The Disconnect in Taxable Munis

Over the last several months, supply and demand dynamics have provided support to the tax exempt municipal bond market, driving outperformance during the last quarter of 2015, and causing credit spreads to compress during that time frame as well. In no part of the market has this outperformance been more pronounced than for bonds from California issuers. At the same time, led by the energy sector as oil prices have declined, corporate bonds have seen credit spreads widen. These factors have created a growing disconnect between the available yields on comparable taxable versus tax exempt municipal bonds. The 10-year maturity of a recent new issue from the San Diego Redevelopment Successor Agency illustrates the point. This deal had both a taxable and a tax exempt component. The yield on the 10-year taxable bond was 3.81%, while the yield on the 10-year tax exempt bond was 2.08%. Even for a CA resident in the highest tax bracket, the taxable bond was a better value, as you would earn 2.28% after taxes versus the 2.08% on the comparable tax exempt option. This disconnect has presented opportunities for our blend strategy in particular, but also for our taxable strategy, to purchase bonds with attractive yield and credit quality profiles. As always, we are vigilant in our search for opportunities to take advantage of mispricing in the market to benefit our clients, and we are always doing the tax math.

Source: Citigroup