TOKYO, May 19 (Xinhua) -- Japan's core private-sector machinery orders in March surged a seasonally adjusted 19.1 percent on monthly basis to 936.7 billion yen (about 6.22 billion U.S. dollars), the Japanese government said Monday, suggesting the consumption tax hike from April 1 promoted companies to bring forward investment before it.
The orders, widely regarded as a leading indicator of capital spending, showed the strongest increase since comparable data became available in April 2005, the Cabinet Office said.
The government also upgraded its basic assessment of the orders, saying they are "on a growth trend." Last month, it said the orders were "showing a standstill in their growth trend."
In March, orders from the manufacturing sector sharply rose 23. 7 percent from the previous month to 384.6 billion yen, while those from nonmanufacturers increased 8.5 percent to 515.1 billion yen.
Overseas demand for overall Japanese machinery, an indicator of future exports, climbed 3.2 percent to 942.9 billion yen.
But some analysts feared that the consumption tax hike would choke personal spending and in turn weigh on investments and the orders. The Cabinet Office estimated that the core machinery orders would rise only 0.4 percent in the second quarter of 2014, compared with 4.2 percent growth in the first quarter.