Business & Finance: Last Word in Jute

The burlap shortage, which had U.S. bag-users hot & bothered months ago, was no longer a worry last week. Reason: cotton-and paper-bag production had zoomed fast enough to plug the entire gap. Cotton bags are just as good as burlap; the only catch is that they cost 10-25% more (17¢ for a cotton potato bag v. 15¢ for burlap).

The burlap scare started when Jap warships swooped into the Bay of Bengal, threatened to cut supply lines to India—source of 99% of world jute, from which burlap is made. With U.S. burlap stockpiles down...

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