Thursday, January 25, 2018

Notations From the Grid (Special Thursday Edition): On #Davos2018 (Day 2-Perspectives)

As we are going to press today, #Davos2018 Day 3 has begun with more speeches and engagements.   President Trump has arrived in Davos and has met with the Israeli Prime Minister.    Our team captured this courtesy of the DealBook's Andrew Ross Sorkin on his Take on Davos Day II as we look forward to presenting our selected curations of sessions later on this evening for availability tomorrow.    President Trump is slated to speak tomorrow:

The New York Times
January 25, 2018
Good Thursday morning. Here at Davos, you can sort of tell the relative power of the individual by how casually they’re dressed. While many attendees wear business suits and snow boots, Jamie Dimon yesterday sported a North Face jacket and dad jeans. (Lloyd Blankfein opted for a more business-casual suit-but-no-tie look.) TPG’s David Bonderman had been known to wear a, shall we say, well-worn fleece.
  Fabrice Coffrini/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The White House’s curious attack on the dollar at Davos
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin yesterday at the World Economic Forum: “Obviously, a weaker dollar is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities.”
Christine Lagarde’s response: “I really hope that Secretary Mnuchin has a chance to clarify exactly what he said.” (Bob Rubin also diplomatically rebuked any effort to weaken the dollar to lift trade.)
Today, Mr. Mnuchin said the dollar was “not a concern of mine,” and professed faith in its long-term strength.
The bigger picture, courtesy of Ben White in Politico:
If the U.S. is publicly supporting a weak dollar while also imposing tariffs on foreign imports — as the Trump administration did this week — it could invite retaliation from other countries, potentially sparking both currency and trade wars, economists say.
Said at Davos
• Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase told CNBC, “I promise you, we are going to be sitting here in a year and you all will be worrying about inflation and wages going up too high.”
• Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs said of President Trump: “I don’t want to be hypocritical, either. I’ve really liked what he’s done for the economy.”
• Sundar Pichai of Google said about taxes: “We are happy to pay a higher amount, whatever the world agrees on as the right framework. It’s not an issue about the amount of tax we pay, as much as how you divide it among various countries.”
• Jack Ma of Alibaba said on a panel: “I think globalization cannot be stopped. Nobody can stop globalization. Nobody can stop trade. And I believe, if trade stops, war starts.”
• Raymond Nolte of SkyBridge Capital said, “If you take away Trump’s Twitter ridiculousness, it’s actually been a pretty good year for the business community.”
More from the World Economic Forum
• European leaders like Emmanuel Macron (who reportedly persuaded Mr. Trump to come) and Angela Merkel forcefully defended international cooperation and globalization. (NYT)
• Liu He, an influential senior adviser to President Xi Jinping, said China would bring its debt under control within three years. (NYT)
• All of Mr. Trump’s friends and frenemies at Davos. (Bloomberg)
A Davos bonus, courtesy of John Gapper of the FT:
Our team could not but just laugh as we saw this from Professor Turley on what we simply can view as an interesting take on Fossil Fuel by the US Secretary of Energy as the whole World is moving away from Fossil Fuel:

Perry: The U.S. Will Give The World “A Better Life Through Fossil Fuels”

by jonathanturley

440px-Rick_Perry_official_portraitWith much of the world desperately trying to rid itself of fossil fuels to avoid disaster from climate change, the Trump Administration at times seems to be on a different planet.  That seems the case at the Davos conference where Energy Secretary Rick Perry proclaimed that the United States is "blessed" to be able to offer the world "a better quality of life through fossil fuels."  Not only our closest allies like Germany and England have been making huge efforts to drop fossil fuels, but China is moving aggressively to avoid this "better world" model.
Read more of this p

(Update:  This from Fortune On US Trade Policy:)

Jonathan Swan of Axios is reporting this week that President Trump has lost faith in his Commerce Secretary, Wilbur Ross. If true, that’s a shame, because Ross did a better job than Trump has to date explaining the president’s trade policies to a hostile audience in Davos.
For starters, Ross said the U.S. has no intention of withdrawing from a leadership role in global trade. He noted that, even with recent actions imposing retaliatory tariffs on solar panels and washing machines, the U.S. remains the world’s least protectionist major economy.
He said U.S. generosity on trade after War World II was designed to help Europe and Asia recover from the war, and shouldn’t have become permanent policy. “We don’t intend to abrogate leadership,” Ross said. But “leadership is different from being a sucker and being a patsy.”
Ross also summarily dismissed the notion, put forward here last year by Xi Jinping, that China can take the lead in global trade. He criticized the Chinese financial system, which provides subsidies to key industries, as well as Chinese policies forcing foreign companies to transfer technology, and China’s failure to adequately protect intellectual property. “The Chinese have for quite a little while been superb at free-trade rhetoric and even more superb at highly protectionist activities,” he said.
Still, the CEOs of global companies here worry the administration’s heated rhetoric and accelerating action on the trade front will prompt retaliation from other countries, and push the world into an unintended trade war. That’s why all are anxiously anticipating the President’s speech tomorrow afternoon. (I’ll be watching, but only after hitting the ski slopes in the morning.)
You can see the full Davos conversation with Ross, Cargill CEO David MacLennan, Standard Charter CEO Bill Winters, Eni Chair Emma Marcegaglia, and GATT Head Roberto Azevedo, here.
News below.
Alan Murray

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