5

It seems like there's a massive sell off of bonds at this time, such as the municipal bond listed here, for Detroit, Michigan:

What could happen to bonds such as these because of Detroit filing for bankruptcy?

Are these bonds done for, or will bondholders receive interest payments and eventual payment?

Could these bonds tend to rise over time after the bankruptcy? What similar situations from the past might support this idea?

5

What could happen to bonds such as these because of Detroit filing for bankruptcy?

Depending on how the courts process Detroit's situation, there could be that some bonds become worthless since they are so low and the city can't pay anything on those low priority debts. Others may get pennies on the dollar. There could also be the case that some bailout comes along that makes the bonds good though I'd say that is a long shot at this point.

Are these bonds done for, or will bondholders receive interest payments and eventual payment?

I wouldn't suspect that they are done for in the sense of being completely worthless though at the same time, I'd be very careful about buying any of them given that they are likely to be changed a great deal.

Could these bonds tend to rise over time after the bankruptcy?

Yes, it is possible. If there was some kind of federal or state bailout that is done, the bonds could rise. However, that is one heck of an "if" as you'd need to have someone come to guarantee the bonds in a sense.

What similar situations from the past might support this idea?

Not that many as this is the biggest municipal bankruptcy ever, but here are a few links that may be useful as a starting point, though keep in mind Detroit's scale is part of the story as it is such a big amount being defaulted:

| improve this answer | |
3

Since the bondholders have voted to reject the emergency manager's plan, which would have paid them pennies on the dollar, the city is now attempting to discharge its short-term and long-term debt. If they get what they want in court, it is likely these bonds will become worthless. Even if they are only able to restructure the debt, its likely that bondholders will need to accept large concessions. However, this may not be immediately reflected in bond prices as it's very possible that the market for these bonds will be very limited in terms of who they could sell them to.

If you were to buy them now , that would be a bet on some outcome other than bankruptcy and the discharge of the city's long-term obligations. President Obama has already stated that he monitoring the situation, and it seems unlikely to me that after all of the support given to the auto industry in the last several years that the federal government will do nothing, if only to avert job losses. However, I think it's likely that state aid will be limited at best, as Michigan's economy has been struggling for a number of years.

There aren't many large precedents to look at for guidance. One of the largest public entities to declare bankruptcy, Orange County, was a very different situation because this was due to malfeasance on the part of its investment manager, whereas Detroit's situation is a much larger structural problem with its declining economy and tax base. I think the key question will be whether the Federal Government will consider a Detroit bankruptcy to be a large enough embarassment/failure to take significant action.

| improve this answer | |
  • Yeah, Michigan's state-level finances haven't been much better than Detroit's. However, I don't think that Obama will be able to get another bailout through Congress, especially the House side. The bigger question is, what is the bankruptcy of Detroit proper going to do to separately-incorporated cities in the metro area, like Dearborn, Novi, Warren etc who, all told, aren't doing that badly? – KeithS Jul 19 '13 at 22:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.