MANILA, Philippines - Net foreign direct investments surged nearly 80 percent in March, data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.
Net foreign direct investments of $476 million were recorded in March, 79 percent higher than the $266 million net inflow in the same month last year, the central bank said in a statement.
Net FDI inflows in the first quarter totalled $1.85 billion, 11.6 percent lower compared with the year-ago figure.
The Philippines is among the fastest growing economies in the world and has won investment grade status from all three major international credit rating agencies -- Fitch Ratings, Standard & Poor's, and Moody's Investors Service.
Despite its robust economic growth, the Philippines has only been able to attract paltry levels of FDI compared with its Southeast Asian peers due to poor infrastructure, high power costs and restrictions on foreign ownership in major industries and land acquisition by foreigners.
The Philippine senate approved on Monday a bill that will open the country's restricted banking sector to more foreign financial institutions.
Net equity capital investments in March surged nearly 270 percent to $332 million in March, coming mostly from the United States, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
The central bank recorded fresh investments in March in financial and insurance activities, manufacturing, real estate, mining and quarrying, and wholesale and retail trade.
Placements by foreign investors in debt instruments issued by their Philippine affiliates fell nearly 19 percent in March to $143 million from a year earlier.
The central bank expects net FDI of $2.6 billion this year. Net FDI last year totalled $3.9 billion, exceeding the central bank's forecast of $2.1 billion.