U.S. muni bond sales so far in 2013 slip 13.6 pct


Oct 1 (Reuters) - U.S. municipal bond sales totaled $237.8billion in the first nine months of 2013, down 13.6 percent fromthe same period in 2012, according to Thomson Reuters datareleased on Tuesday.

Sales of muni debt by states, cities, hospitals, schools andothers in the $3.7 trillion municipal market totaled only $67.8billion in the third quarter, the lowest quarterly amount sincethe second quarter of 2011.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the top underwriter ofmunis so far this year, with $35.3 billion of debt in 290 deals.J.P. Morgan Securities ranked second, with $29.1 billion of debtin 262 deals and Citigroup came in third, with $26.6 billion ofdebt in 282 deals.

California was the top issuer, selling $5.86 billion of debtsince January, followed by New York City with nearly $4.2billion of debt, Regents of the University of California with$4.1 billion of debt and Illinois, with $3 billion of debt.

Taxable issues totaled $27.8 billion, up 28.8 percent fromthe same period in 2012.

Thomson Reuters also reported that private placements ofmunicipal securities totaled $10.3 billion in 435 deals so farthis year. Health care deals accounted for 40.7 percent of theprivately placed debt.

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