The pandemic left municipal finances largely in decent shape, although some areas suffered more than others, according to experts speaking at the recent Bond Buyer conference last week.
Large, densely populated cities saw increased risk and uncertainty.
From Bond Buyer‘s recap of the comments:
“I think one characteristic of this pandemic, in addition to all the other horrible parts of it, is that it hit unevenly,” said Ted Sobel, head of public finance at Ramirez & Co. “As opposed to 2008 or 2009, which was a fairly nationwide recession that hit a lot of people on Wall Street and Main Street, this has been more like a series of tornadoes or storms that have spared some houses.”
The pandemic’s effects on the muni market were both widespread and permanent, said Sobel and other members of a panel featuring leaders from underwriting firms.
Natasha Holiday, managing director at RBC Capital Markets, said the pandemic added market risk for large, dense populated cities are at risk, particularly headline risk. She said the economic fundamentals were still the same, but that there were uncertainties about whether people and jobs were going to come back or the ability to use public transportation as a factor.