Imports bounced back to a positive and double-digit growth in January 2016 from its previous month’s decline with higher purchases of capital goods, raw materials and intermediate goods, and consumer goods, according to the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA).

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) reported today that total payments for imported goods increased by 30.8 percent in January 2016, reversing December 2015’s 25.8-percent decline.

“This imports growth is the highest level reached since November 2010. Significantly, the value of imported capital goods, a leading indicator for strong economic activity, grew by 80.4 percent in January 2016. This was the highest monthly year-on-year increase of capital goods since September 1996,” said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Emmanuel F. Esguerra.

Imports of capital goods accounted for 37.7 percent of total merchandise imports for the period. It has been increasing by double-digits since February 2015, except for a brief respite in August 2015.

“This capital goods-driven surge in imports in January 2016 is a good indication that investor confidence in the country remains high. The continued increase in capital formation is expected to come from the expansion of public and private construction, along with durable equipment investments,” the Cabinet official said.

Also, import payments for raw materials and intermediate goods increased by 12.0 percent to US$2.5 billion in January 2016 on the back of growth in semi-processed raw materials (19.6%), notably, manufactured goods (32.6%) and materials & accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment (19.6%).

“The double-digit growth in imports of semi-processed raw materials, particularly manufactured goods, since the second half of 2015 indicates that there is a growing domestic market. This bodes well for industrial production. Likewise, the higher purchase of materials and accessories for the manufacture of electrical equipment, which is used as an intermediate good for semiconductors, also has a positive effect on electronics exports,” said Esguerra, who is also NEDA Director-General.

Meanwhile, imports of consumer goods increased by 29.3 percent to US$1.0 billion in January 2016 due to higher spending for both durable goods (43.2%) and non-durable goods (15.6%) during the period.

“With the exception of the Philippines, all other ten selected Asian economies saw a decrease in imports in January 2016, with South Korea, Singapore, and China experiencing the steepest declines,” he said.

As for imports source, China, Japan, and the United States of America continue to be the country’s top sources in January 2016.