DEFINITION of 'Municipal Bond Arbitrage'

A strategy that consists of building a portfolio of tax-exempt municipal bonds and simultaneously hedging the duration risk of the portfolio through the short sale of equivalent taxable corporate bonds of the same maturity, generally interest rate swaps. Because interest on municipal bonds is exempt from federal income tax, an arbitrageur can receive after-tax income from the municipal bond portfolio that is higher than the interest paid on the interest rate swap.

BREAKING DOWN 'Municipal Bond Arbitrage'

The implicit assumption in this arbitrage is that the municipal bonds and interest rate swaps will continue to have a close correlation. The strategy seeks to minimize credit risk and duration risk by using municipal bonds and interest rate swaps of similar quality and maturity.

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