Global arms sales rise for first time since 2010

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South Korea's arms industry accounted for 2.2% of global top 100 producers' sales in 2016, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) said in a report listing the world's "top 100" military services.

Overall, global sales of arms and military services have increased 38 percent since SIPRI began analyzing the data in 2002.

American defense firm Lockheed Martin - the world's largest producer - saw sales surge 11% in 2016, thanks to increased deliveries of its F-35 fighter and its acquisition of helicopter producer Sikorsky.

The rise in sales and the number of USA military services companies ranked in the SIPRI Top 100 are noticeable trends in 2016. This was the case for Leidos, for example, which acquired Lockheed Martin's information technology and technical services businesses in 2016. However, SIPRI notes that the trends for arms sales in the largest arms-producing countries (the UK, France, Italy and Germany) showed clear divergences.

United States companies' arms sales grew by 4% in 2016 at a combined total of $217.2bn and Germany saw a 6.6% rise in arms sales for the same year due to demands in Europe, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

She said South Korean weapons producers have seen a steady sales increase over the past few years, supported also by the Asian country's economic growth.

So who benefits the most from the growing demand?

Britain's decision to withdraw from the European Union seems to have had no impact on arms sale in the region.

While consumer purchases are included in the sales figures, national governments are by far the largest purchasers of arms and weapons systems, according to the report.

U.S. companies dominate global arms sale with 58 per cent share. Lockheed Martin saw a 10 percent increase in sales in 2016, according to data released today. Russian companies accounted for 7.1% of the overall total. "The increasing nuclear weapons capability in North Korea has led to major investments in South Korea", the institutes's senior researcher, Pieter Wezeman, said. This growth is primarily led by U.S. companies who control over half of world's arms sales. The highest ranked Russian company in the SIPRI Top 100 for 2016 is United Aircraft Corporation, which is placed 13th. Sales by South Korean firms increased by over 20% in 2016, to $8.4 billion.

The SIPRI has placed South Korea among the emerging producers, which also covers Indian and Brazilian companies.

The study comes amid heightened regional unease over North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

South Korea is turning "to its own arms industry to supply its demand for weapons" and "aiming to realize its goal of becoming a major arms exporter", SIPRI Senior Researcher Siemon Wezeman said in a statement.

On the other hand, Japan reported negative increase of -6.4 per cent. Japan is clubbed with Australia, Israel, Poland, Singapore and Ukraine under other established producers' category by the SIPRI.

Global arms industry trades in green.

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