This is the first positive growth since 3Q12.
Concerns on investment growth outlook in the first quarter have eased given the strong imports recorded.
According to DBS Group Research, imports of capital goods jumped almost 20% in March this year, bringing its first quarterly growth to 6.5%.
"While this near-20% growth may be a one-off, given the surge in ship purchases for the month, note that 1Q17 is the first quarter with positive import growth of capital goods since 3Q12. If this positive growth were to be sustained, it is clearly a sign that investment growth has gained momentum this year," DBS said.
Meanwhile, imports of intermediate goods jumped some 15% in the past month, bringing overall quarterly growth to 18.1%.
Even imports of consumer goods had a bumper month, up 42% in March 2017. While there were some high base effects due to the pent-up demand in early-2016, the decline in imports of consumer goods in January and February 17 triggered some doubts about the outlook on consumption this year.
"The March 17 data has more than offset the decline in Jan-Feb17. At this juncture, we see no reason why private consumption growth should fall below its 5% trend. Indeed, if investment and export growth were to gain stronger momentum this year, we should see faster consumption growth as well," DBS said
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