The U.S. municipal bond market shrank slightly to $3.8233 trillion in the first quarter of 2017 from a revised $3.8374 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2016, according to a quarterly report from the Federal Reserve released on Thursday.
For the first time in five years, foreign buyers shed muni bonds, knocking their total holdings off a record high of $94.7 billion in the previous quarter to $90.4 billion.
The last time their total holdings dipped was the second quarter of 2012, according to historical data.
Overseas investors sold off $17.2 billion versus revised purchases of $10.4 billion the prior quarter.
Households, or retail investors, held $1.656 trillion of muni bonds, down slightly from $1.6756 trillion the previous quarter.
Property and casualty insurance companies shed $8.4 billion of munis in the first quarter and life insurance companies added $6.9 billion to their muni holdings. U.S. banks picked up $25.1 billion, half of the amount they added they previous quarter.
U.S. mutual funds added $43.6 billion after having shed $91.7 billion the previous quarter. Exchange traded funds added $2.5 billion.
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