China's textile and apparel exports jumped to US$ 73.5 billion in the first half of 2007, up 17.47 percent from the same period last year, the nation's top economic planning agency said on Wednesday.
Exports reached US$ 16.2 billion in June, an increase of 24.49 percent, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC).
The NDRC noted the export value totaled US$ 96.8 billion between September last year and June this year.
The NDRC has predicted the nation's exports of textiles and apparel would grow at a slower rate of 16 percent to top US$ 165 billion this year.
The projected increase is 6.6 percentage points lower than the growth rate of last year, which the NDRC attributed to the surging prices of raw materials, lower export tax rebate rates, the rising yuan and trade frictions.
International cotton prices have risen rapidly due to the expectation of large increases in cotton exports by China and boosted by the price hikes in other agricultural products, said the NDRC.
China imported 1.18 million tons of cotton between January and June, 52.01 percent less than the same period last year, according to customs statistics.
The NDRC said local textile and clothing exporters would continue to lose their price advantages as the yuan was expected to continue to appreciate and squeeze profit margins for low-added-value textile exporters.
Meanwhile, export rebate rates for footwear and headgear dropped from 13 to 11 percent, and those for fabrics from seven to five percent from July 1.
Estimates from the China National Textile and Apparel Council said a two-percentage-point decline in export rebates normally cost the industry 4.8 billion yuan in profits (US$ 634.4 million) and drove down profit margins by 0.26 percentage points.
(Xinhua News Agency July 19 2007)