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India’s South-West Monsoon Steps Into Surplus Territory: IMD

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India’s South-West Monsoon Steps Into Surplus Territory: IMD
Yagnesh Kansara - 19 August 2019

Finally, there has arrived a piece of good news not only for the stock market but also for the economy as a whole. Earlier when the onset of South-west monsoon got delayed by two-to three weeks it was feared that India may face a drought like situation in the current season. However, the Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) announcement Saturday (August 17) that the country has received more than adequate rainfall and has become two per cent surplus this monsoon of its long period average, will must provide a much-needed relief to all the sections of population and policy makers in particular.

Of the surplus, IMD said, nine Met sub-divisions across Western and contiguous North and South India, including Gujarat and Saurashtra, recorded individual surpluses.

The trend might largely hold for the rest of the month at least in the North, IMD said and expressed a suspicion that a fresh low-pressure area might develop over West-Central and adjoining North-West Bay of Bengal sooner than later.

The system might get a move in a West-North-West direction into land and is expected to further enhance rainfall over East and Central India during August 23 -29, it said.

So, the rains might last virtually into the end of the month (August, normally the second rainiest) for East and Central India, also bringing along with the threat for flooding/landslides at vulnerable locations, IMD said.

IMD’s announcement of Indian rainfall moving into surplus territory confirmed the report on ‘FY2020 Monsoon’, prepared by analysts Suvodeep Rakshit and Anindya Bhowmick, of Kotak Institutional Research, released to their clients earlier this week.

The report said, till August 14, cumulative rainfall was 0.1 per cent above long-term average with the weekly rainfall 45.1 per cent above long-term average (due to heavy rainfall across western and central India). On a cumulative basis, spatial distribution of monsoon was normal though rainfall has been somewhat weak in eastern and northern India. Out of the 36 sub-divisions across India, till date, nine have received deficient rainfall, 19 have received normal rainfall, and eight have received excess rainfall.

As a result of satisfactory progress of monsoon, the Kotak report said, average weekly price levels indicate that food prices changes have been mixed over last week. Vegetable prices increased 0.5 per cent over last week while the prices of pulses fell 0.9 per cent. Cereal prices fell 1.6 per cent while the price of oils and fats increased 2.7 per cent over last week in the week ending August 11.

However, the sowing status is still lower than last year, the report said. As of August 8, the total kharif acreage was 5.3 per cent lower than the same period last year. Rice sowing was 12.8 per cent lower at 26.5 million (mn) hectares. Oilseed acreage was 3.3 per cent lower at 15.7 mn hectares and pulses acreage at 11.5 mn hectares was 4.9 per cent lower than last year. Coarse cereal acreage was 0.9 per cent lower at 15.4 mn hectares. Sugarcane and cotton acreages were at 5.2 mn hectares (5.5 mn hectares last year) and 11.9 mn hectares (11.3 mn hectares last year) respectively.

More than adequate amount of Rainfall has eased the problem of drinking water to a substantial level. The report claimed Reservoir levels across the country have moved into significant surplus. Giving Basin-wise details, it said, reservoir levels moved into significant surplus compared to long-term average levels.

Of the larger river basins Indus (north India), Godavari (west and south), Kaveri (south), Krishna (west and south), and Narmada (central and west) was in surplus while Ganga (north and east), and Mahanadi (central and east) were in deficit. Overall, basins and reservoirs were around 22 per cent above long-term average for week ending August 15, it concluded.

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