Davos 2017: what we learned at the WEF

Banks got a warm welcome, Britain got a cool reception and climate change fears abounded at the World Economic Forum.

They’re terrified of Trump

Donald Trump has been on everyone’s mind, even though he has been on the other side of the Atlantic this week preparing for his inauguration.

Most criticism of the incoming US president was firmly off the record, showing that no one wants to be caught in the firing line of @realdonaldtrump’s Twitter feed.

One insider said some US executives are nervous of being seen posing with Chinese leaders, in case the Oval Office saw this as unpatriotic.

Banks are off the hook

Banks, particularly those stationed in the City of London, have been the unexpected beneficiaries of the new mood of populism sweeping the west.

Having been treated as pariahs for causing the global financial crisis, banks are now wooed by all and sundry. The UK government is keen to reassure Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and the other Wall Street names that they’ll still be able to operate in the London, while European leaders see the opportunity to steal jobs.

Banks are fully aware they’re no longer on the naughty step, and have been dropping hints that they’ll leave London if they don’t get the deal they want.

Predictions are out, unless you’re Soros

Sir Martin Sorrell, the boss of advertising giant WPP, said he was out of the forecasting game after confidently predicting at last year’s Davos that Hillary Clinton would be US president and Brexit would never happen.

This year, the chastened Mystic Megs of Davos were reluctant to put their credentials on the line by calling the French presidential election, for example.

But George Soros – still making headines at 86 – retains the nerve to predict that markets will soon fall, Theresa May won’t last long, and that US checks and balances will stop Trump being a dictator. We wouldn’t put much money on another Soros idea – that Britain might quit the EU on a Friday and rejoin on a Monday.
 

Full article: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/20/davos-2017-wef-britain-climate-change-world-economic-forum

Photo: World Economic Forum 2017 in Davos: Britain’s politicians got a chilly reception. Photograph: Laurent Gillieron/EPA

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