Machinery orders unexpectedly rose for a third straight month in April, signalling solid business investment, although analysts expect an intensifying Sino-U.S. trade war and global slowdown to hurt capital spending plans in the coming quarters.

The upbeat data may solidify expectations that a planned sales tax hike will go ahead in October and offers some support for an economy hampered by faltering exports, slowing corporate earnings and factory activity.

Cabinet Office data released Wednesday showed core machinery orders, a highly volatile data series regarded as an indicator of capital spending in the coming six to nine months, increased 5.2 percent in April from the previous month.