Monsoon set to regain intensity in 3-4 days: IMD
The flow of southwest monsoon, crucial to boost farm incomes and economic growth in India, has only weakened two days ago and reduced rainfall across the country. But the good news is rains are likely to revive over the next three-four days with the favourable conditions developing over the Bay of Bengal.
The monsoon delivers ab­out 70 per cent of India’s annual rainfall, critical for the farm sector that acco­unts for about 15 per cent of the country’s $2 trillion eco­n­omy and employs over half of 1.3 billion people.
Over 260 million farmers depend on monsoon to grow crops such as rice, cane, cotton, corn and soybeans bec­a­use nearly half of India’s farmland lacks irrigation.
In June 1-14, the country received 5 per cent more rains at 88.7 mm whereas the normal rainfall stood at 84.6 mm, the India meteorological department (IMD) data showed on Monday.
Region-wise, East and No­r­theast received 6 per cent less rains in the same period at 196.6 mm against the normal of 203.7 mm. While northwest part of the country received 3 per cent more than normal rains, central India 4 per cent more rains and south peninsula 17 per cent more rains.
Monsoon will reach central India on June 15-20 with a standard deviation of seven-eight days, according to state-run IMD.
“The monsoon rains have progressed well over south peninsula and northeast region, bringing normal rainfall,” Sunitha Devi S, director at the climate research division at IMD, Pune, told Financial Chronicle.
“After weakening for the last two days and reduced rainfall, monsoon rains will be revived over the next three-four days,” she said.
Devi said monsoon is likely to reach Chhattisgarh and east Madhya Pradesh in central India over the next two-three days. The rains have facilitated preparation and sowing of kharif crops in these regions.
IMD said last week the southwest monsoon had advanced across some parts of central and eastern Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Jhar­khand and Bihar, most parts of Odisha, and the rest of West Bengal.
It had reached Karnataka, Goa and the Konkan on the western coast while on the eastern coast it covered Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, parts of Telangana and the northeast.
In April, IMD for the first time relied on the so-called dynamic model to raise the accuracy of one of the wor­ld’s most vital weather forecasts. The system uses sup­ercomputers to simulate the weather and extrapolating it.
The new system, based on a US model tweaked for India, could help India raise its farm output by nearly 15 per cent, by helping farmers tweak the best time to sow, irrigate or apply fertiliser, and, if rains fail, plan state-wide measures.
Devi said according to the dynamic model, rains would revive on June 23-24 and then rapidly advance and cover the entire country by June 30. But according to climatological average date to cover the entire country is July 15, she said.
Monsoon rains lashed the Kerala coast on May 30, which was two days earlier start to the rains since 2011.
Meanwhile, Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) has said the prospering monsoon signals revival of rural demand and a rate cut by RBI on August 2 amid low inflationary pressures.
Good rains support the case for a 25 bps RBI rate cut on August 2 and June CPI is expected to slip below 2 per cent with food prices still fal­l­ing, it said. The report noted that rains are 10 per cent above normal till mid-June, and this, in turn, has pushed up autumn kharif sowing by 6 per cent over last year. “Good rains should revive rural demand, with MSP hi­kes, farm loan waivers and interest rate subventions before 2019 polls,” it noted.
The global financial services major noted that if rains are indeed normal, CPI inflation in the first half of the fiscal should average a benign 3 per cent.
“Daily data show food inflation is falling further in June on a good summer rabi harvest. This should pull June inflation below 2 per cent from 2.2 per cent in May,” the report noted.
michaelgonsalves@mydigitalfc.com
Columnist: 
Michael Gonsalves
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