U.S. Arms Sales Top $66 Billion in 2011

In a new report from the Congressional Research Service, written by Richard F. Grimmett and Paul K. Kerr, the agency said that U.S. arms exports reached $66.3 billion, according to an account in The New York Times.  The news confirms how critical defense, airplane, and agricultural exports are to the overall American trade balance.

Shortage of many crops have driven the price of food up recently which means that as export tonnage may drop because of drought, dollar figures of exports may rise. Huge sales of airplanes by Boeing (NYSE: BA) have helped that portion of the export economy. The Congressional Research Service shows that the demand for U.S. made weapons is at an all time high.

The weapons export news is good for companies like Northrup Grumman (NYSE: NOC), General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), which face defence spending cuts from Congress as part of efforts to balance the budget.

The Time reports that the U.S. is well ahead of any other nation in terms of arms exports:

Overseas weapons sales by the United States totaled $66.3 billion last year, or nearly 78 percent of the global arms market valued at $85.3 billion in 2011. Russia was a distant second, with $4.8 billion in deals.

The American weapons sales total was an “extraordinary increase” over the $21.4 billion in deals for 2010, the study found, and was the largest single-year sales total in the history of United States arms exports. The previous high was in fiscal year 2009, when American weapons sales overseas totaled nearly $31 billion.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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