A muniland outlook for 2014

January 3, 2014

After taking a look back at 2013, here are my predictions for muniland in 2014.

The biggest muniland story this year will be the development of the Chinese municipal bond market. It’s not often that you get to watch a government launch a bond market. And China’s will be massive. From the South China Morning Post:

Texas’ great energy success

January 2, 2014

Texas is America’s energy powerhouse, producing 16 percent of domestic energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration:

Is Puerto Rico following Argentina’s path?

December 27, 2013

The mysterious borrowing undertaken by the Puerto Rico Government Development Bank in the middle of December has been explained. The GDB issued a press release that said that it had “borrowed” $110 million from the state workers insurance fund:

Muniland’s ‘Best of 2013’

December 26, 2013

Some exciting developments happened in muniland in 2013. Here is a round-up:

Best paradigm shift

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence developed a holistic approach to analyzing pension costs for local taxpayers that eschews the current approach of reporting municipal, sewer, library and school pension burdens separately.

Puerto Rico’s GDB borrows again

December 23, 2013

Muniland’s most closely watched issuer, Puerto Rico, borrowed last week, according to a notice filed with the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s EMMA system. There was no official statement, but the securities have CUSIP identifiers.

Teachers invade the Puerto Rico Senate

December 20, 2013

In the municipal bond market news tends to get abstracted and formalized. For example, leading analyst Alan Schankel, of Janney Capitol Markets, wrote about the Puerto Rico legislative session addressing the reform of the teachers’ retirement system:

States are our biggest spenders

December 19, 2013

Spending by states, at $1.7 trillion, is about 10 percent of the national GDP. State spending supports education, medical care for low income citizens, assistance to local governments and many other services. State governments are hives of economic activity. Like corporate entities, they must balance their books at the end of every year.

A deep dive with T. Rowe Price portfolio manager Hugh McGuirk

December 18, 2013

I had a chat with Hugh D. McGuirk, head of T. Rowe Price’s municipal bond team and a member of their Fixed Income Steering Committee. Mr. McGuirk is also a portfolio manager for the US Municipal Long-Term Bond Strategy at T. Rowe Price. Here is the interview.

The many market views of Puerto Rico

December 17, 2013

“That is what makes markets” is a financial industry aphorism that means there can be a broad spectrum of views about an asset or a specific security. This is most true for the municipal bonds of Puerto Rico.

Investors talk Massachusetts debt

December 16, 2013

The Massachusetts Treasurer Steve Grossman headlined an all-day investor conference for the state’s debt last week. The slides were published on EMMA. Like other states and cities, Massachusetts has a number of agencies issuing debt in addition to the Commonwealth (there are 12 that you can see at the bottom of this post). Let’s have a look at the conference highlights: