New-issuance volume last month came in at a pace lower than in any May since 2000.

A total of 838 new issues came to market in May, with a par value of $27.02 billion. Volume was down 38.2% from the $43.75 billion issued in May 2008, when issues came to the market at a near-record pace as refundings took place to get out of auction-rate securities, according to preliminary data from Thomson Reuters.New issuance year-to-date totals 4,195 issues, with par value of $148.7 billion, down 17.7% from last year. Issuance was ahead of last year's pace for the first two months of 2009 but has fallen behind since March, when issuers last year rushed to refinance auction-rate debt. "We've kind of reached a middle phase in market recovery," Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch fixed-income strategist Philip Fischer said. "The patient is up and jogging, but it's got some bruises."

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