Cape Town - The drought engulfing the central US is likely
to cost $12bn, making it the costliest since 1988, experts say.
The drought is spreading quickly and affecting crops across the
country, with more than half of the continental US experiencing some stage of
drought, USA Today reported.
"There does seem to be near-unanimous agreement
from industry experts that this year's drought losses will surpass the $12bn
recorded in 2011," meteorologist Steve Bowen of Aon Benfield says in the
This is likely to push up food prices by between 3% - 4%
next year and beef by 4% - 5%, the US Department of Agriculture said.