The tax-exempt bond market continues to see marked investor interest through heavy inflows to municipal bond mutual funds.

For the week ending Jan. 18, muni bond funds saw $1.01 billion of inflows from funds that report their flows weekly, according to Lipper FMI. That’s slightly less than the amount seen in the week ending Jan. 11, when there were net inflows of $1.11 billion.

It’s the seventh straight week of positive flows, and the 18th week out of the past 20.

Despite a sell-off in the market in Thursday’s session, muni yields still outperformed those of Treasuries. And they still sit near record territory on the intermediate and long ends of the yield curve.

The bad old days of late 2010 and early 2011 are growing ever more distant in investors’ collective memories. That was a dark period when money flowed without apparent restraint from muni funds between mid-November 2010 and early June, usually by more than $1 billion a week. In the week of Jan. 19, 2011, investors in weekly reporting funds withdrew more than $4 billion.

This past week, assets for funds that report their flows weekly rose to $280.1 billion from $275.8 billion the previous week.

The value of the holdings for weekly reporting funds fell from the previous week’s amount, to about $2 billion. The week before, they increased by $2.86 billion.

The four-week moving average for all municipal bond mutual funds that report their flows weekly saw a $751 million inflow, up from a $690 million gain the week before.

High-yield muni funds had another big boost in inflows, though slightly less than the previous week. They have been in the black for six of the past seven weeks.

Funds that report weekly saw inflows of $265 million, Lipper said. The previous week, high-yield funds reported inflows of $270 million.

Assets for high-yield funds that report their flows weekly rose for a fifth straight week. They ended at $35.70 billion, up from $35.07 billion the previous week.

The value of the holdings for weekly reporting funds increased by $370.3 million. Last week, they rose by $532.4 million.

The four-week moving average for all high-yield muni bond funds that report their flows weekly was a $134 million inflow, up from an $85.9 million inflow the week before.

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