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Global defense exports set to slip but US still top seller


A U.S. soldier stands guard as a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft is moved, on the eve of the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 18, 2017.

Pascal Rossignol | Reuters

A U.S. soldier stands guard as a Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II aircraft is moved, on the eve of the 52nd Paris Air Show at Le Bourget Airport near Paris, France June 18, 2017.

In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Algeria and Iraq kept up the pace of buying, with a combined import spend of $15.2 billion on defense in 2016.

“Saudi Arabia’s 2016 imports grew from $4.9 billion to $8.3 billion – an increase that is three times more than the entire Sub-Saharan African market,” Moores said.

“As the Middle East has assets against which it can borrow until oil prices recover, we expect to see sustained growth in defense spending for the next few years,” the analyst added.

The report identifies Saudi Arabia and India as the top global import opportunities over the coming decade with an estimated $27 and $22 billion of orders expected from each country, respectively.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly called on European states to up their defense spend. IHS claimed military imports throughout Western Europe rose from $7.9 billion in 2013 to $8.9 billion in 2016. This is still some way off 2009’s $12 billion peak.

“While we don’t foresee a return to pre-2008 import commitments, Western Europe finally saw a return to growth in defense spending in 2015 which will translate into sustained deliveries in the next couple of years,” Moores said.

In Eastern Europe, Russia remains a strong exporter with an estimated $6.3 billion of sales across 2016. That number is a slight fall on 2015 but Russia has a strong order backlog stretching to 2020.

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