World trade suffered the biggest decline in more than 70 years in 2009, but is set to rebound with 9.5% growth in 2010, according to the WTO. The global economic crisis sparked a 12.2% contraction in the volume of global trade, though measured in US dollars, global exports fell by a whopping 23% from the 2008 peak, due mainly to falling oil prices and a sharp contraction in global demand for all types of goods, especially consumer durables (e.g. automobiles) and investment goods (e.g. industrial machinery).

Though China's exports fell by 16% in value in 2009, China finally became the world's largest exporter in the same year, a mantle it can be expected to hold for the foreseeable future.