Thursday, official data showed that consumer prices in Singapore continued to rise at a slower pace in March, reflecting a fall in transport and communication costs amid the weakening economy.

Singapore's Department of Statistics said the consumer price index rose 1.6% year-on-year in March, slower than the 1.9% acceleration in the preceding month. The increase matched economists' expectations. This is the sixth consecutive month that inflation has eased.

Elsewhere, the Singapore Tourism Board announced that the visitor arrivals dropped 13.2% year-on-year to 790,000 in March, compared with a 15.2% fall in the previous month.

Consumer prices in Hong Kong rose 1.2% year-on-year in March, at a faster pace compared to a 0.8% rise in February. The increase came in line with economists' expectations.

Japanese investors bought a net 1.03 trillion yen on foreign bonds last week, the Ministry of Finance said.

Industrial production in Taiwan slipped 26.03% year-on-year in March, compared to a 27.14% drop in February, the Department of Statistics, Ministry of Economic Affairs said. Economists expected a drop of 30.2%.

A significant decline in Japanese imports indicate that the contribution from net exports to the first quarter gross domestic product should be substantially smaller than the minus 3 percentage point in the fourth quarter last year, BNP Paribas economists said in a note.

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