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U.S. muni bond sales hit $275.4 bln by end of third qtr

Oct 1 (Reuters) - U.S. municipal bond sales totaled $275.4 billion in the first nine months of 2012, an increase of nearly 48 percent over the same period in 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data released on Monday.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch was the top bookrunning underwriter of munis so far this year, pricing $39 billion of debt in 342 deals.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by James Dalgleish)

((karen.pierog@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 312 408 8647)(Reuters Messaging: karen.pierog.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MUNICIPALS VOLUME/