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Harvey hits economy

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 01:29

Hurricane Harvey's whipsaw of wind and rain across Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast most hurt transportation, oil industry, and insurers. Fred Katayama reports.

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Hurricane Harvey, now downgraded to a tropical storm, has brought record-breaking rains and catastrophic flooding to Texas and now threatens refineries along the Louisiana coast. It has knocked out about 13 percent of total U.S. refining capacity and destroyed transportation infrastructure. And analysts say the floods could wipe out as much as $20 billion in insured property, making the storm one of the costliest in history for U.S. insurers. S&P Dow Jones Indices' David Blitzer says the worst is yet to come. (SOUNDBITE) DAVID BLITZER, MANAGING DIRECTOR AND CHAIRMAN, THE INDEX COMMITTEE OF S&P DOW JONES INDICES, (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Hurricane Harvey is obviously very severe, based on all the news we've seen. It's much too early to give any numbers or any sense of size, other than very, very big or huge. I think, what probably hasn't really been thought through, is how long this will last - not not just the storm, the weather forecasting - but the impact. I think some people would think this is over in a month or at the end of the year. And I think those dates are much, much too soon. The devastation has been incredible, and the recovery is going to be measured in years, not weeks or months." Blitzer notes Harvey arrived at a time when U.S. economy is in a pretty good shape. The outlook for GDP is at 2.5 - 3 percent for the third quarter, the unemployment rate is low, and consumer confidence is solid. That, Blitzer says, will help the economy in dealing with the aftermath.

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Harvey hits economy

Tuesday, August 29, 2017 - 01:29