World Economic Forum 2019
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The Times
Wednesday January 23 2019
Business – Need to know – Davos Only
“It is like the smugglers’ bar in Star Wars.” That’s how one FTSE 100 chief executive describes the Steigenberger Grandhotel Belvedere.

Unlike in the fictional Rimmer’s Rest cantina there are no bounty hunters or (you hope) smugglers in the Belvedere when the World Economic Forum is in town but you will none the less find a mix as eclectic as Rimmer’s clientele with the regulated and their regulators, rivals and hangers-on to be found drinking together in the numerous bars, nooks and crannies.

Last night it was the usual scrum, with delegates queuing out of the door at 10.30pm to even get through the hotel’s security scanners. It was a similar story down the Promenade, where you had to secure an orange badge to get entry into the Piano Bar, a Davos institution.

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Official sessions . . .
Bono, the U2 frontman, will discuss raising funds for sustainable development with Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF
9am Unlike Theresa May, Greg Clark was not going to let the Brexit crisis keep him from rubbing shoulders with the great and the good of Davos (although probably not in the Belvedere bars). The business secretary is discussing how technology can help to “bridge the citizen-institution gap”.

9.15am It seems like a pretty odd-pairing, even for Davos, but Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, and Bono, U2’s lead singer (or cultural leader, as he is described in the official Davos programme), will discuss with others how to attract private capital to fund sustainable development.

11.15am President Trump and President Macron may have stayed at home but there is no shortage of world leaders here and the annual meeting will hear from three of them today. Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan, is up first, followed by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, at 2.15pm and Wang Qishan, China’s vice-president, at 3pm, Italy’s Giuseppe Conte (5:30pm), and Spain’s Pedro Sánchez (6.00pm)..

4pm After yesterday’s success in interviewing Sir David Attenborough, the Duke of Cambridge is back, speaking on mental health matters along with Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister of New Zealand and John Flint, chief executive of HSBC. .
... and off-piste
It is the meeting of the heavyweights this afternoon (3pm), with the broadcaster Andrew Neil set to interview Volodymyr Klitschko, the world heavyweight boxing champion, and Vitali Klitschko, mayor of Kiev and former heavyweight boxing champion, at the Ukraine House on the fringes of the annual meeting.

There is also a sprinkling of celebrity stardust at a debate on the the economics of water: the panel includes Matt Damon, actor and co-founder of The invite only (sorry) event kicks off at 1pm at the grandly titled Tradeshift Pavillion, one of many venues that have sprung up on the Davos Promenade during the WEF annual meeting.

There are plenty of parties tonight (for those with the stamina): Martin Gilbert and Keith Skeoch, the co-chiefs of Aberdeen Standard, are promising guests “a taste of Scottish hospitality”; Deloitte have taken over the Hilton Garden Inn for their reception; and Tata Consultancy Services holds its annual bash.
Weather report
At 6am it was -13C, with temperatures expected to reach a high of -3C. Mainly cloudy and cold, according to Accuweather.
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Davos in The Times
A disorderly Brexit would set Europe back for years to come”, the former boss of Germany’s central bank warned as he called on both sides to make compromises.
Hasty Brexit is in nobody’s interest, Axel Weber tells WEF delegates
Read the full story >
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Despite the surge in global debt over recent years the likelihood of a systemic crisis such as occurred in 2008 seems contained, although there are pockets of risk.
Systemic debt crisis fears exaggerated, argues the Credit Suisse Research Institute
Read the full story >
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Where is Sir Martin Sorrell? The advertising boss is in Davos, where he appeared on CNBC yesterday, but he doesn’t appear on the official delegate list.
Today’s Davos Diary has the lowdown on the parties and the delegates.
Read the full story >
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. . . and elsewhere
It’s limos versus locals when the elite gather for Davos
In a country where the central bank chief and government ministers regularly take public transport, the failure of WEF attendees to do the same is the top complaint of the town’s 11,000 residents, says Bloomberg
Read the full story >
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Political paralysis in major developed economies, frayed trading links and concerns about concentration of corporate power created a jittery mood among business executives at the annual World Economic Forum
Executives in Davos Put Brave Face on Jittery Mood, reports the WSJ.
Read the full story >
Save the date
An invitation-only forum for Britain's top CEOs and leading thinkers.
In London on Tuesday, June 11, 8am-1pm.
Register your interest here.
Tweet of the day
Last time I went to Davos, the Fake News said I should not go there. This year, because of the Shutdown, I decided not to go, and the Fake News said I should be there. The fact is that the people understand the media better than the media understands them!
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