Garment and textile exports from the Philippines plunged nearly nine per cent year-on-year in the first eight months of 2002 to $1.9 billion, new figures released by trade chiefs showed on Thursday.

Statistics from the Garments and Textile Export Board revealed exports to the key US market slumped 11.9 per cent to $1.4bn but exports to the EU rose about four per cent to $220.6 million.

Officials said they were pleased with the figures as they were an improvement on July's results when exports fell almost 10 per cent year-on-year.

They added clothing and textile exports to non-traditional markets including South Korea and China surged 332 per cent and 121 per cent, respectively, which more than offset falls to leading non-quota markets such as Japan and the UAE.