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Global economic losses from drought to top US$8b: report

[LONDON] Global economic losses from drought are likely to reach more than US$8 billion in the next few months as the El Nino weather pattern intensifies, reinsurance broker Aon Benfield said on Thursday.

Total economic losses from drought in the United States are likely to reach at least US$3 billion, mainly due to agricultural damage in California, Aon Benfield said in its monthly catastrophe report.

"As we continue to see the prospect of El Nino becoming one of the strongest in decades, more and more impacts will be apparent around the world," Steve Bowen, associate director of Aon Benfield's catastrophe modelling team and meteorologist, said in a statement.

The current El Nino weather phenomenon is expected to peak between October and January and could turn into one of the strongest on record, experts from the World Meteorological Organisation said this week.