Page last updated at 09:23 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Davos starts in very gloomy mood

By Tim Weber
Business editor, BBC News website, in Davos

World Economic Forum logo
The world's financial landscape has changed hugely since the last forum

A gloomy economic outlook dominates discussions as global political leaders and business people gather for the annual World Economic Forum in Davos.

Economists are warning that global recession and trade protectionism will be dire for developing countries.

A poll of business leaders suggests any recovery could take three years.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian PM Vladimir Putin are to speak on the first day of the summit, which is themed "shaping the post-crisis world".

Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, has warned the crisis is nowhere near over yet.

Politicians rule

We have to face up to the fact that the recovery, when it comes, later this year or early next year, is going to be anaemic

Stephen Roach, chairman, Morgan Stanley Asia

Some 2,500 guests, including senior executives from some of the world's biggest banks as well as 40 heads of state and government - a record number - will join discussions on the economic crisis, poverty, energy, climate change and free trade.

While the annual event in the Swiss mountain village of Davos keeps attracting many of the world's most powerful people, the mood has changed dramatically.

Some companies have been wiped out by the world's continuing financial crisis, while others have been rescued by governments or nationalised.

As a result participants agree that this year it will not be bankers dominating discussions; instead politicians will set the agenda.

However, they will focus on economic issues as well.

Let's hope that they are worth their salt and can come up with some constructive ideas
Chris Sims, Nova Friburgo

Indeed a new survey conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that business confidence among top bosses around the world has plummeted in recent months.

"We have to face up to the fact that the recovery, when it comes, later this year or early next year, is going to be anaemic," said Stephen Roach, Morgan Stanley's Asia chairman.

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