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Thursday, April 15, 2010

South Asia monsoon seen normal - IMD

Monsoon rains in south Asia are expected to be normal this year, helped by weakening El Nino weather phenomenon, a senior Indian weather official said on Thursday.

"El Nino conditions have started weakening and we expect the south Asia summer monsoon to be within the normal range," A.K. Srivastava, director of the Indian Meteorological Department, told reporters on the sidelines of South Asia Climate Outlook Forum.

Last month, the Geneva-based World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) said the El Nino had peaked, but was expected to influence climate patterns up to mid-year before dying out.

India's annual June-September monsoon rains, which delivers 75-90 percent of total rainfall, were the weakest in 37 years in 2009, ravaging rice and oilseed crops.

Lower output hit food supplies in the domestic market and triggered a sharp rise in prices. The food price index rose an annual 17.22 percent in the 12 months to early April.

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