Rising gas prices, a spike in construction activity, and other economic fallout from Hurricane Matthew


Photo by Jeff Ostrowski/The Palm Beach Post

Anyone who pays for windstorm insurance knows a hurricane’s financial fallout can linger long after the wind and rain have subsided. Mekael Teshome, Florida economist at PNC Bank, outlines potential effects from Hurricane Matthew:

  • Fuel prices might rise. Some areas may experience fuel shortages as residents stockpile gas, and petrol shipments to the U.S. are likely be delayed, Teshome says.
  • Power outages will dampen economic activity. Florida Power & Light Co. says some 2.5 million customers could lose power.
  • Crops will be damaged. That includes citrus, vegetables and sugar cane in Florida and cotton in North Carolina and Georgia.
  • Retailers will see a mixed bag. Purveyors of essential items will see higher sales in the short term. Merchandisers that sell discretionary items will see a drop in sales now, but consumers may purchase those items later.
  • Business and leisure travel will take a hit.
  • The reconstruction tab could run into the billions. According to CoreLogic, 954,000 homes in Florida are at risk from water damage, and reconstruction costs could be more than $189 billion. “Construction activity will surge after the storm, but planned projects will be delayed, and it is possible that some projects would be canceled as workers and resources are devoted to reconstruction efforts,” Teshome says.

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