Farewell to MuniLand

By Cate Long
July 23, 2014

Readers, this is my last column. I wanted to thank my readers and the team at Reuters for a truly great ride. I’ve been covering municipal securities, market structure, pensions and bankruptcy for over three years. There have been a lot of big changes in America as the country seeks to recover from the global financial crisis. The crisis affected state and local governments by slowing revenues and investment in infrastructure. I don’t see this changing in the near term.

Best of muniland on Twitter

By Cate Long
July 21, 2014

Here are the best tweets with the #muniland hashtag for July 21, 2014:

Government cash flows:

New austerity and confidence in Puerto Rico

By Cate Long
July 18, 2014

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Five months after Puerto Rico officials talked publicly to market participants, they held an investor call on Thursday with over 2,000 people. The call was captured by Storify. Puerto Rico’s previous call in February rallied market enthusiasm for a $3.5 billion general obligation bond offering that was priced on March 8. The March deal, the largest speculative grade bond deal ever done in muniland, replenished the coffers of the fiscally debilitated island.

Best of muniland on Twitter

By Cate Long
July 18, 2014

Here are the best tweets with the #muniland hashtag for July 18, 2014:

Less and less state and local money for infrastructure:

Estimating muniland bond recoveries

By Cate Long
July 17, 2014

A lot of people in muniland have asked me how much the bonds of Puerto Rico’s electric monopoly Prepa will recover if they are restructured. I’ve thrown out a few numbers, but I don’t have an analytical tool to do a proper cash flow analysis. Chris Foster, managing director of New Oak, has published an open source model (download middle right of page – XLSM file) that allows one to adjust various inputs like fuel prices and electric rates to estimate the level of debt service that Prepa can support.

Best of muniland on Twitter

By Cate Long
July 17, 2014

Here are the best tweets with the #muniland hashtag for July 17, 2014:

Uneven job growth across the country:

Why it is so expensive to trade muni bonds?

By Cate Long
July 16, 2014

Why is it so expensive to trade municipal bonds? We finally have some answers from a long awaited MSRB report on trading in the opaque muni bond market. The study was conducted by former SEC Director of Enforcement Erik Sirri. It maps where bonds go before they settle into retail customer accounts. Every time the bonds change hands, the price is marked higher. In the dark muni market, nobody sees this happening.

Best of muniland on Twitter

By Cate Long
July 16, 2014

Here are the best tweets with the #muniland hashtag for July 16, 2014:

Electricity — the nation’s most vital infrastructure:

Best of muniland on Twitter

By Cate Long
July 15, 2014

Here are the best tweets with the #muniland hashtag for July 15, 2014:

The false equivalence of credit ratings

By Cate Long
July 15, 2014

In a new report, Janney Capital Markets analyst Tom Kozlik calls out Standard & Poor’s for credit ratings on local governments that he says are too liberal. Kozlik claims that S&P is inflating ratings. I think his analysis is solid, but inconclusive given the size of his claim. Kozlik opens the door to more critical analysis of the comparability of ratings.