Below normal monsoons forecast
The crucial southwest monsoon is expected to be a notch below normal this year but is expected to gather momentum by the middle of July, the country’s weather office said. While this may point to some stress for the economy in the months ahead, analysts said it is too early to press the panic button. If the monsoon picks up by mid-July, it would be beneficial for planting of rice, corn and sugar. “Quantitatively, monsoon season rainfall for the country as a whole is likely to be 95% of the long period average with a model error of plus minus 4%. The long period average rainfall over the country as a whole for the period 1951-2000 is 89 cm,” the weather office said in a statement. The latest forecast is marginally below IMD’s June estimate of 98% of the long period average and slightly below the 96-104 range which points to normal monsoon. Minister for earth sciences P K Bansal said the reason for the revision of prediction is the weakening of La Nina conditions and anomalies in the North Atlantic pressure readings. “The April forecast of normal monsoon was based on conditions prevailing in February-March. But there is nothing to be alarmed about. We are issuing separate instructions for agriculture and farm work.” Economists said too much should not be read into the headline numbers and the impact of the monsoon rains would depend on the distribution across key crop growing regions in the months ahead. Monsoon rains still continue to influence the fortunes of Asia’s third-largest economy as large parts of the country lacks irrigation facilities and farmers depend on the June-September rains for crops.