health care deals accounted for 40.7 percent of the privately placed debt.
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