Japan's machinery orders rose 2.9 percent on month in March, slightly better than the 1.8 percent forecast from a Reuters poll of economists.
March orders rose 2.6 percent on-year. Moody's Analytics had forecast a rise of 2 percent on year, a rebound from a 0.4 percent slip in February.
For the January-to-March quarter, core machinery orders rose 6.3 percent on-quarter, with data showing April-to-June core orders expected to fall 7.4 percent on-quarter. Core orders data are usually highly volatile and regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months.
"Business investment should have finally started to recover again," Marcel Thieliant, an economist at Capital Economics, said in a note Monday, noting March orders reached their highest level since March 2014. "Business surveys show that firms have little spare capacity by past standards. We therefore think that business investment will continue to recover over the coming year."