Saudi Arabia beat Britain to become the world’s fourth largest defence spender in 2013, a report said on Wednesday, as Western cuts and Asian and Middle Eastern growth shift the global balance of military power.

London’s International Institute for Strategic Studies said the United States remains by far the world’s pre-eminent military power, spending some $600 billion Last year, some 38 percent of the global total.

Overall global defence spending probably fell marginally in 2013, it said, but increased dramatically in Asia and the Middle East. China’s military expenditure had increased by some 40 percent since 2010, raising it to an estimated $112 billion. […]