Turning briefly to the structured finance and international markets, our near term structured finance opportunities are primarily in non-cash bilateral trade with large financial institutions looking to manage their capital more efficiently. In international business, we've seen a steady increase of European public finance transaction increase as banks continue to reduce their long-term infrastructure lending. We continue to look forward to increased opportunities in both of these areas over the next 12 months.
As most of you know, Moody’s placed our ratings on review for possible downgrade at the end of March. I want to emphasize in U.S. municipals we still insured 445 primary and secondary market transactions totaling $4.7 billion of par even with the uncertainty caused by Moody’s action, proving once again the value and resiliency of our products. We believe that by far the most important reason for any downward pressure on insured market penetration is the unprecedented low interest rate environment.
As we pointed out before, we believe Moody's negative view of the future of bond insurance is not supported by the facts. Countered the Moody’s statement, there is a number of indications of the prospects for increased demand are strengthening. In our view the recent entrance of a new player in the bond insurance business underscores the importance of the product and the expected growth in demand for it, as well as the opportunity that fresh capital sees in participating in this market.
Even Moody’s has said the presence of a new guarantor could help revitalize the financial guarantee insurance sector through greater insurance penetration. And S&P recently wrote that the industry could end up insuring 20% to 30% of new issue par in U.S. public finance markets. We agree with this view over the longer-term, although we believe the current interest rate environment will still depress the insured market in the short term.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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