Covid-19 Subdues Growth in Global Arms Industry – The Wall Street Journal


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The diplomatic breakthrough that brought last summer’s normalization of relations between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain was also seen as a potential boon for the international defense industry.

But prospects for direct transfers of Israeli defense technology to the Arab countries instead have lagged amid the coronavirus pandemic—one of many factors contributing to reduced defense sales across the board.

Overall, defense analyst Janes expects the industry to grow this year, although at its lowest rate—just 0.7%—since 2013, with total global spending on defense at nearly $1.8 trillion. Janes expects significant drops in Africa, the Middle East and Russia, with no growth in Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America.

These are tangible signs of how the coronavirus, and efforts to combat it, have affected the defense industry—usually resilient given its financial and geopolitical importance—as governments have deemed the public-health crisis a national-security issue.

Logistical and economic hurdles have disrupted sales, development and manufacturing. Many defense companies have been rocked by rising costs and production irregularities. And governments have poured trillions of dollars into combating the economic and public-health effects of Covid-19.

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