The Latest: Modi draws crowd for keynote speech at Davos

The Latest: Modi draws crowd for keynote speech at Davos
The Associated Press

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — The Latest on the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland (all times local):

11:35 a.m.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is drawing a crowd in Davos.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Presidents Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore have poured into a Davos ballroom to hear the Indian leader’s keynote speech for the World Economic Forum this year.

Swiss President Alain Berset set up the stage for Modi, appealing to the hundreds of people in the crowd: “Let us make 2018 a year in which we overcome the phase of hand-wringing and self-criticism, in which each of us works to promote social inclusion.”

___

11:15 a.m.

An expert on global financial crises is downplaying fears that the world is set for another downturn.

A decade on from the last crash, Professor Kenneth Rogoff from Harvard University says there is “no plan A” to deal with another crisis given that interest rates remain at super-low levels and public finances remain stretched.

However, Rogoff told an audience at the World Economic Forum that financial crises have a “long afterlife” and that “we’re actually at the tail-end of the last one.”

Fears have risen recently that the global economy may be heading for another downturn, with many worried about the scale of gains in global stock markets and even the huge volatility in trading of virtual currencies like Bitcoin.

Still, he said China is the country that’s exhibiting many of the characteristics of a “typical financial crisis building up.”

___

10:35 a.m.

A German business leader is warning U.S. President Donald Trump that his decision to slap tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines will backfire.

On Monday, Trump approved the tariffs in a bid to help domestic manufacturers.

However, Frank Appel, CEO of Deutsche Post DHL, told an audience at the World Economic Forum Tuesday that the move will hurt exactly those who Trump is ostensibly trying to help.

He said: “Even if the U.S. does more protectionism, consumers will buy from different places and who pays the bill? All the employees in the U.S. finally.”

Tidjane Thiam, the CEO of Swiss bank Credit Suisse, said he remains bullish on global trade despite the tariffs decision.

He said: “We will need to see how it impacts global trade, how other trading blocs react to that, but I remain optimistic. I think we are in exceptionally favorable context.”

___

9:55 a.m.

Stock markets around the world are flying high amid a synchronized global upturn but a leading U.S. investor is warning of a potential “reckoning.”

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman and CEO of Blackstone, told an audience at the World Economic Forum that the markets have responded to a positive global economic growth story. It is, he said, a time of “enormous ebullience.”

However, he said there are “lurking” geopolitical risks out there that could put the knock markets off track and there will come a time when some of these problems are “not contained.”

U.S. stock markets have been in particularly strong, with the Dow Jones industrial average hitting a run of record highs on the back of confidence around the U.S. economy and President Donald Trump’s big tax reform package.

___

6:00 a.m.

The World Economic Forum officially gets underway Tuesday with Indian leader Narendra Modi delivering the keynote speech.

Modi was meant to be the event’s highlight until President Donald Trump decided to come as well. Trump is due to speak Friday, though the U.S. government shutdown has put his presence in doubt.

There will be much interest in Modi, who follows on from Chinese President Xi Jinping’s address to the global elite at last year’s event. Xi portrayed his country as a champion of free trade on the same week Trump was inaugurated president.

Modi will likely tout India’s economic successes and stress that his country is also open for business.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is later due to address the Davos crowd, which is gathering in unusually heavy snowfall.

.