Indian Drought Continues

Umbrella sales are down in India, where monsoon rains are now 27% lower than normal from June 1st to Aug 17.

The Indian farm minister says that 246 of the country's 625 districts are now affected, with the north west of the country the worst hit. That number officially stood at 207 only two days ago.

Production of sugar cane, rice and cotton are all seen sharply lower this season in a country with almost 1.1 billion people to feed.

The government have now put a limit on the quantity of pulses and sugar that traders can hold, in an attempt to prevent hoarding and profiteering.

Citigroup on Tuesday cut its estimate for Indian growth in 2009-10 to 5.8%, down from 6.8%, because of a downturn in the farming sector. it also increased its inflation forecast to 6% from 4% citing rising food prices.

How dry is it? Take a look: here