As the world’s financial and political elites convene here in the Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum, their vision of ever-closer commercial and political ties is under attack and the economic outlook is darkening. The meeting is taking place at a time when UK is facing unprecedented political crisis over Brexit deal and US President Donald Trump has been forced to cancel the trip due to partial shutdown of his government.
Under President Donald Trump, the United States is imposing trade sanctions on friend and foe alike, and the government is paralyzed by a partial shutdown over immigration policy that forced Trump and a high-level U.S. delegation to cancel the trip to Davos.
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And Britain’s political system has been thrown into chaos as the country negotiates a messy divorce from the European Union.
A year after getting a standing ovation from the elites at Davos, French President Emmanuel Macron is sinking in the polls as he contends with “yellow vest” protesters who have taken to the streets to call for higher wages and fairer pensions. Nationalist political movements are gaining strength across Europe.
And the economic backdrop is worrying: experts are downgrading their forecasts for global growth this year amid rising interest rates and tensions over trade.
“Judging by the state of the world right now 10 years on from the financial crisis, and the dysfunctional state of global politics I would suggest that these annual events have achieved the sum total of diddly squat,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
The collective worries have sent a shudder through global financial markets: The Dow Jones industrial average is down nearly 9 percent from Oct. 3.
David Dollar, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said the buckling market “represents a lot of anxiety that we’re seeing from the corporate elite who meet at Davos.”
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