According to market researcher Syed Rashid Ali, the domestic and export demand for ceramic tableware in Bangladesh is rising rapidly, resulting in a widening the gap between its demand and supply. He cites a Prime Bank Ltd. study showing the that the demand-supply gap of 21,257 metric tons in fiscal 2007-08 will rise to 22,544 tons in four years.
Bangladesh comparative advantage in manufacturing ceramic tableware is because of its ready access to fuel (gas) and a plentiful, experienced workforce. As result, the nation has been gaining ground on traditional tableware suppliers, such as Japan, UK, Germany and Italy.
“Bangladesh exported ceramic tableware worth over $33 million in fiscal 2008-09, of which over 80 percent was destined to Italy, UK, USA, Germany, France, Canada and Sweden,” says Ali.
According to the bank research,”There are nine ceramic tableware manufacturing companies in the country with a total capacity of nearly 24,000 tons a year as of 2008, of which an average of 48 percent is being exported and the remaining 52 percent is used in the domestic market,” reports Ali.
He notes that besides growing export levels, domestic demand is a major factor, with ceramic tableware becoming a common household item in Bangladesh with a continuous rise in use among middle income groups.