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Harvey to cost Texas US$58b in losses: report

[PARIS] Economic losses in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, which is still pounding the water-logged US state with rain, will be some US$58 billion, according to a report released Thursday by disaster analysts in Germany.

If that estimate holds, it would make Harvey the world's 9th most expensive natural disaster since 1900, according to the Center for Disaster Management and Risk Reduction Technology (CEDIM) in Karlsruhe, Germany.

"The damage is extensive at around US$58 billion, and is over 90 per cent due to flooding," said James Daniell, senior risk engineer at CEDIM, and head of its Forensic Disaster Analysis Group.

Other calculations of total economic loss have been considerably lower.

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German insurance giant Hannover Re's initial figure for damages was US$3 billion, while JP Morgan estimated the insurance sector could be out US$10-20 billion.

Disaster risk specialists Enki Holdings, based in Savannah, Georgia, puts the total tab at above US$30 billion.

To measure the region's risk exposure, CEDIM used data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, which tracks investment.

"But we also checked that against building and replacement cost data," Mr Daniell said. "That's usually the issue with a lot of other models - they don't get the exposure right."

Total capital stock in Texas is about US$4.5 trillion, and for the entire United States the figure is about US$56 trillion, he said.

Their estimates are based in part on the world's largest database of natural catastrophes, covering over 41,000 events since 1900.