GENEVA (Kyodo) Exports are expected to fall between 0.5 and 1.6 percent in terms of volume in 2011 due to the spreading effects of the March 11 disaster, the World Trade Organization said in a report Thursday.

“Damage to public infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways and telecommunications systems, can cause disruptions to the export supply chain,” the WTO said.

Japanese imports are, however, projected to increase between 0.4 and 1.3 percent this year as “the required materials, technology or skills (for reconstruction) may need to come from abroad,” the WTO said.

The WTO said global exports surged 14.5 percent in 2010 in terms of volume, rebounding to levels seen just before the global financial crisis in September 2008, and are expected to grow a further 6.5 percent in 2011.

The figure for 2010 marked the highest rise since comparable data became available in 1950. The rise follows a 12 percent slump in 2009.

“Considering the depressed level of world output in 2009, growth in this range or higher would not have been surprising in 2010,” the WTO said.

However, the winding down of stimulus measures and fiscal retrenchment in some countries, coupled with high oil prices and persistent unemployment in developing countries, “combined to make trade and output grow more slowly than they might otherwise have done,” the WTO said.

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