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Supply crunch turns Japanese users on to foreign polypropylene

Imports soar as demand rises amid domestic production cuts

Polypropylene is used in a wide range of products from food-packaging film to autoparts.

TOKYO -- Japan's imports of polypropylene are surging as autoparts makers, household goods manufacturers and producers of food-packaging film scramble to make up for a supply shortage.

The sharp upturn began in November, when imports of the polymer doubled on the year to 38,765 tons. The volume has been rising since, with the January figure reaching 47,213 tons -- more than triple the year-earlier level.

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