Last year’s municipal new issuance total, at $339 billion, established 2018 as the slowest of the past 5 years, and through May 2019, it seemed that this year would not be much busier, but the pace picked up after May.
At the end of September, primary issuance was 8.7% ahead of last year’s totals. However, it’s important to note that most of the increase is attributable to taxable municipal bonds. In August 2019, 20% of new issue volume was taxable bonds, the most for any month since the 2009-2010 Build America Bond era, the exception being February 2011, when a $3.7B Illinois pension bond issue was priced. In September the taxable percentage was again elevated at 18.8% and October’s taxable percentage could approach 25%.