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Municipal Securities Activity Increases Again in May, while Corporate Debt Requests Sink


The latest Issuance Trends report from CUSIP Global Services found a significant surge in request volume for new municipal identifiers and a significant decline in request for new corporate debt identifiers.

Corporate requests fell notably in May, as corporate debt requests helped drive the month-over-month drop.

Municipal CUSIP request volume increased sharply in May for the second straight month, with Pennsylvania and New York issuers remaining quite busy.

CUSIP request volume for municipal issuers surged for the second straight month in May, while corporate issuers pumped the brakes.

 North American corporate requests totaled 4,325 in May 2020, down 31.9% from April. On a year-over-year basis, corporate CUSIP requests were up 23.8%. The May 2020 volume declines were focused in U.S. corporate debt, which fell 43.4%, U.S. corporate equity, which was down 12.7% and certificates of deposit with maturities greater than one year, which saw a 39.9% month-over-month slowdown..

By contrast, municipal volumes continued to surge for the second straight month. The aggregate total of identifier requests for new municipal securities – including municipal bonds, long-term and short-term notes, and commercial paper – climbed 53.1% versus April, and 10.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Among top state issuers, Pennsylvania, Texas and New York were the most active in May. Pennsylvania's total increased more than 685% month over month. California and Illinois round out May's top five.

Requests for international equity and debt CUSIPs both grew in May. International equity CUSIP requests surged by 282.4% versus April and 41.2% year over year. International debt CUSIPs jumped 27.3% last month and 2.0% year over year.

Private placement CUSIP orders increased in May on both a monthly and year-over-year basis. A total of 242 new orders were processed in May, up from 196 in April. Syndicated loan requests fell 44.2% on a monthly basis and 4.8% year-over-year.

If there was ever any doubt about the ability of municipal bond issuers to access liquidity during the COVID-19 pandemic, our CUSIP Issuance Trends indicator is sending a clear signal that municipalities are putting the pieces in place for a surge in new issuance volume in the weeks and months to come. The corporate market is telling a different story, however. With corporate CUSIP request volume slowing significantly in May, we may be seeing early signs of a slowdown in corporate debt issuance.

To see all May CUSIP request volumes by asset class, access the full report. Sign up here to receive the monthly Issuance Trends reports as soon they’re released.

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CUSIP Requests Surge in April as Corporate and Municipal Borrowers Continue to Search for Liquidity

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