11 April 2011 09:48

World military spending slows in 2010: Swedish researchers

STOCKHOLM. April 11. KAZINFORM World military expenditure in 2010 is estimated to have been 1,630 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 1.3 percent in real terms, due to the effects of the global economic recession two years ago, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said on Monday.

According to Xinhua, it is the slowest annual rate of increase since the surge in global military expenditure began after 2001, SIPRI said in a report.

The annual increase of world military expenditure averaged 5.1 percent between 2001 and 2009, according to SIPRI.

"In many cases, the falls or slower increases represent a delayed reaction to the global financial and economic crisis that broke in 2008," the institute said.

In Europe, where military spending fell by 2.8 percent, governments began to address soaring budget deficits, having previously enacted stimulus packages in 2009. Cuts were particularly substantial in the smaller, more vulnerable economies of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as those with particular budget difficulties such as Greece.

In Asia, the slower increase of 1.4 percent in military spending in 2010 partly readjusts growth in military spending to economic growth rates.

The military spending in United States also slowed to 2.8 percent in 2010 compared to an annual average increase of 7.4 percent between 2001 and 2009. But its increase accounted for 19.6 billion dollars of the 20.6-billion-dollar global increase.

"The USA has increased its military spending by 81 percent since 2001, and now accounts for 43 percent of the global total. At 4.8 percent of GDP, U.S. military spending in 2010 represents the largest economic burden outside the Middle East," Sam Perlo-Freeman, head of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Project, said in the report.

The region with the largest increase in military spending was South America, with a 5.8 percent increase, reaching a total of 63.3 billion dollars, SIPRI added.

"This continuing increase in South America is surprising given the lack of real military threats to most states and the existence of more pressing social needs," said Carina Solmirano, Latin America Expert of the SIPRI Military Expenditure Project.

Part of the explanation for this rise is to be found in the strong economic growth the region has experienced in recent years, SIPRI said.

The Middle East spent 111 billion dollars on military expenditure in 2010, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2009 and the estimated spending in Africa increased by 5.2 percent. Established in 1966, SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

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