WASHINGTON — Trading in the $3.7 trillion municipal securities market decreased again in the third quarter of 2012, driven largely by a continued decline in trading of variable-rate securities, according to market statistics released Nov. 20 by the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board.

During the quarter ending in September, par amount of trades totaled $794.9 billion, down 6.1% from the previous quarter, when some $844 billion in par traded. Trading by par amount was off 6.7% from the same third quarter last year, when $851.4 billion in par changed hands.

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