As the Covid-19 pandemic reduced spending on such things as entertainment and travel, some saw their savings accounts grow more than during normal times. Representational image: iStock

For the first time in seven years, US military spending has risen, according to a report released Monday by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Worldwide military spending also rose by 2.6% to $1.8 trillion overall last year, said SIPRI.

The global figure has risen for the second year in a row, bringing military spending to its highest level since 1988.

“The increase in US spending was driven by the implementation from 2017 of new arms procurement programmes under the Trump administration,” said Aude Fleurant, director of SIPRI’s Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) programme.

The US figure alone of $649 billion was as much as the next eight highest military budgets.

But Chinese and US spending helped push the overall spending figures for the year higher, said the report.

China’s spending has risen 83% since 2009, bringing it up to second place, ahead of Saudi Arabia, India – which is modernizing its armed forces – and France.

China has spent 1.9% of its GDP on its military since 2013.

Russia meanwhile dropped out of the top five spenders, with its military budget declining since 2016, said the report.

Western countries’ economic sanctions against Russia, in place since 2014 because of its conflict with Ukraine, have hit the country’s military budget.

In Ukraine, however, military spending rose 21% on the previous year to $4.8 billion, said SIPRI.

– with reporting by AFP

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