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India’s monsoon rains 49 percent below average

India’s monsoon rains remain far below average, leading to a delayed start to the crop season.

India MonsoonEnlarge
People enjoy the pre-monsoon showers bringing relief from the heat in New Delhi on July 6, 2012. The monsoon is described as the 'economic lifeline' of India, which has a population of 1.2 billion and is one of the world's leading producers of rice, sugar, wheat and cotton. (PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images)

India’s monsoon rains were 49 percent below average leading up to a July 4 storm, the Business Standard reported.

The monsoon season is crucial to the survival of crops grown in India such as corn, rice and soybeans. Retuers reported that about 55 percent of India's arable land is rain-fed, with farming accounting for nearly 15 percent of India's $2-trillion economy. 

Siddhartha Sanyal, chief India economist at Barclays Capital, told Reuters that if the rains do not improve in July inflation will set in. He added, "The situation was pretty bad in June but if July rains improve then sowing will be good and policy uncertainty will ease."

D.H. Pai Panandikar, head of the private think-tank, RPG Foundation, told the Wall Street Journal that he too is worried about food inflation. "Food inflation is around 10 percent [now]. It may go up to 12 percent-15 percent, depending on the monsoon in the first half of July."

Bloomberg noted that India received 115.5 millimeters (4.55 inches) of rain last month. The average rainfall is 163.5 millimeters (6.4 inches).

Because of the season's delayed start, the sowing of summer crops has also been delayed after rain was either late or less than adequate in the main growing regions, Bloomberg reported. 

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/india/120706/india-s-monsoon-rains-49-percent-below-average