Drought-struck Brazil expects Sept rainfall well below average

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SAO PAULO, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Rainfall in key energy-producing regions of drought-struck Brazil is likely to remain well below average in September, the national grid operator ONS said on Friday, doing little to relieve high energy prices and headaches for agribusiness.

Brazil, one of the world's agricultural superpowers, is grappling with one of its worst droughts in nearly a century. The lack of rainfall has hurt farmers and forced the country to rely more on costly thermoelectric power plants, stoking inflation and dragging on the economy.

With reservoirs low at key hydroelectric dams, the government is encouraging Brazilians to consume less power, but has so far ruled out energy rationing.

On Friday, the ONS said it expected energy usage to rise 0.9% next month compared to the same period last year.

But it said rainfall in areas where hydroelectric power is produced will remain below average in September. In the southeast and midwest Brazil, where the country's main hydropower reservoirs are located, rainfall should reach just 57% of the historical average for the period, it said.

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Reporting by Gabriel Araujo, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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