THE REUTERS GRAPHIC-India's monsoon rains below average levels for a 4th week

Patturaja Murugaboopathy

June 27 (Reuters) - India's monsoon rains were below average for a fourth straight week due to scant seasonal rainfall over central and western parts of the country, raising concerns about production of summer-sown crops such as rice, soybeans and cotton.

The monsoon - which accounts for 70% of India's annual rainfall and is the lifeblood of its $2.5 trillion economy - has delivered 36% lower-than-normal rainfall since the start of the season on June 1, according to data compiled by the India Meteorological Department.

However, the deficit has narrowed to 36% from last week's 43%, the data showed.

Sowing of summer crops such as cotton, rice, soybeans, corn and pulses has been lower than last year due to the late arrival of monsoon rains this year.

A decent improvement in rainfall in the coming weeks remains critical for the sowing of summer crops, analysts said.

If there isn't a turnaround in conditions, agricultural output could be hit badly and hurt an already slowing economy as rural demand sags.

(Reporting By Patturaja Murugaboopathy Editing by Martin Howell and David Evans)