$50 billion: that's the damage bill for Sandy - so far | business | Hindustan Times
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$50 billion: that's the damage bill for Sandy - so far

business Updated: Nov 02, 2012 21:09 IST
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Economic damages inflicted by Superstorm Sandy could reach $50 billion (over Rs. 250,000 crore), according to new estimates that are more than double a previous forecast.

Economists warn it could shave a half percentage point off the nation's economic growth in the current quarter.

Losses from the storm could total $30-$50 billion, according to Eqecat, which tracks and analyses hurricane damages.

On Monday, before the storm hit the East Coast, it estimated $10-20 billion in total damages.

The flooding of New York's subways and roadway tunnels and the extensive loss of business as a result of utility failures across the region were behind the sharp increase in the estimate, the firm said.

"The geographic scope of the storm was unprecedented, and the impacts on individuals and on commerce are far larger," said Tom Larsen, Eqecat's senior vice-president. "Lost power is going to contribute to higher insurance losses."

While the stock market, banks and other financial institutions regained some of their stride on Thursday, other sectors like retailing, transportation and leisure and hospitality face a much longer and more difficult recovery.

With fuel in short supply in many areas and utilities warning that power may not be back for a week or more in some areas, businesses found themselves preparing for the equivalent of a long siege.

As logistical problems mounted, and damage estimates surged, economists raised their estimates of the storm's impact.

"I think the effect will be quite big," said Julia Lynn Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas. Moody's Analytics also put the impact in the $50 billion range.

Eqecat said it believed that various forms of insurance would cover $10-20 billion of the total cost.