India monsoon 9 percent below normal in past week: report

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 16, 2011 8:28 AM

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were 9.0 percent below normal in the week to June 15, the weather office said on Thursday, with rice and cotton growing regions in the south and east suffering the lowest rainfall.

The June-September monsoon is in the early stages and crops are not greatly affected by the quantity of rains now. What is key is the distribution of rainfall in mid-July after the monsoon covers the entire country.

Last year, which saw a normal monsoon, the rainfall was below normal in the week ending June 16.

In the previous week this year, the monsoon was 16 percent above average with heavy rains in the tea, rubber, coffee and corn growing areas of southern India, and rice, cane and cotton areas in the west.

The monsoon, vital for farm output in India's trillion-dollar economy, hit the country's southern coast on May 29 this year, three days ahead of schedule.

It is expected to enter soybean growing areas of central India this weekend, sources at the weather office said.

They said the monsoon's progress over central India was three days behind schedule.

India's Meteorological Department is expected to release its outlook for the rest of the monsoon season early next week.

(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee)