What happened at the World Economic Forum Davos Summit

What happened at the World Economic Forum Davos Summit


Briefly: Every year, political and business leaders descend on the picturesque Swiss town of Davos to discuss the global economic outlook, and strike multibillion-dollar deals. Caviar canapès and save-the-coral musical interludes are just added perks, apparently.

Notably absent from last week’s World Economic Forum summit were Russian officials and oligarchs, who were barred from attending for the second year in a row*.

The highlights:

  • ☀️ The economy will be ok: Most economic predictions for 2023 are gloomy, but on-the-ground reports suggested the mood was cautiously optimistic. A week in a Swiss ski resort will do that. But not everyone thinks things are on the mend – WTO chief Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala declared herself “very concerned” about the current “re-imagining of globalisation”.
  • 🌿 The EU announced massive green subsidies: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the bloc would turbocharge its green subsidies to help European businesses remain “competitive” on the world stage. The proposal aims to counterbalance a $500B green package offered by the US.
  • 👍 China’s back in business: Chinese Vice Premier Liu He had one job at Davos – convince the global business community that China’s back in the game. Despite emerging from an economic slowdown and a huge spike in Covid-19 infections, Liu is “confident that growth will most likely return to its normal trend, and the Chinese economy will make a significant improvement in 2023”. Chinese stock indices reacted positively following his speech.

Intrigue’s take: Davos allows the people who make globally-important decisions to be in the same room to discuss the biggest issues facing the world. Of course, very few people actually affected by those problems are present to give their views, but you don’t need us to tell you Davos is deeply flawed.

The most useful thing about Davos might be its function as an economic ‘vibe check’. And on that front, the President ​​of JP Morgan Daniel Pinto painted a middling picture: “Things are not great, but they are much better than they could have been.”

Also worth noting:

  • India raised its visibility and profile at this year’s Davos summit, with Indian booths taking up top spots around town.
  • The founder of crypto exchange Kuna, Michael Chobanian, was heavily criticised for “giving the industry a bad name” after he parked his orange ‘Bitcoin Mercedes’ on the Davos Promenade.

*Last year’s WEF Davos summit was hosted in May, after the start of the Russo-Ukraine War.

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