Municipal bond defaults in early 2012 were up dramatically — or down dramatically — depending on how you look at the data.

Distressed Debt Securities Newsletter has collected data through March 1 showing there were 23 defaults totaling  $1.03 billion, an increase of 111.4% measured by par value. In the same period during 2011 there were 23 defaults totaling $492 million. By contrast, Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ found that for Jan. 1 to March 1 muni defaults were down by 37.6% measured by par value.

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