Hurricane Matthew Hammers Florida

In the wake of sobering news from the Caribbean, Hurricane Matthew leaves its devastating footprint on Florida. The token news relief may be that the storm is only a Category 4 hurricane, with winds expected to reach 210-to-220 kilometers per hour. Most of Florida has been brought to a complete standstill. It seldom gets worse. Only three Category 5 hurricanes have hit Florida over the past century: Hurricane Andrew in 1992, Hurricane Camille in 1969, and the still-unbelievable Labor Day Hurricane in 1935. What should investors in US stocks expect? Home-improvement companies could be winners, while insurers will likely be losers. Based on the mid-week queue at the petrol station near our office, firms with business exposure to retail gas operations in Florida may see an unexpected bounce in revenue.

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Beyond Caparra

Turn Right for Roseau

To the uninitiated, the Caribbean can be a mind-boggling array of small islands, with a few large ones in the mix.

Man with Cigar

Become a geographer. Florida and the Caribbean have the same economic heft as Brazil. Our regional set includes the perimeter economies of Central America, Colombia, Venezuela, as well as the Guiana Highlands.

Relative Economic Size

Comments on this blog focus on Florida and neighboring trade partners. By output, we rank the major islands:

1. Puerto Rico ($103 billion)

2. Cuba ($78 billion)

3. Dominican Republic ($64 billion)

4. Trinidad and Tobago ($29 billion)

5. Jamaica ($14 billion)

Florida dominates the region with state-wide GDP of about $770 billion. The largest perimeter economy is Colombia at $378 billion, followed by Venezuela.

Note: Ranking is based on GDP data for 2014 at market prices.

Source: World Bank, US Bureau of Economic Analysis, Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, Cranganore.