Arms Sales Rose Worldwide by Nearly 5% in Market Dominated by US, Says New Report

Stockholm: Arms sales rose by nearly five per cent worldwide in 2018 in a market dominated by the United States, according to a new report published Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The turnover of the 100 biggest arms manufacturers came to $420 billion, thanks in large part to the US market, said the report. US manufacturers alone accounted for 59 per cent of the market, or a turnover of $246 billion, up 7.2 per cent on the previous year.

“This is a significant increase over one year considering the already high levels of US combined arms sales,” Aude Fleurant, the director of SIPRI's arms transfers and military expenditure programme, told AFP.

US firms were benefitting from the Trump administration's decision to modernise its armed services to reinforce its position against China and Russia. Russia was second in the rankings for arms production, with 8.6 per cent of the market, just ahead of the United Kingdom on 8.4 percent and France on 5.5 per cent.

The study did not include China, for which there was insufficient data, but SIPRI's research estimated that there were between three and seven Chinese businesses in the top 100 arms manufacturers.

Two major European companies, Airbus and MBDA were also responding to "demand due to ongoing armed conflicts and severe tensions in several regions", Fleurant added. China has spent 1.9 per cent of its gross domestic product on defence every year since 2013.

The top-ranked Russian firm, Almaz-Antei, jumped to ninth on the list with turnover of $9.6 billion — 18 per cent up on the previous year.

“This increase was based not only on strong domestic demand, but also on continuing growth in arms sales to other countries, in particular exports of the S-400 air defence system," said the report. One of the buyers of this system is NATO member Turkey, which took the deal despite a US threat of sanctions.