The Philippines said that imports in January surged 30.3% year-on-year, their biggest increase in seven years,on the back of a pick-up in world trade.
Shipments reached $4.26 billion, up from $3.27 billion in January last year, the National Statistics Office said.
The figure was also a 9.4% increase from the $3.89 billion in December.
"This is a combination of a low base, coupled with recovery in exports, which is very dependent on imports," Jose Vistan of AB Capital Securities told Dow Jones Newswires.
Analysts said the upturn in imports was another sign that exports were recovering after the effects of the global financial crisis.
Locally-produced shipments rely heavily on imported components and a rise in imports is usually a sign that exporters are enjoying heavier orders.
"We believe that imports will continue to rise and exports should remain underpinned as well given improved external demand," Prakriti Sofat, regional economist with Barclays Capital said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010