Monday, 22 June 2020 12:49

Alarm is Spreading in the Muni Market

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(New York)

There is alarm growing among muni bond investors as credit quality continues to deteriorate. During COVID there has been a widening gap in pension deficits among municipalities, and investors are keeping a close eye because it is leading to deferred pension payments. This is troubling for a number of reasons. Firstly, it digs municipalities into a bigger hole because they must pay interest on deferred payments; and secondly, it spooks bond markets and makes it harder for them to access liquidity. In other words, deferred pension payments, such as the nearly $1 bn one New Jersey elected to do in May, dig muni issuers into a deeper and deeper hole.


FINSUM: Pension recipients are very likely to be considered senior to bondholders, so this is a very alarming situation for investors.

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