India’s monsoon starts delayed retreat

MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s monsoon rains started withdrawing from the northwest of the country on Monday, more than a week later than normal, the state-run India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a statement.

The monsoon, the lifeblood of India’s $3 trillion economy, delivers nearly 70% of the rain needed to water its farms and recharge reservoirs and aquifers.

The monsoon generally begins in June and starts to retreat by Sept. 17 but rains continued this year, helping to reduce a precipitation deficit after the driest August in more than a century hit some summer crops.

Monsoon rains were 9% below average in June before rebounding to 13% above average in July. The weather office then registered 36% below average rains last month.

Monsoon rains so far in September are 17% above average, according to IMD.

“The southwest monsoon has withdrawn from some parts of Rajasthan. Conditions are favourable for the withdrawal of the monsoon from more northern states in the next one week,” a senior IMD official said.

(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)