Rain Rain (Please Don’t) Go Away

dailyYesterday was unusually different. We have all lived through hotter days but the combination of dryness, heat and disappointment was unique given it is just the start of September. The weathermen and all related folks consider the rainfall received in the four month period from June to September as representing the rainfall for a particular year’s S.W. Monsoon quota. Using data from the
India Meteorological Department (IMD) website, here is the story in pictures.

2015 monsoon till date has been grossly insufficient and with just Sep 2015’s data to be made available, things don’t seem to be looking too bright. With days like yesterday, I am not sure if the rest of the days left in this month will make good the gap. So, in addition to the external stories weighing down on the stock market, this internal will, no doubt, add impetus to the decline. Maybe the efficient markets have factored this in, maybe not. The Indian economy may be resilient to droughts but it is certainly not drought proof.

If you look at the charts below, the heavens have not been too kind over the last 15 years. Looks quite similar to the decade at the start of the 20th century.

SWMonsoon Variation

I think we will end the 2015 Monsoon season at the 750 – 775 mm of rainfall band.SWMonsoon Histogram


Rainfall Isochrones

An isochrone is a curve of equal travel time. The monsoon isochrone map shows isolines where each line depicts the arrival (i.e. the presence) of the refreshing and life sustaining S.W. Monsoon. Each point on the line depicting places where the monsoon arrived at the same time. This chart from the Indian Metereological Department says it all. It shows the rainfall isochrones as at June of this year. The dotted red line shows the normal advancement of monsoon while the dotted green line gives you the actual situation this year. Clearly Delhi is still waiting for the rains. Rains have played truant so far this year. It seems that the long summer vacation was not enough for little Johnny and that he wants to play a bit more. Its true – schools in Delhi have extended the summer vacations due to the heat conditions!

Compare this with what happened last year. The chart below is the rainfall isochrone map as at June 2011. Clearly we have an issue. Incidentally the attached press release (dated 22Jun’12) from the India Met office says that “Rainfall over the country as a whole for the 2012 southwest monsoon season (June to September) is most likely to be normal (96% – 104% of LPA).” The markets, meanwhile have been cantering up on news from the Eurozone and the Prime Minister cum Finance Minister’s comments. I think that sometime soon the market may turn its attention to the deficient monsoon. It seems that these days what Angela M says and does impact our markets more than the local economy’s supply side indicators. But if the rain gods remain unkind this year then somewhere the impact will definitely be felt – most probably on the inflation front. There are news of escalating corn and other downstream prices in the US due to the prevailing heat wave condition there which has played havoc with the corn sowing season there.

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