El Niño: The force is strong in this one…

Thursday, June 18, 2015
By Paul Martin

By MICHAEL KITCHEN
MarketWatch.com
June 17, 2015

Consensus is growing among the world’s weather watchers that 2015’s El Niño event will be a strong one, or at least will stretch through the end of the year.

In a note out Tuesday, HSBC said three major Pacific Rim weather agencies — the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology and the Japan Meteorological Agency — all see El Niño as likely to last into the winter.

Likewise, the U.S. NOAA said forecasters’ consensus “now slightly favors a ‘strong event’ relative to a ‘weaker event,’ although the intensity of El Niño is difficult to predict,” HSBC reported, contrasting the situation with last year when a nascent El Niño began subsiding in the summer.

While the effects of El Niño can vary, it generally brings low air pressure to the Eastern Pacific, possibly providing needed rain to the U.S. West Coast, while air pressure would likely rise in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans, probably diminishing precipitation there.

All of this usually leads to higher commodity prices globally, especially weather-dependent agricultural commodities, as MarketWatch reported earlier this month.

In terms of which economies will suffer the most, HSBC economist Joseph Incalcaterra points to India and Indonesia.

India is especially vulnerable due to the dependence of its massive agriculture sector on seasonal monsoons, which often dry up in El Niño years.

“India’s national meteorological office continues to expect ‘deficient’ monsoon rains on the back of El Niño, even though rainfall has been plentiful for the monsoon season thus far,” Incalcaterra said in the note to clients, citing July as the key month for the bulk of India’s crops.

The Rest…HERE

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