Fretting Over the Speed of Monsoon
After a healthy start, the monsoon is fast losing its speed. Overall rainfall for the last week of June was 30% less than the average. It was the first major weekly shortfall in the current monsoon season.
With low rainfall, the temperature is rising in several parts of the country. The rainfall for the season is still above the long period average. However, the lead has shrunk considerably from 41% as of 19 June to a mere 4% during the last week.
Rainfall is still more than the long-period average. Hence, there is no reason to worry yet. However, July is going to be the crucial month where the country would seek the revival of the monsoon. IMD's forecast suggests that rains may lag in the initial part of the month but should pick up pace from the second week onwards.
Oil Adds to Misery
Oil prices rose to three-year highs as OPEC called off its meeting to review the possible production cut.
Brent crude was up at $77.23 per barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $76.38 per barrel on Tuesday.
Oil prices are rising as OPEC has continued to operate at lower capacities while demand for crude is constantly going up. It has created a demand-supply mismatch in the market.
The meeting between OPEC and its allies last week went unconcluded as the United Arab Emirates rejected a proposal to lift output curbs. The group had arranged for a review meeting again to consider the proposal. However, that has been called off indefinitely. With this, there is little hope of getting any respite from rising crude prices shortly.
Relief for Airlines
The Central Government has eased the cap for airlines and allowed them to increase their seating capacity to 65%. Earlier, the airlines were allowed to fill 50% of their seating capacity. The new cap of 65% will be operational until July 31 or till further orders.
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has lifted the curbs as the number of daily domestic air passengers is slowly increasing. The number of passengers has touched nearly 1,60,000 and is likely to rise to 1,70,000 by the end of the first week of July.
The government had reduced the cap on the number of passengers from 80% to 50% during the first wave of the pandemic. It was in accordance with the fall in the number of passengers. However, now that the government has allowed airlines to fill more seats, it will definitely provide a lifeline to financially struggling airlines.