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Bread and Noodle Supplies Face New Threat From Australian Floods

  • Prices of milling wheat surge on fears of quality downgrades
  • Chinese buyers may pay more as imports from Australia rise
A house damaged by floods in Eugowra, earlier in November. 

A house damaged by floods in Eugowra, earlier in November. 

Photographer: Jenny Evans/Getty Images

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Flooding in eastern Australia is hurting the quality of the wheat harvest in one of the world’s biggest exporters, worsening a global shortage of the high-grade variety used to make bread and ramen noodles.     

That’s going to put a damper on the international wheat market which was counting on a bumper harvest from Australia to ease tight inventories and cool food costs. While the crop is still likely to be a large one, torrential downpours and floods could turn an unusually hefty chunk of the harvest into grain fit only for animal feed, and reduce the quantity that’s suitable for milling into flour.