The first two weeks of 2001 were the strongest start to a year the U.S. asset-backed market has seen, and the stage is being set to make January 2001 the best January ever.

In the first 11 days of the month, almost $5 billion in issuance was recorded, according to Thomson Financial Securities Data, with credit cards and autos taking most of the credit. In comparison, only $109 million was placed during the same time period last year, and none for 1999. In 2000, January issuance totaled $8.3 billion.

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