DOMESTIC export and re-export volumes were up in January over the same month last year, well ahead of the expectations of some economists. The strong rise in domestic volumes, according to Department of Census and Statistics figures released yesterday, was due to a surge in textile fabrics exports, which climbed 61 per cent year-on-year. Total domestic export volume improved 3.3 per cent, compared with average forecasts for the year of between zero and two per cent. Re-export volume surged 28 per cent over January last year. Economists had expected average growth of 25 per cent over the year. Taken together, domestic export and re-export volume was up 21 per cent while imports climbed 16 per cent. Comment was split on the strong growth. Seasonal cycles could be the cause of the abnormally high volume rises, said Peregrine chief economist Selina Lin. ''With Chinese New Year coming so early, it is difficult to read these figures. We really need to take January and February together to make proper comparisons,'' she said. This was backed up by a government spokesman who warned: ''Caution should be exercised in interpreting the changes in the volume of trade for a single month at the beginning of each year which may be affected by the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays.'' A different view was taken at S.G. Warburg Securities. Regional economist Enzio von Pfeil put the rise down to a surge in real growth on the back of increased economic activity at home and abroad. ''This is real growth. We have China continuing strongly, we have the United States now having turned the corner and Japan turning the corner. ''I would say this is part of an underlying trend of growth in domestic and re-export growth for Hongkong. It is very encouraging,'' he said. His evidence for this was the 28 per cent drop in domestic exports in January last year over January 1991 and the two per cent slide in re-exports. ''Of course, there are seasonal adjustments wherever you look, but what you must look at is the long-term underlying trend and this suggests to me there is real growth,'' said Mr von Pfeil. Over the 1991-92 period, textile fabric exports were down 54 per cent, a sharp contrast with the 1992-93 figures released by the Government yesterday. Footwear was down 59 per cent, radios and textile made-ups were off 48 per cent, respectively, while handbags were up 32 per cent. For the latest period, textile made-ups and related articles rose 34 per cent, radios 31.8 per cent and electronic components 40 per cent. Footwear continued to decline, falling 35.7 per cent. Travel goods and handbags were also down by 52.6 per cent and domestic electrical appliances were off 38.9 per cent. Under re-exports, by end-user group, foodstuffs were up 60 per cent, consumer goods 26 per cent, raw materials and semi-manufactures 29 per cent, fuels 3.3 per cent and capital goods 28 per cent. The strong growth in domestic high-quality component exports indicated that manufacture in the territory is moving into more high value products compared with the low value component products making up a significant proportion of mainland-originated goods, according to economists.