(Sept 11): When Hurricane Harvey began smashing its way across the US state of Texas on Aug 25, it was not a particularly big business story in the local market. Typhoon Hato had just blown across southern China, lashing Hong Kong’s skyscrapers and causing blackouts at some casinos in Macau. Meanwhile, an uneasy — and short-lived — lull in military tension had just descended on the Korean peninsula, which The Edge Singapore had just reported on.

Within a few days, however, as pictures of massive flooding and widespread damage to property in Texas began emerging, and as the Republic of Singapore Air Force offered to deploy four Chinook helicopters in relief operations, it became clear that a slow-burn market event was unfolding.

About 70 people have been killed, and the storm has reportedly displaced more than a million people and damaged 200,000 homes. Texas governor Greg Abbott has already estimated the damage at as much as US$180 billion ($241.8 billion). By comparison, the insured damage for Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005, is reportedly US$50 billion after accounting for inflation. And, as The Edge Singapore went to print, Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, had left a trail of devastation in the Caribbean and was heading towards Florida.

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