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US municipal bond market ticks up to $3.8337 trillion in Q4, Fed says

Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) workers watch as a 2,178 ton bridge is moved by a Mammoet transporter onto support columns at the Diverging Diamond Interchange over Interstate 15 from the 'bridge farm' construction area 650 yards away in American Fork, Utah.
George Frey | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) workers watch as a 2,178 ton bridge is moved by a Mammoet transporter onto support columns at the Diverging Diamond Interchange over Interstate 15 from the 'bridge farm' construction area 650 yards away in American Fork, Utah.

The U.S. municipal bond market grew slightly to $3.8337 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2016 from a revised $3.8334 trillion in the third quarter, according to a quarterly report from the Federal Reserve released on Thursday.

Households, or retail investors, held $1.644 trillion of muni bonds compared to $1.588 trillion the previous quarter.

Property and casualty insurance companies bought $10.8 billion of munis in the fourth quarter after $19 billion of acquisitions in the third quarter. Life insurance companies added $5.4 billion to their muni holdings, while U.S. banks picked up $53.4 billion.

U.S. mutual funds shed $88.5 billion of munis in the fourth quarter, the funds' biggest reduction of the asset class in at least five quarters. Exchange traded funds added $4.9 billion.

Foreign buyers purchased $21 billion of munis. Their fourth-quarter holdings were $106.4 billion, their highest on record.