IMF chief Christine Lagarde at Davos (AFP)
As our colleagues in the mountains don boots, bobble hats and gloves for day two of Davos, here’s some reading material from the comfort of the FT’s London office to help you limber up for Thursday’s talk-fest.
David Cameron’s speech yesterday on Britain’s future in Europe provided much fodder for journalists – with reaction from leaders across the continent and further. Le Monde’s Marc Roche takes the theme of tact to interpret his speech, while in Der Spiegel Christoph Scheuermann argues that Cameron “missed an opportunity on Wednesday to haul Britain back to the centre of Europe“. The New York Times’ Andrew Higgins writes that “while the acute phase of the financial crisis has passed, the challenge to Europe’s mission and even its membership has not”. Cameron will be taking to a podium again this morning, this time in Davos. Read more
The Davos conference centre (AFP).
The World Economic Forum’s 43rd annual shindig is kicking off in Davos this morning and to get you started ahead of our live blog, here’s some reading to accompany your morning coffee. You’ll find all the FT pieces on our WEF page. And here’s the WEF home page. Enjoy.
From our A-List blog of guest writers Howard Davies, who will be blogging for from the conference, in an amusing take on why the forum is like Scientology.
Peter Vanham guides us through what is being touted as one of the main themes at the bash - how to capitalise on the strength of emerging markets over developed ones – on our Beyondbrics blog.
On Alphaville, David Keohane, gives us the Davos D-List, and introduces the lovely Mdm D. Deville as the blog’s own special correspondent. Do follow her on @DavosDeville. Read more
It’s the first day of the World Economic Forum. We’ll keep you up to date. By Tom Burgis, Claire Jones and Ben Fenton in London with dispatches from FT correspondents in Davos. All times are GMT.
18.26 That’s it for the first day of Davos live.
Among the talking points were monetary policy, currency wars and that speech by David Cameron.
The British PM arrived in Switzerland today and is due to talk at 10.30am local time (9.30am UK time) tomorrow.
18.03 Unsurprisingly, the “resilient dynamism” (see 10.09) theme of this year’s Davos hasn’t gone down too well with the British press pack:
17.48 The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde took the stage after Mario Monti and she’s just taken a swipe at Cameron:
17.40 Gideon Rachman’s analysis of the Italian PM’s reaction to Cameron’s speech:
Gideon Rachman: His line that Europe does not need reluctant Europeans will be spun as anti-Cameron. But, in context, I think Monti was trying to be positive.
The Italian PM said Cameron was right that “prosperity and growth have to be priority number one” and that he was confident “Britain will vote to stay inside” in the event of a referendum. He also said it’s good that Cameron will ask the “fundamental” question of whether nations are in or out and that this will provoke Brits to make a proper analysis of costs and benefits.
Here’s what got us chatting this morning:
By Gideon Rachman
If nothing else, Newt Gingrich’s campaign for the US presidency has contributed an excellent new phrase to the language. His coinage – “pious baloney” – kept popping into my head in Davos last week, every time I saw the World Economic Forum’s ubiquitous slogan: “Committed to improving the state of the world”.
FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images
By Esther Bintliff in London, with contributions from FT writers and editors in Davos.
All times GMT.
18.30: That’s all from us for now folks! But you can stay up to date with all the FT’s coverage of the World Economic Forum 2012 at www.ft.com/davos. For now, we’ll leave you with a quick recap of some of today’s top news and views:
- Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, put it bluntly when she got out her handbag and told a WEF panel: “I’m here with my little bag to collect a bit of money” (see the 11.23 post)
- At a global economy session, Chris Giles reported that the debate was “more sober than the general mood in Davos of increasing optimism”, with Donald Tsang, chief executive of Hong Kong, saying: “I have never been as scared as now” (see 11.45)
- Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand’s first female PM, was studiously vague when asked by Gideon Rachman whether and when her brother Thaksin would be allowed to return to Thailand (see 12.30)
- In his round-up on Davos 2012, Martin Wolf noted that Mario Draghi has emerged as the hero of the hour (see 13.15), a point confirmed by Lionel Barber, the FT’s editor, in his video interview (15.20)
- “Doha is dead. Long live the multilateral trading system” – Chris Giles on the message the World Trade Organisation wanted to send from Davos on Saturday (see 17.30)
VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images
By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT writers and editors in Davos.
All times GMT. This post should update automatically every few minutes, but it may take longer on mobile devices.
19.32 NEWS JUST IN. Lifen Zhang, editor-in-chief of FTChinese, writes that World Economic Forum officials are open to moving the date of next year’s event so that it does not clash with Chinese New Year.
The absence of Chinese senior officials
– who stayed away from Davos this year due to the forum’s clash with Chinese lunar new year festivities – has been something of an embarrassment for organisers
Especially this year, when there will be the once-a-decade leadership shuffle in China, it made sense for senior Chinese officials to stay home and celebrate the new year at home, where they can be be seen with the people during the festivities.
Now it appears that the World Economic Forum is open to moving the annual Davos gathering to an earlier date, possibly in mid-January, to ease the way for Chinese leaders to attend.
By Gillian Tett
When the World Economic Forum published its annual risk assessment report earlier this month, it featured a fascinating detail: for the first time ever, the issue of “income disparity” featured on the list of risks that WEF members expected to see this year.
More startling, this risk actually topped the list, beating out issues such as financial collapse, fiscal crisis or environmental issues. Welcome to a theme that I expect to crop up repeatedly in debate this week in Davos.
As the annual WEF meeting gets underway, the Occupy Wall Street movement has not yet stormed any cocktail parties (although I am told that protesters have built an igloo). But the issue of social and political protest is creeping into debate, even amid the canapés and wine. Read more
As many depart on Saturday morning (including myself), time for assessment of my Davos 2011 four day experience. Read more
Over the last couple of days delegates have been following the unfolding events in Egypt and Yemen and speculating on the wider significance across the region. I saw one man carrying his laptop open down the snowy street watching the news. Last night at Bono’s One party an earnest young Iranian American woman told me why she was convinced this was a tipping point for the whole region. Read more