WEF

Gideon Rachman

This is not the dog in question

I am happy to be here in Davos. The only cloud on the horizon is that the room next door to me at the Hotel Cresta appears to be occupied by a dog. I could hear it barking agitatedly through the walls. The prospects for a good night’s sleep – so vital when you are planning to rub shoulders with world leaders – seem dim. Read more

(AP)

Friday’s events from the World Economic Forum feature an address by Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, and sessions looking at the challenges faced by, and presented by, the fast-changing Arab world. Reports from FT writers in Davos and by Ben Fenton, Lina Saigol and Lindsay Whipp in London

17.03: The Davos Live Blog is closing down now but for more reading and insight on today’s events, please visit the FT’s in depth page on the World Economic Forum.

16.41: Gideon Rachman, titular proprietor of this blog, has written his surmise from the earlier session on Syria.

16.16: Asked by the Amercian moderator of his panel session about corruption and banking regulation, Nigeria’s central bank governor Sanusi displays a little frustration:

He said: “We are the only country which has taken people out of banks and put them in jail. No bankers in your countries have gone to jail.”

16.12: Martin Wolf has recorded his view on the politics and economics at play in a “low-intensity” Davos this year:

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Tom Burgis

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:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/ChrisGiles_/status/294134384917872640"]

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/jeremywarnerUK/status/294135685995184128"]

17.48 The IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde took the stage after Mario Monti and she’s just taken a swipe at Cameron:

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/ChrisGiles_/status/294138878732951552"]

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.

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John Paul Rathbone

President Hugo Chavez (L) and Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles (JUAN BARRETO/AFP/GettyImages)

Henrique Capriles may be the underdog at this Sunday’s Venezuelan presidential election. Yet momentum is building behind the 40-year old candidate and Hugo Chávez, 58, increasingly recognises that. The reason for this is the economy, which for perhaps the first time in Mr Chávez’s 14-year rule has become a contestable issue.

Mr Chávez won power in 1998 promising radical things. And he has since delivered on many of those promises. There is now 100 per cent school enrolment, the number of university graduates has quadrupled, and extreme poverty has fallen – by official figures it has halved. But as Arturo Franco, a fellow at Harvard’s Centre for International Development puts it: at what cost these gains?

Take the World Economic Forum’s annual competitiveness rankings. In 2012, Venezuela slipped two places to 126th out of 144 and is now the region’s worst performer, bar Haiti. On some issues – such as judicial security, trust of politicians, red tape, quality of education and labour rigidities – Venezuela comes last, or nearly last. Not all of this, though, is Mr Chávez’s fault. In the WEF’s 1998 report, Venezuela also came last, or nearly last (although among a smaller sample of 58 countries). Read more

Esther Bintliff

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)

  Read more

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

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.

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REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT editors and writers in Davos. All times GMT.

18.49 That’s it for today’s live blog.

The eurozone crisis and income inequality remained the key issues on day 2.

What’s in store for delegates this evening?

For those that still have the stamina to tackle the big issues, there’s a panel on what will emerge as the new European identity in the 21stcentury, and another discussion with no fewer than eight Nobel laureates on the state of the world.

For those looking for a little light relief, Paulo Coelho talks on the art of storytelling.

Join us tomorrow from 07.30 for day 3 of Davos.

18.45 The FT’s banking editor Patrick Jenkins spoke to Jamie Dimon, the straight-talking chief executive of JPMorgan, this afternoon. Mr Dimon revealed that the US bank had considered pulling its operations in the eurozone’s more troubled member states. Here are a selection of the best quotes. Read more

Esther Bintliff

An Occupy WEF protestor builds an igloo to protest against against the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 23, 2012 in the Swiss Alpine resort of Davos. Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

As highlighted in Gillian Tett’s post last night, and Jasmine Whitbread’s post in our rolling blogincome inequality is a big issue demanding the attention of Davos delegates this year, whether they like it or not.

So, we organised a quick email Q&A with David Roth, the spokesman for OccupyWEF, asking him to tell us why he’s protesting this year and what he hopes to achieve. Here’s what he had to say. Do add your comments below. Read more

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images

Welcome to the FT’s rolling coverage of the World Economic Forum. By Esther Bintliff and Claire Jones in London, with contributions from FT editors and writers in Davos.

18.30 That’s it for day 1 of our Davos rolling blog.

The eurozone crisis dominated proceedings, but Merkel’s speech was a bit of a let-down by most accounts, notably Martin Wolf’s (see post at 17.25).

Income inequality was another talking point – see posts at 13.45  and 15.00 and Gillian Tett’s blog here.

This evening delegates can catch a screening of “The Lady” with director Luc Besson, find out their social network status, or share a nightcap with “the princess of Africa”, singer and president of the Princess of Africa Foundation Yvonne Ntombizodwa Chaka Chaka.

Join us again tomorrow at 07.30 when we’ll bring you more trenchant analysis, quotes (both vacuous and profound), and hats from the slopes of Davos.

18.11 A tip from the FT’s banking editor Patrick Jenkins: if you’re going to Davos never book a hotel in Klosters. Read more

Esther Bintliff

Workers clean the stage of the main Congress Hall in Davos on Tuesday. Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

Workers clean the stage of the main Congress Hall in Davos on Tuesday. Photo: VINCENZO PINTO/AFP/Getty Images

The World Economic Forum kicks off on Wednesday, and the FT will be running a rolling blog to bring you the latest news and views from the Alpine resort-turned-world’s-biggest-talking-shop.

Among the attendees will be some of the world’s most powerful, most wealthy, and most learned men and women. Yet their collective profile could hardly be at a lower ebb. If Davos Man walked, his pinstripe suit would surely be tattered, his bowler hat squashed, his nose a little bloodied. Read more