Saudi Arabia is on track to become the world’s fifth-largest military spender by 2020 as it boosts its defense budget by 27 per cent over the next five years despite lower oil prices.

With regional conflicts worsening the oil-rich kingdom‘s neighbors, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, are also planning to increase spending on their militaries, said consultancy IHS Jane’s Aerospace, Defence & Security.

By contrast, smaller Gulf states are reacting to the lower oil-price by making deeper cuts to defense plans. The IHS forecasts assume oil prices will recover to $80 a barrel by 2017, rising to $100 a barrel by the end of the decade. […]