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IMD forecasts average monsoon rains in 2018

Reuters  |  NEW DELHI 

By Sudarshan and Mayank Bhardwaj

NEW (Reuters) - is likely to receive average monsoon rains in 2018, the weather office said, raising the possibility of higher farm and economic growth in Asia's third-biggest economy, where half of the farmland lacks irrigation.

Monsoon rains, the lifeblood of the country's $2 trillion economy, are expected to be 97 percent of a long-term average, K.J. Ramesh, of the state-run Meteorological Department (IMD), told a conference.

"We see very less probability of a deficit monsoon," Ramesh said.

Other than lifting farm and wider economic growth, a wet spell will keep a lid on inflation, to bring forward due in May 2019.

India's weather office defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 cms for the entire four-month season beginning June.

"The moderate La Nina conditions developed in the equatorial Pacific during last year started weakening in the early part of this year and currently have turned to weak La Nina conditions," IMD said in a statement.

La Nina is a weather pattern that brings equatorial temperatures, rainfall patterns and winds closer to average.

The latest forecasts from global models indicate conditions over the Pacific will turn neutral before the beginning of monsoon season, the IMD said.

Good rains will spur the planting of crops such as rice, corn, cotton and soybeans, accelerating economic growth that rose 7.2 percent in the December quarter, its fastest in five quarters, compared with China's 6.8 percent in that quarter.

Growth in the December quarter restored India's status as the world's fastest growing major economy.

On Monday, government data showed that India's fell 0.07 percent in March 2018 from a year earlier.

India's weather office will update its forecast in June.

(Reporting by Sudarshan and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by and David Evans)

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, April 16 2018. 16:36 IST
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