China Slows Military Spending Growth as Economy Weakens

Smallest Single Year Increase Expected Since 2010

by Jason Ditz, March 05, 2017

The common modern narrative of keeping military spending pegged to a certain percentage of GDP has given way to years of double-digit spending increases in China, but those seem to be coming to an end, with the next military budget expected to grow at a slower rate, reflective of an economic slowdown.

Estimates of a 7% annual growth rate still sound like a lot, but are the lowest China has experienced since 2010, and reflective of China’s recent announcement that they expect growth to be in the realm of 6.5%, which itself would be enviable in most nations, but is slow for China.

China’s military has the second largest budget in the world, though only a fraction of the United States’ spending. China, however, has kept their GDP percentage comparatively low, a healthy 1.3%, while the United States is spending well in excess of 3% of its GDP on military, and plans a near 10% increase in 2018 despite GDP growth being only in the 2.2% range.

As with the US military and it’s record spending, there’s never an increase that’s “enough” by the brass’ reckoning, and reports are already quoting a lot of Chinese military figures unhappy with the mere 7% increase in spending, believing it is insufficient.

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