Global arms sales sharply increased in 2011 compared to 2010
The latest data covering global arms sales shows that sale of arms in 2011 increased to around $85 billion, 84% of which went to developing countries. This was almost double the arms sales compared to 2010 which was the lowest since 2004.
One major factor for the increase was the US sales of arms to Saudi Arabia. Most other major arms sellers otherwise saw a decrease in sales and the trend in recent years had been declining sales.
The global financial crisis has affected many countries, and many developing countries started to see a decrease in purchases in the last few years. However, just 10 developing countries account for some 85% of all sales to developing countries in the period 2004 to 2011, which the data covers. Saudi Arabia tops that list followed by India and the United Arab Emirates. (As well as concerns about some of the regimes in the top buyers, some of this spending is also said to be due to modernizing efforts.)
Updated graphs and charts on arms sales data are provided here.
The arms trade is big business. The 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council (US, Russia, France, United Kingdom and China), together with Germany and Italy, account for approximately 85% of all arms sold between 2004 and 2011.
Some of the arms sold go to regimes where human rights violations will occur. Corruption often accompanies arms sales due to the large sums of money involved.