China's overall textiles export volume is expected to hit an all-time high this year, even a little higher than the levels seen before the financial crisis, despite an estimated growth slowdown in the second half of the year.
"Textile exports this year are expected to increase 20 percent to $186 billion," said Zhang Xi'an, secretary-general of China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles (CCCT).
According to Zhang, prior to the financial crisis, China's textiles export experienced continuous growth and jumped to a record high of $185.2 billion in 2008. But, affected by the global economic recession, textile exports fell 9.8 percent to $167 billion last year.
Data released by China's Customs on Tuesday shows that the nation exported $109.67 billion of textile goods and garments in the first seven months this year, up 23 percent over the same period last year.
However, Zhang of the CCCT pointed out that textiles export growth would slow in the latter half of this year.
Garment exports will be weak because China's garment manufacturers are suffering from tighter margins due to yuan's appreciation, as well as increased raw material and labor costs.
By the end of July, cotton and chemical fiber prices had risen 50 percent compared with a year earlier, according to CCCT.
"Garment exporters dare not to take all of the orders they get from overseas, as international export prices have not rebounded enough to offset the impact of growing production costs," said Zhang.
According to the Customs, garment exports reached $66.83 billion in the first seven months, up 17.4 percent from the same period last year, while that of textiles goods grew 32.8 percent to $42.84 billion.
At present, China's garment products are mainly exported to Europe, the United States and Japan, which account for 70 percent of China's garment exports. Meanwhile, textiles including raw materials and semi-finished products are mostly exported to Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangladesh.
"Increased exports of raw materials to countries with cheaper labor costs will accelerate the transition of China's textile industry from a labor-intensive to a value-added one," said Zhang.