India forecasts normal monsoon, easing worries over crop output, economic growth

India, which relies on rain for the vast share of its water, forecast that the monsoon will be normal this year, potentially easing concerns over the impact on agriculture production and economic growth.

Showers during the June-September rainy season is likely to be 96 percent of a long-term average, according to the official India Meteorological Department.

Hundreds of millions of farmers across India depend on the annual monsoon to nourish their fields. Bountiful rains may boost production of crops like rice, soybeans, corn and sugar cane, lowering food prices and aiding the government’s efforts to cool inflation.

The IMD prediction is at odds with the outlook from Skymet. The private weather forecaster on Monday predicted a below-average monsoon, saying the coming season is likely to bring only 94 percent of the rain the country usually gets from June to September.

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