Monsoon rains snap three-week lull, turn surplus in past week

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Monsoon turned surplus in the past week as rains revived in the grain bowl Northwest region of the country, soybean belt and cotton areas, after a three-week lull, the weather office said on Thursday.

Rainfalls were 24 percent above average in the week to Sept. 3, in a sharp reversal from the previous week's 22 percent deficit. Rains had been poor for three weeks in a row until Aug. 27.

"The monsoon is expected to continue its wet run next week," said B.P. Yadav, head of the National Weather Forecasting Centre at the India Meteorological Department (IMD).

The annual monsoon rains are vital as over half of India's farmlands lack irrigation, and the farm sector accounts for 14 percent of the national economy.

Following the revival, the seasonal rainfall during June 1 to Sept. 3 stood at 15 percent below average, shrinking the overall deficit from 18 percent in the pervious week.

Monsoon rain in India is the leading determinant of rural spending on consumer goods ranging from lipstick to cars as two-thirds of its 1.2 billion people live in villages. Its failure pushes up food prices.

India is one of the world's leading producers of farm commodities such as rice, sugar, soybean and cotton which are directly dependent on the seasonal rains for production.

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