South Korea's textile exports are expected to slide nearly 13 per cent to $16.1 billion this year, but will pick up slightly in the next 12 months, industry chiefs claimed on Tuesday.

The Korea Federation of Textile Industries (KOFOTI) said it expects textile exports to top $16.7 billion in 2002 but fears that cut-throat competition among firms may hamper the industry's chances of recovery.

The federation also forecast a loss of market share in the cotton yarn industry to foreign competitors, while synthetic fabric exports next year will depend on the US economic recovery and political stability in the Middle East.

It added that textile imports in 2002 are expected to top $5bn, up 4.2 per cent from this year.