Opinion

Paul Taylor

In Davos, world seeks U.S. engagement

Paul Taylor
Jan 28, 2013 09:56 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama starts his second term, the world’s business and political elite pines for greater American engagement to tackle a thicket of security challenges.

From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States’ reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolised to some a perceived pullback from global leadership, even though it was Inauguration Week in Washington.

Leaders of Russia, Germany, Britain, Italy, South Africa, Jordan and many other nations made the journey.

U.S. bankers, business leaders and academics were out in force, but the most senior U.S. government officials were a Treasury undersecretary, an assistant secretary of state and the outgoing U.S. Trade Representative.

Analysis: In Davos, world seeks U.S. engagement

Paul Taylor
Jan 27, 2013 20:55 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – As President Barack Obama starts his second term, the world’s business and political elite pines for greater American engagement to tackle a thicket of security challenges.

From Syria to Mali, from Iran to the South China Sea, the United States’ reluctance to be drawn into conflicts far from its shores was a leitmotiv of geopolitical debate at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

The absence of top Obama administration officials from the annual brainstorming and networking event in the Swiss mountains symbolized to some a perceived pullback from global leadership, even though it was Inauguration Week in Washington.

Saudi prince calls for Syrian rebels to be armed

Paul Taylor
Jan 25, 2013 15:39 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – A senior member of Saudi Arabia’s monarchy called on Friday for Syrian rebels to be given anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons to “level the playing field” in their battle against President Bashar al-Assad.

“What is needed are sophisticated, high-level weapons that can bring down planes, can take out tanks at a distance. This is not getting through,” said Prince Turki al-Faisal, a former intelligence chief and brother of the Saudi foreign minister.

Insurgents in Syria have seized territory in the north of the country and control suburbs to the east and south of the capital, but Assad’s air power and continued army strength have limited their advances 22 months into the conflict.

Britain’s EU future elbows out euro woes at Davos

Paul Taylor
Jan 25, 2013 12:06 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – What a difference a year makes! At the last World Economic Forum in Davos there were frantic secret meetings on saving the euro and private straw polls on whether the euro zone would break up and how soon Greece would be forced out.

Twelve months on, the euro’s survival is widely taken for granted by the policymakers and business leaders attending the annual forum, and the EU’s top economic official has time to go skiing while in the Swiss mountain resort.

“I recall last year in 2012, Davos was full of uncertainty about the euro zone,” European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn said in an interview.

“Brexit” would be a disaster: Dutch PM

Paul Taylor
Jan 24, 2013 19:25 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – A British vote to leave the European Union would be a disaster, but is not likely to happen, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Thursday.

Rutte, a center-right, free-marketeering liberal, said he supported many of the goals that British Prime Minister David Cameron set out for renegotiating London’s relationship with the 27-nation bloc in a landmark speech on Wednesday.

“Britain has to be in the European Union, (it’s) in Britain’s interest and also in the European interest,” he told Reuters Insider television in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

EU’s Rehn says not sure euro overvalued now

Paul Taylor
Jan 24, 2013 18:54 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The euro is probably not overvalued now but the European Union is keen to avoid a currency war in which its exchange rate could suffer and set back Europe’s economic recovery, the EU’s top monetary official said on Thursday.

Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn also said that euro zone countries were working on ways to help Ireland and Portugal regain full financial market access this year and emerge from international bailout program.

In an interview with Reuters Insider television at the World Economic Forum in Davos, he was asked whether he was concerned that action by other major central banks was landing Europe with an overvalued currency that would slow its exit from recession.

BIS chief says too much pressure on central banks for growth

Paul Taylor
Jan 24, 2013 15:05 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 24 (Reuters) – Central banks are
coming under too much pressure from politicians to act to
promote growth and weaken currencies, the head of the world’s
central banking forum said on Thursday.

Jaime Caruana, general manager of the Bank for International
Settlements, also said in a Reuters Insider television interview
that the world was reaching the point where the damage from
central banks’ printing money could outweigh the benefits.

Asked about pressure from the new Tokyo government on the
Bank of Japan to increase asset purchases to drag the economy
out of its fourth recession since 2000 and end deflation, he
said authorities should focus more on their own actions.

Analysis: Davos leaders uneasy over glut of easy money

Paul Taylor
Jan 22, 2013 11:23 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) – The world is awash in easy money, with consequences that are starting to worry some central bankers and business leaders at the Davos World Economic Forum (WEF), though so far inflation fears seem overdone.

With developed world government finances constrained by huge debts and deficits, central banks have pumped trillions of dollars into the system to try to revive sluggish economies, combat deflation and prop up weak banks.

The Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and to a lesser extent the European Central Bank have strayed far from traditional inflation fighting to take into account objectives such as reducing unemployment, raising nominal GDP, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the sovereign bond market.

Davos leaders uneasy over glut of easy money

Paul Taylor
Jan 22, 2013 11:16 UTC

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 22 (Reuters) – The world is awash in
easy money, with consequences that are starting to worry some
central bankers and business leaders at the Davos World Economic
Forum (WEF), though so far inflation fears seem overdone.

With developed world government finances constrained by huge
debts and deficits, central banks have pumped trillions of
dollars into the system to try to revive sluggish economies,
combat deflation and prop up weak banks.

The Fed, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan and to a
lesser extent the European Central Bank have strayed far from
traditional inflation fighting to take into account objectives
such as reducing unemployment, raising nominal GDP, and ensuring
the smooth functioning of the sovereign bond market.

Cameron leading Britain into minefield on EU

Paul Taylor
Jan 21, 2013 20:00 UTC

LONDON, Jan 21 (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron is
leading Britain into a minefield in seeking to renegotiate its
terms of membership of the European Union. His gamble could
easily end in a bust.

Cameron postponed a landmark speech on Europe, due to have
been delivered in Amsterdam last Friday, because of a hostage
crisis in Algeria, but he had already disclosed the thrust of
his plan to try to change London’s relationship with the EU.

Extracts from the undelivered speech released by his office
show he planned to say Britain would “drift towards the exit”
unless the EU reformed itself. That sounded reminiscent of a
1930s British newspaper headline: “Fog in the Channel, the
continent cut off”.

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