Key indicators in the Slovenian textile, apparel and leather industries have registered a year-on-year decrease for the first half of 2003, with no signs of improvement for the second half according to the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce.

Leather processing industry output dropped by 17.6 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier, while apparel industry output decreased almost as sharply by 16.1 per cent year-on-year.

Textile industry output lowered by 9.3 per cent for the first six months, compared to the same period last year.

Productivity, meanwhile, dropped 3.5 per cent, 3.8 per cent and 12.9 per cent year-on-year in the textile, apparel and leather processing industries respectively.

Exports of textiles, clothing and leather also decreased 2.5 per cent for the first half, compared to the same period a year ago, to EUR539 million.

Chamber of Commerce spokesperson Joze Smole put the decreases down to global recession and the restructuring of sector companies, while trade union spokesperson Anton Rozman blamed high production costs.

Slovenia's textile industry is expected to face further difficulties, especially in exporting to current free trade partners in the former Yugoslavia, after the country's accession to the European Union in May 2004.