Monsoon close to normal in past week: sources

Monsoon close to normal in past week: sources

New Delhi: India’s monsoon rains were near normal for the third successive week in the seven days to 2 September, official sources said, likely helping boost depleted reservoirs levels and providing a last lift for the soybean crop.

One source said rainfall across India was 4% above normal but unevenly distributed, with the southern region getting 49% more than normal while the sugarcane- and rice-growing northwestern states were about 21% in deficit.

Rainfall was 24% above average in the central soybean-producing region, helping the crop which had suffered after a three-week dry spell from the end of July, the weather office source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Total seasonal rainfall across India for the full June-September season is still forecast to be 20% below normal despite the recent spurt, after a poor start due to the driest June in 83 years.

Cumulative rains from the start of the season were a quarter lower than average a week ago, and sources said the deficit would have narrowed to about 23%.

India Meteorological Department has forecast rains for next 24 hours, and industry officials said the recent pick-up in rains would help crops in central India.

“The rains during last 48 hours would help improve yield," said A.S Chandel, director of soybean development programme of the trade body Soybean Processors Association of India.

“Recent rains will help growth of late-sowing varieties and mitigate losses done to early-sown varieties," he said.

Traders and industry officials expect soybean output in India, the world’s top edible oil buyer, could fall 9-19% this year due to the failed monsoon.

India had soybean crops on 9.49 million hectares as at 28 August, marginally lower than 9.52 million hectares a year ago.

India produced 9.9 million tonnes of soybean in 2008. CBOT soybeans for September delivery fell 0.25% to $10.10 a bushel by 2:24pm, while the new-crop November contract was up 1% at $9.60 a bushel.