Continued demand for capital and consumer goods drove imports growth of 11.7% in March this year, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said Wednesday.
The agency reported that imports reached 6.4bn US dollars from 5.7bn US dollars in the same period last year.
"This is on account of higher purchases of capital goods at 24.1% and consumer goods at 39.4%," the agency said.
"The continued strength of merchandise imports and the fact that it is fueled by spending on capital goods bodes well for the economy," said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel Esguerra.
"This growth also mirrors the positive prospects of the economy that are expected to be sustained for the rest of the year," he said.
"Given the general sluggishness of import activities in the region, government support for higher spending on infrastructure is critical not only because it supports domestic demand, but more importantly, because it increases the country's attractiveness to investors," Esguerra said.
The agency said imports for capital goods continued on its double-digit growth path for the seventh consecutive month by reaching 2.1 bn US dollars in March.
"This bodes well for robust economic activity," said Esguerra, also the NEDA director general.
Similarly, the agency said imports of consumer goods increased to 1.2 bn US dollars in March due to higher spending on both durable goods and non-durable goods during the period.
"Expected to fuel imports growth in the near term will be the continued expansion of public and private construction, along with investments in durable equipment," Esguerra said.
In terms of market source, the agency said imported goods from Thailand rose significantly by 84.2%, overtaking China and Japan, and replacing the United States as one of the top three import sources since August 2014.