Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China edged down 1.5 percent from a year earlier to USD to 12.24 billion in March, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said Thursday. It marked the first contraction since January 2013 and followed a 10.4 percent expansion in the first two months of this year, according to figures released by the ministry. However, in the first quarter, the world's second-biggest economy's FDI inflow grew 5.5 percent on the year to USD 31.55 billion. FDI data excludes financial sectors. FDI from Japan plunged 47.2 percent in the January-March period from a year earlier, while that from the US and European Union fell 1.9 percent and 24.5 percent, respectively, the ministry said. But investment from ASEAN countries increased 7.8 percent. Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said the March drop was normal, attributing the fluctuation to changes in individual investment projects and macro economic policies such as the recent yuan volatility, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency. "The fluctuation won't affect the steady growth of foreign investments for the whole year, while China will remain a very important investment destination for global investors," Shen was quoted as saying at a press conference in Beijing.