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Muni Yields Set Three-Month Low After Sandy as Issuance Slumps

Yields fell to the lowest since July on the longest-maturity debt in the $3.7 trillion U.S. municipal market as superstorm Sandy led issuers to delay deals.

The interest rate on AAA tax-exempts maturing in 30 years fell about 0.1 percentage point to 2.85 percent as of noon in New York, the lowest since July 31, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

States and localities plan to sell $3.7 billion in long-term debt this week, Bloomberg data show. That’s the least since the week ended Sept. 7, which was shortened by the Labor Day holiday.

“The market is really trying to re-establish itself as of yesterday and maybe more so today,” said David Manges, muni trading manager at BNY Mellon Capital Markets LLC in Pittsburgh. “The muni market, as much as it’s a national market, is still dependent on its personnel in the New York and New Jersey region.”

Sandy, which struck the coast of New Jersey Oct. 29, knocked out power to 8 million customers in the U.S. Northeast and caused trading in U.S. equities and bonds to shut the following day. Michigan delayed a $96 million general-obligation sale and King County, Washington, postponed a $39 million offer from Oct. 29, Bloomberg data show.

The slowdown may be short-lived. Municipalities have $10.7 billion of sales scheduled in the next 30 days, the most since Oct. 22, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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