BEIJING, April 19 (UPI) -- China's foreign direct investments in March rose 5.65 percent year-on-year to $12.4 billion, the second straight monthly increase, the Commerce Ministry said.
The ministry said the consecutive monthly jump after declining for eight straight months indicated global confidence in China's economy, the world's second largest after the United States.
The February FDI inflows totaled $8.21 billion, up 6.32 percent from the same month of last year.
Ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said the government expects steady growth in FDI in the coming months as a result of China's efforts to optimize its foreign investment structure, China Daily reported.
For the quarter ended in March, foreign direct investments were up 1.4 percent year-on-year to $29.9 billion, the ministry said. The quarterly numbers were affected by a 7.3 percent decline in January to $9.27 billion.
For all of last year, the investments totaled $111.72 billion, down 3.7 percent from 2011.
"The Chinese government, newly elected by the National People's Congress in March, recently sent a positive signal to foreign companies in which they were welcomed to play a key role, rather than a marginal role, in China's next stage of development and reform," Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told China Daily.
China's new Premier Li Keqiang recently told a meeting of executives of multinational companies his government plans to expand domestic consumption and further open up the country to foreign businesses.