09:55 Apr. 5, 2016
Threat posed by the IS and Russia's intentions following the crisis in Ukraine are among main reasons of the rise
World military expenditure totaled almost USD 7 trillion in 2015, an increase of 1% in real terms from 2014, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
"The increase reflects continuing growth in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe, and some Middle Eastern states. The decline in spending in the West is also leveling off. At the same time, spending decreased in Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Thus, the global military expenditure picture is mixed," SIPRI said in an update on April 5.
The United States remained by far the world's biggest spender in 2015, despite its expenditure falling by 2.4% to USD 6 billion. Among the other top spenders, China's expenditure rose by 7.4% to USD 5 billion, Saudi Arabia's grew by 5.7% to USD 2 billion—making it the world's third-largest spender—and Russia's increased by 7.5% to USD 4 billion.
Falling oil prices signal cuts to military expenditure, SIPRI said.
A combination of high oil prices and new oil discoveries and exploitation has contributed to a surge in military spending in many countries around the world in the past decade. However, the crash in oil prices that started in 2014 has begun to reverse this trend in many oil revenue-dependent countries. Further cuts in spending are expected in 2016.
The most dramatic oil revenue-related reductions in spending in 2015 were in Venezuela (–64%) and Angola (–42%). Decreases were also recorded in, among others, Bahrain, Brunei, Chad, Ecuador, Kazakhstan, Oman and South Sudan.
Despite declining oil revenues, several other oil-exporting countries continued to increase military spending in 2015. Many of these countries — notably Algeria, Azerbaijan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam — were involved in conflict or faced with heightening regional tensions.
However, Russia's expenditure was lower than projected in its budget, and Saudi Arabia's spending would have fallen but for the additional USD 3 billion cost of its military intervention in Yemen. Russia and Saudi Arabia are planning cuts in 2016.
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