WASHINGTON — The number of municipal bond issuers rated as “speculative” by Moody’s Investors Service has grown by 27% since 2008 and will likely grow further but remain a small part of the market, the rating agency said in its annual report on junk bond issuers.

The report shows that the number of muni bond issuers rated Ba1 or below by Moody’s currently stands at 217, accounting for $48 billion of outstanding debt. That number is up from 171 in 2008, but is still less than 2% of the 15,000 tax-exempt bond issuers in the U.S, the rating agency said.

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