(Chilean aearthquake article updated with additional analyst insight regarding business repercussions from Chile's reconstruction efforts.)

CHILE ( TheStreet) -- The earthquake in Chile has claimed the lives of more than 700 people -- a number that is sure to rise -- and has wreaked untold devastation. Homes have been destroyed. Communities have been laid to waste.

In light of this reality, it might seem crass to consider the economic fallout of the tragedy. But given the world's reliance on Chile for numerous exports, we would be derelict in our duties to not assess the repercussions of Chile's economic aftershocks.

Given that Chile accounts for one-third of the global mining of copper, that sector seems the most appropriate place to begin; indeed, not just the copper miners, but also those companies that rely heavily on the heavy metal to produce their products could be impacted by the earthquake.

Granted, although it's hard to put a dollar amount on the financial fallout these companies could experience from a short-term spike in copper without further information on how Chilean copper producers have been impacted, it's clear which sectors and companies are among those with the biggest exposure to copper price increases.

Those include household appliances manufacturers like Whirlpool ( WHR) and General Electric ( GE). "Those companies demand a lot of copper," IBISWorld analyst Toon van Beeck points out.

Likewise, the automotive sector could be dented by higher copper prices. " Ford ( F) and GM use a lot of copper," van Beeck says, along with telecom companies and cable users like Verizon ( VZ ).

Still, while nothing can prepare a country and its people for the devastation of a natural disaster, many Chilean observers believe the nation is more prepared than most in the region. "They have a lot of cash at hand built up through copper mining," van Beeck says.

Analysts are generally positive regarding Chile's ability to recover, citing factors such as the country's fiscal prudence, and its expected GDP growth of up to 5.5% before the natural disaster occurred.

And while some U.S. companies could soon begin feeling a sting from Chile's woes, still other U.S. companies could reap the benefit of long-term reconstruction projects in the country. Van Beeck says there is a strong possibility that the country will be open to bids from foreign companies under the administration of incoming, conservative President-elect Sebastian Pinera; Van Beeck says such firms as URS Corporation ( URS), Peter Kiewit Sons' and Bechtel Group would likely see such business.

"There will be a much broader avenue of possibilities going forward," Enrique Alvarez of IDEAglobal says. Although it's still too early to say what, exactly, the country's needs are going to be, Alvarez says he generally foresees opportunities for those dedicated to construction equipment, infrastructure and highway bridges.

Foreign investors have also taken notice of reports that Piñera would be interested in selling off a stake in state-owned copper mining giant Codelco.

"Catastrophes often speed change," Eduardo Suarez, of RBC Capital Markets, says.

Suarez says the country is likely to keep interest rates at the current low 0.5% at least until the third quarter, or maybe even longer, as part of its stimulus plan during the rebuilding process. The Chilean government is also tapping into an $11 billion economic stabilization fund during this time.

"People are confident that prudent fiscal management by authorities will give them flexibility in the rebuilding and expenditure process that needs to take place to rebuild infrastructure," says Alvarez.

-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York

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