Some $8.9 billion of loans packaged into commercial mortgage-backed securities since the financial crisis are supported by Houston-area offices, malls and hotels, Morgan Stanley analyst Richard Hill said in a note Monday. And, across Texas, almost $30 billion of these loans have exposure to official disaster areas, according to Trepp, a specialist firm that tracks such debt.

Harvey, which has already broken the nation's rainfall record for a single storm, couldn't come at a worse time for the epicenter of the U.S. oil industry. A three-year slump in energy prices that's seen oil average $49 per barrel this year has sent Houston office vacancies soaring and propelled some loans tied to the region's property on to credit graders' watch lists.

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