GENEVA — The annual World Economic Forum that begins today in Davos, Switzerland, is likely to be dominated by concerns that the sharp downturn of the U.S. economy, the world's largest, could trigger a global recession.
The gathering of world business and political leaders comes as the Federal Reserve, responding to an international stock sell-off on Monday, took emergency action on Tuesday to reduce the U.S. benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point.
"The risks of a significant slowdown, if not a recession, have been increasing," said Richard Samans, WEF managing director and a former economic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Along with concerns over volatility in global financial and energy markets, the declining dollar and China's undervalued yuan, the agenda includes high oil prices and growing apprehension about the rapid growth and clout of sovereign wealth funds.
Climate change and terrorism, as well as corporate social responsibility, food and energy supply shortages, the emergence of economic powers such as China and India, and global trade problems also are on the table for the 2,500 forum participants.
About 27 heads of state and some 113 cabinet ministers from 88 countries, as well as more than 900 chief executives from the top global corporations are slated to take part in the five-day meeting, which has the theme, "The Power of Collaborative Innovation to Benefit Us All."
"The meeting gives us all a chance to understand and shape the global agenda for the year ahead and beyond," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.
Top officials from 74 Fortune 100 companies are among the guests.
National leaders include: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will deliver a keynote address on "Climate Change and Terrorism;" U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan.
A series of high-level meetings are also expected to take place on the sidelines between the trade ministers of major trading powers such as Brazil, India, the European Union, the U.S., Egypt and Japan, on how to advance the stalled Doha global trade talks.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy are likely to take active roles on how to advance the problematic global trade negotiations.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)