| NEW DELHI
NEW DELHI India will issue its first official forecast for the June to September monsoon rains in the last week of this month, the director general of the India Meteorological Department said on Wednesday.
Monsoon rains are a key factor for global commodities markets as they influence output of various crops in India, which is among the world's leading producers and consumers of wheat, rice, sugar and edible oils.
About 60 percent of India does not have adequate irrigation and depends on monsoon rains.
"We are right now studying all parameters and models for a comprehensive forecast for the entire season," L.S. Rathore told Reuters, adding it was too early now to give a prediction. He said the forecast will be released by the end of April.
The seasonal rains usually start on the southern Kerala coast in early June and cover half the country by the first week of July. About half of India's farm output comes from crops sown during the four-month-long monsoon season.
For last two years India has witnessed a normal monsoon after a drought in 2009, which saw the worst rains since 1972 and forced the country to turn to international markets to make up shortfalls in its own output.
The quality of monsoon rains are important for not just the country's economic growth but also for reining in inflation and a mounting subsidy bill.
(Reporting by Ratnajyoti Dutta and Mayank Bhardwaj; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)