World News Brief, Thursday January 29

Davos economic summit opens amidst warnings of protectionism; South Korea's manufacturers in "big trouble"; Indonesia announces $6 billion stimulus; Russia suspends missile deployments; and more

Top of the Agenda: Davos Opens Amidst Gloom

The World Economic Forum's annual mega-summit at Davos opens today, but news reports indicate a very different mood from years past. The Financial Times reports that the summit, which has traditionally served as a chance for world leaders to extol the virtues of globalization and interconnectedness, has opened amidst an atmosphere of "deep gloom." The article says high-profile economists at the summit are warning of a period in which there will be a high risk of protectionism, and adds that many developed countries seem to have "little confidence" that large-scale stimulus measures will drag their economies out of recession.

This year's gathering of world leaders, business leaders, and intellectuals will draw record attendance, but several news articles have noted that some leading bankers are avoiding the glitz (Bloomberg) of the summit, given the tenuous financial climate. The Business Report says in a news analysis that the meetings this year could prove a "tug-of-war" between the bankers who do show up and politicians, many of whom will argue for increased transparency and regulation of the financial sector.

The Wall Street Journal reports the summit will focus predominantly on two questions: whether the world economy can be saved from prolonged recession, and if so, where the growth will come from. The article says policymakers are likely to look to rattled U.S. consumers--rather than rattled Chinese and emerging market producers--as the most plausible engine in the short-term. Bloomberg also reports a markedly different attitude among emerging market leaders, some of whom were perceived as "cocky" at last year's event.


  • Xinhua has a backgrounder explaining the formation and goals of the World Economic Forum.


PACIFIC RIM: South Korean Manufacturing

The Korea Times reports South Korea's manufacturing sector is in "big trouble"--a potentially devastating sign, the article says, for an economy that has used manufacturing as a "locomotive for economic growth" in recent years.

INDONESIA: The Jakarta Post reports the Indonesian government has unveiled a new economic stimulus package valued at a little over $6 billion.

JAPAN: In the latest of several new international efforts to counter piracy off the Somali coastline, Japan announced it would deploy warships (Bloomberg) to escort commercial vessels in the region.



Russia halts weapons deployments to Kaliningrad due to perceived shift in U.S. attitudes.
Obama stimulus plan grows to $900 billion in Senate; House vote expected today.

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