UPDATE 1-Wind, snow hinder grain exports from southern Russia

Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:21pm EST

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* Supplies from Rostov are largely paralysed -trader

* NCSP gets 150 railcars/day versus usual 450-500 -source (Writes through, adds comments about railroads)

By Gleb Stolyarov and Polina Devitt

MOSCOW, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Winds and snow are hindering grain supply from southern Russia to Novorossiisk on the Black Sea, the port's operator and traders said on Friday, slowing the country's return to the global wheat market.

Russia, one of the world's top five wheat exporters to regions including North Africa and the Middle East, became competitive again on international markets in January, after a three-month hiatus, because the rouble has now weakened along with emerging market currencies.

But bad weather has caused logistical problems in Novorossiisk, Russia's largest port on the Black Sea, and on the railway to the port from its grain producing southern Rostov region.

"There is a problem: no ships and no railcars basically," a Moscow-based trader said. "We are losing money, but hope that these problems will be fixed soon."

Loading at the port has been suspended due to windy weather, the Novorossiisk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP) Group said earlier on Friday. The port operator provides the largest outlets for Russian energy and commodity exports.

A source in NCSP also said snowfall in the Rostov region was affecting rail traffic. NCSP was receiving only 150 railway cars a day carrying various products instead of the usual 450-500 cars, the source added.

"Supplies from Rostov are basically paralysed now," another Moscow-based trader said. He estimated that snow was up to 80 centimetres deep in places near Rostov.

Russia's state railway corporation RZhD said trains were arriving with delays due to snow on the line to Novorossiisk but did not give detailed data.

Novorossiisk suspended crude oil exports on Thursday due to a storm, and is expecting to resume loadings on Feb. 5, oil pipeline monopoly Transneft said.

Russia's state weather forecaster predicted winds near Novorossiisk on Friday with speeds of between 24 and 29 metres per second (86.5-104.4 km per hour) and gusts of up to 32 metres per second. The temperature around the port was minus 10 degrees Celsius. (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov and Polina Devitt; Editing by Anthony Barker)

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