NEW DELHI: India's crucial monsoon rains are still expected to be average in 2012, the weather office said on Friday, despite scant rainfall in the first three weeks which had raised concerns over farm output in the major producer and consumer of food stuffs.

The weather office had forecast an average monsoon already in April, before the rainy season started, although with slightly heavier rains.

The India Meteorological Department said in a statement monsoon rains in 2012 would be 96 percent of the long-term average overall, down from its April forecast of 99 percent.

A normal or average monsoon means rainfall between 96-104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres in total during the four-month season from June, according to India's weather office classification.


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