Garment and textile exports from the Philippines fell 7.1 per cent for the first two months of 2004, the country's Garment and Textile Export Board (GTEB) has reported.

The decline, which saw total exports fall to US$471 million compared to US$507m in the same period last year, was blamed on a temporary slowdown in the United States market.

However, GTEB executive director Serafin Juliano said exports to the Filipino textile industry's biggest customer were likely to recover when shipments for the fall season began.

"The resurgence in the US market brought about by rising consumer confidence will likely boost our garment exports in the coming months," he said.

The US is the destination for, on average, about 71 per cent of the Philippines' textile exports.