Puerto Rico’s Economy Was a Mess Before Hurricane Maria. It Will Only Make Recovery Harder

Author: , Post Date: September 22, 2017
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Hurricane Maria could accelerate that trend, says Amilcar Barreto, an associate professor at Northeastern University. With the power authority predicting months of outages, Puerto Ricans may continue to flee the island, making it even harder for it to regain economic steam. “For many businesses, dealing with a fiscal crisis was bad enough,” says Barreto. “I question whether or not good will be good enough.”

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that seeing images of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria could push lawmakers in Washington to open the coffers. That could help rebuild critical infrastructure, get the power back on, and start the long slog towards recovery. “There will an economic black hole for a good part of the year,” predicts John Mousseau, the director of fixed income at money management firm Cumberland Advisors. “[But] if you get this rebuilding underway, you start seeing Puerto Rico turning the other way.”

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