It seems austerity is hitting weapons sales.
As the International Defence Exhibition opened in the United Arab Emirate, we learned that in 2011 there was a fall in sales by the 100 biggest weapons makers for the first time since the mid-1990s.
That came as economies slowed and there was a wind-down in military equipment purchases for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
In 2011 sales totalled 307 billion euros, which was down five percent from 2010. The US dominated with 60 percent, Europe had 30 percent of those sales.
Chinese-based firms were not included due to a lack of available data.
The figures were compiled by a think-tank, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
The market remains massive however. This year’s International Defence Exhibition in Abu Dhabi has over 1,100 companies from 59 countries participating.
The Middle East is still being outperformed by Eastern Europe, but has stepped up its military expenditures.
The region has some of the largest military spenders in the world in relation to defence spending per capita.
Algeria, for example, increased its defence budget in 2011 by 44 percent to $2.5 billion
due to worries over a violent spillover from Libya.
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