Don’t let Chicago’s crisis go to waste

By Cate Long
March 7, 2014

Moody’s cracked the whip and downgraded the rating of Chicago’s general obligation bonds to Baa1 from A3 this week. It’s only a one-notch downgrade, but no American city should wear the scarlet letter of BBB. Chicago’s Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seemingly frozen in place and having a tough time addressing the city’s fiscal problems. His behavior belies his famous 2009 quip to never let a serious crisis go to waste.

Where did all the bonds go?

By Cate Long
March 5, 2014

Long-term municipal bond issuance is shrinking. I don’t need to recite the numbers, just look at the chart above (from Sifma with data from Thomson Reuters).

Will Puerto Rico sell general obligation bonds?

By Cate Long
January 23, 2014

The New York Times reported that Morgan Stanley is shopping a potential $2 billion general obligation bond deal for Puerto Rico. Bloomberg followed up with a story that had a few more details about the offering that Puerto Rico supposedly has not authorized. According to Bloomberg the possible deal terms are:

How much do mutual fund flows affect the muniland yield curve?

By Cate Long
January 9, 2014

Municipal bond yields rocketed up late last May after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke commented on the likelihood of quantitative easing being drawn back at the year’s end. Mutual fund investors, spooked by possible losses from rate increases, began exiting muni funds.

Selling Puerto Rico Cofina 3.0

By Cate Long
January 7, 2014

A muniland outlook for 2014

By Cate Long
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:

Muniland’s ‘Best of 2013’

By Cate Long
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.

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

By Cate Long
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.

Could the BRIDGE Act be the solution for infrastructure?

By Cate Long
November 15, 2013

New legislation introduced by ten U.S. senators called the BRIDGE Act acknowledges that the likelihood that Congress will increase the gas tax or other infrastructure grants is “bleak.” BRIDGE would create a new form of government sponsored entity (GSE) called the Infrastructure Financing Authority (IFA).

Infrastructure requires funding; Where will it come from?

By Cate Long
November 1, 2013

Twitter was abuzz over a chart that was posted on FT’s Alphaville. Quack, quack, quack went Twitter, we need infrastructure spending to boost the economy! Of course nobody mentioned that Republicans, who recently shut down Congress to prove a point, are loath to increase spending. So where could additional money for infrastructure spending come from?