Meredith Whitney, one of the most respected financial analysts on Wall Street appeared on 60 Minutes on Sunday night and voiced an ominous outlook for the municipal bond market. She said that states’ fiscal problems may cause a “spate” of defaults among municipalities.
According to Whitney, “you could see 50 sizeable defaults. Fifty to 100 sizeable defaults” amounting to “hundreds of billions of dollars.” She believes that in the next twelve months, the U.S. government will face pressure to bail out struggling states. Whitney is well known on Wall Street for her prescient bearish calls on banks leading up to the 2008 financial crisis.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie was also on 60 minutes to talk about the dire circumstances that U.S. states face. He said that “The day of reckoning has arrived, that’s it. And it’s going to arrive everywhere.”
Tremors have swept through the muni bond market in recent weeks. Since November 8th, the iShares S&P Municipal Bond Fund ETF (NYSE:MMUB) has lost more than 5%.