China's apparel exports have got off to a strong start in the current year, with latest figures showing a surge of 13.4% year-on-year in January.

According to data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC), apparel shipments from the country totalled CNY110.56bn (US$18.2bn), while textile exports jumped 11.7% to CNY64.44bn (US$10.6bn) from a year earlier.

The China Cotton Association also says that with textile exports remaining at a high level in January, and finished product inventory less than expected, the price of textile products was "raised slightly" during the month.

As reported on just-style at the beginning of February, China's exports of textile products and apparel reached US$283.9bn in 2013, up 11.4% from 2012, compared with only a 2.8% growth year-on-year in 2012.

And Chinese textile and clothing industry exports are expected to grow by at least by 8% year-on-year in 2014 thanks to the recovering US and European Union (EU) markets.

High domestic cotton prices have also been inflating costs for Chinese textile and clothing producers.

The Chinese government began selling off some of its national cotton reserves in November, and by Friday (14 February) had offered 1.33m tons for sale, the China Cotton Association said.

There are now plans to replace the national cotton reserve programme with a system of subsidies, which would help narrow the difference between Chinese cotton prices and the cotton price on the global market - largely lowering the cost for Chinese manufacturers.