As men and women across the South begin to rebuild their lives following destructive Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Moody's Corp. (MCO) Analytics said preliminary figures suggest total damage from the two storms could be between $150 billion and $200 billion, CNBC reported.
Moody's also lowered its third quarter GDP estimate to 2.5% from 3%, citing a loss in economic output following the storms that could reach as much as $30 billion. The fourth quarter could see a boom in growth as rebuilding efforts hit their stride, Moody's added, but the increase in economic activity depends on how much insurance money and government funding is sent to the affected areas.
Moody's previously estimated Harvey would cost between $86 billion and $108 billion, and Irma would cost between $64 billion and $92 billion.
Moody's estimate puts Harvey's and Irma's combined costs on par with Hurricane Katrina, which has carried the title of most expensive U.S. storm ever since it wreaked havoc on the New Orleans area in August 2005.
The service noted that its estimate could change as further information comes to light. Moody's figures depend heavily on how quickly the oil refining business in areas affected by Harvey and tourism business in areas affected by Irma recover following the storms.
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