Global military expenditure hits fresh record high, driven by sharp rise in European spending

Mon, 24 Apr 2023 8:01 GMT
Europe's military spending rose by 13% in 2022 while Ukraine's military expenditure hit highest single-year rise of 640%, data shows.
Global military expenditure hits fresh record high, driven by sharp rise in European spending

World military expenditure reached an all-time high of $2.24 trillion in 2022, rising 3.7% from the previous year, as Europe saw its steepest year-on-year increase in military spending in at least 30 years, according to data released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Europe's military spending rose by 13% in 2022 compared to the previous year and was largely accounted for by Russian and Ukrainian spending, the international security think tank said in a statement.

"The continuous rise in global military expenditure in recent years is a sign that we are living in an increasingly insecure world," said Nan Tian, a senior researcher with the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.

"States are bolstering military strength in response to a deteriorating security environment, which they do not foresee improving in the near future," said Tian.

Central and Western Europe spent $345 billion last year, for the first time surpassing spending in 1989 as the Cold War was ending.

Finland's military expenditure saw the sharpest rise with 36%, followed by Lithuania with 27%, Sweden with 12% and Poland with 11%.

"The invasion of Ukraine had an immediate impact on military spending decisions in Central and Western Europe. This included multi-year plans to boost spending from several governments," said Diego Lopes da Silva, a senior researcher with the SIPRI Military Expenditure and Arms Production Program.

He noted that it is reasonable to expect military expenditure in Central and Western Europe to keep rising in the years ahead.

Russia's military spending rose by an estimated 9.2% last year, reaching $86.4 billion, with the country climbing to third place from fifth spot. It was equivalent to 4.1% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2022, up from 3.7% of GDP in 2021.

Military expenditure by Ukraine reached $44 billion in 2022.

"At 640%, this was the highest single-year increase in a country's military expenditure ever recorded in SIPRI data. As a result of the increase and the war-related damage to Ukraine's economy, the military burden shot up to 34% of GDP in 2022 from 3.2% in 2021," it said in the statement.

US world's biggest military spender

US military spending totaled $877 billion in 2022, up 0.7% from the previous year.

The country accounted for 39% of total global military expenditure, ranking at the top.

"The increase in the USA's military spending in 2022 was largely accounted for by the unprecedented level of financial military aid it provided to Ukraine. Given the scale of US spending, even a minor increase in percentage terms has a significant impact on the level of global military expenditure," said Tian.

According to the data, US military aid to Ukraine totaled $19.9 billion in 2022 -- the largest amount of military aid given by any country to a single beneficiary in any year since the Cold War.

China followed the US as the second-largest military spender with $292 billion last year, up 4.2% compared to 2021. The country's military expenditure has increased for 28 consecutive years, SIPRI said.

Japan's military expenditure rose by 5.9% in 2022, reaching $46 billion or 1.1% of its GDP. Last year's military spending was the highest in Japan since 1960, driven by a national security strategy published last year.

India and Saudi Arabia were the fourth and fifth largest military spenders last year with $81.4 billion and $75 billion, respectively.

NATO members' military expenditure grow 0.9%

According to SIPRI, the real-term rise in global military expenditure last year was slowed by the effects of inflation, which saw the highest levels in decades in many countries.

Last year saw a 0.9% rise in NATO members' military expenditure, reaching $1.23 trillion.

The UK had the highest military spending in Central and Western Europe with $68.5 billion, while an estimated $2.5 billion of this total was financial aid to Ukraine.

Türkiye's military spending stood at $10.6 billion in 2022, showing a fall of 26% from 2021 levels.


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