Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Lacklustre Monsoon Rains Trigger Crop Worries: Food shortages and Inflation in India and Drive Up International Food Commodity Prices

For the first time, here is the admission by IMD that their forecast has gone for a full toss..

 Women carry metal pitchers filled with water in Gibpura, Gujarat state

(WallStreetJournal) Monsoon rains forecast for the first week of July across India have failed to materialize, triggering fresh concern about the likely impact on crop production and prices.
"Things are not progressing as we were expecting with the monsoon," 
D Sivanand Pai, head of the India Meteorological Department's long-term forecasting division, said Tuesday.
"We were expecting a stronger revival in the first week of July."
He said rainfall distribution had improved marginally from last month, but was being affected by Typhoon Neoguri in the western Pacific, which had sucked out moisture from the Indian subcontinent.

India is a large exporter of grains such as wheat and rice to countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Any fall in Indian crop production is likely to drive up international prices, according to analysts.

Monsoon rains arrived over the Indian mainland in the first week of June. But since then, rainfall has been 43% below the long-term average in the period through July 2, according to data on the India Meteorological Department's website. 

The slow progress of the monsoon has raised concerns about prospects for Indian crops this summer—the main cultivation period for a variety for crops including rice, sugar cane, corn and oilseeds such as soybeans. The country receives 70% of its total annual rainfall during the monsoon season, which runs from June to September.

One bright spot has been the formation of a low-pressure area over the Bay of Bengal this week, which should see rainfall pick up in the next two days, Mr. Pai said. Monsoon rains typically occur through a series of weather pulses, and indications were that one such formation was currently developing, he said.

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