China takes another step toward municipal borrowing

By Cate Long
April 24, 2014

Last January, when I made my predictions for 2014, I wrote:

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:

Puerto Rico after financing

By Cate Long
March 14, 2014

Puerto Rico brought its long awaited bond offering to market last Tuesday for $3.5 billion, the full amount that was authorized by the Legislative Assembly. Underwriters had talked about the deal as $3 billion, but it seemed obvious given the liquidity needs of the Government Development Bank that it would be upsized it to the full legislatively authorized limit. The bond was structured to mature in 2035 with a 2020 par call.

Deep in the public pension weeds

By Cate Long
March 11, 2014

Most discussion about public pensions revolves around the levels of funding that governments report in their Comprehensive Annual Financial Statements (CAFRs). It’s a means of taking the temperature on the health of the pension fund.

A plan for Puerto Rico

By Cate Long
February 11, 2014

Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, announced a six point plan to restructure the government in light of the credit rating downgrades by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s.

EMMA is growing up

By Cate Long
February 10, 2014

Welcome to the new, user-friendly version of EMMA, muniland’s free central repository of bond documents, event disclosures, trade data and market statistics. It’s a treasure trove of muniland’s core information and it has been redesigned to be even easier to use and more intuitive (Disclosure: I participated in several rounds of user testing as the new EMMA design was scoped).

S&P downgrades Puerto Rico: The turning of the wheel

By Cate Long
February 5, 2014

Photo: Puerto Rico Treasury Secretary Melba Acosta (R) and Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla at a press conference in response to S&P’s downgrade. (Source: Ustream) 

The shadows of muniland

By Cate Long
February 4, 2014

There is a shadowy part of muniland. It is populated by liabilities that are absent from balance sheets and municipal debt that was contracted by circumventing the law.

Puerto Rico’s solvency may hang on a potentially unconstitutional corporate tax

By Cate Long
February 2, 2014

Last June, I asked if the U.S. Treasury was bailing out Puerto Rico with an unusual interpretation of the federal tax code. This waiver or exemption allowed U.S. multinationals operating in Puerto Rico to credit taxes that were paid to Puerto Rico on their federal tax bill. The tax, referred to as Act 154, was passed by the Puerto Rico legislature in 2011. It brought in approximately $1.6 billion in 2011.

An index maker’s view of muniland

By Cate Long
January 27, 2014

J.R. Rieger, Vice President of Fixed Income Indices at S&P Dow Jones Indices, hosted a webinar about the data he uses to understand muniland and the performance of munis versus corporate bonds. Here is some of his team’s analysis.

The many market views of Puerto Rico

By Cate Long
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.