Municipal bonds issued for refinancing purposes declined as a percentage of total issues through the end of May. Through May 31, $156.4 billion in total debt was issued by U.S. municipalities, $82.7 billion -about 53% - was issued to refinance older issues. Comparatively, $111.5 billion in similar debt was issued thought May in 2016. Since 2012, more than half of the proceeds of all munis issued were used for refinancing purposes, reaching 61.9% at the end of 2015.
Municipalities took advantage of the lower-for-longer rates following the financial crisis, issuing lower-yielding debt to pay off older issuances, but have slowed their activity so far in 2017.
In the first five months of 2017, $73.8 billion has been issued for new capital, compared to $66.1 billion raised through May in 2016.