China's textile and clothing exports are expected to increase 20% to $186bn this year, according to local media reports today (11 August), reaching record levels despite forecasts of slower growth in the second half of the year.

Citing Zhang Xi'an, secretary-general of China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Textiles (CCCT), the China Daily newspaper said exports will be higher than before the financial crisis.

The country's textile and clothing exports peaked at $185.2bn in 2008, but fell 9.8% to $167bn last year.

The latest data from China's Customs shows textile and garments rose 27% in the first seven months this year to $109.67bn, the paper said, compared with the same period last year.

However, export growth is likely to slow in the second half of this year due to higher raw material and labour costs and tighter margins.