Sales of new municipal bonds continued to tumble in October, dropping 54% to $10.63 billion from $23.25 billion a year ago, according to figures compiled from Securities Data Co.'s database.

October's issuance brought the year's new-issue volume to $137.76 billion, down 44% from the record $246.72 billion sold from January through October of 1993 and the lowest total for the first 10 months since 1991, when $134.57 billion was sold. However, this year's total is still the third-largest January-October volume on record, surpassed only by last year's record and 1992's $195.37 billion.

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