Italian textile machinery exports rose 6% in the first half to more than EUR941m (US$1.19bn), according to ACIMIT, the association which represents Italian textile machinery manufacturers.

Sales have shown particular growth in China and India, which together with Turkey make up the sector's core export markets.

ACIMIT president Paolo Banfi said: "After a few years with negative figures, our exports are now on the rise, thanks mostly to a substantial recovery in investments in many Asian countries.

"An encouraging note for a sector characterised by a strong level of innovation and a high percentage of sales abroad (almost 80% of total production)".

Italy's textile machinery industry numbers about 300 manufacturers, with 22,000 workers and an overall annual turnover of EUR2,532bn euros.