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Trump Lauds His Achievements as Greta Urges Action: Davos Update


By Iain Rogers and Chris Reiter

(Bloomberg) The world’s rich and powerful are in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting, and the gathering will be closely watched to see how the global elite aims to tackle issues they helped create, above all climate change.President Donald Trump’s appearance, which comes on the same day his impeachment trial starts in Washington, began with him calling the trial a “hoax” and “disgraceful.” In his speech, he lauded his economic achievements and said the U.S. is “winning again like never before.”Meanwhile, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who was in the audience for Trump’s speech, stepped up her criticism of governments and companies for not doing enough to tackle climate change.Here’s the latest (time-stamps are local time in Davos):

China’s Han Calls for ‘Inclusive’ World Economy (2:30 p.m.)

Chinese Vice Premier Han Zheng said “risks and uncertainties” are increasing and the only way to counter them is to foster “an inclusive and open world economy.”

“Unilateral and protectionist practices which run counter to the global trend will lead nowhere,” Han said in a special address. “They will only weaken the foundations of global growth and trade and end up hurting everyone’s interests. To resolve the difficulties and the problems in economic globalization, the fundamental solution lies in building an inclusive and open world economy together.”

Stiglitz Predicts ‘Significant Haircuts’ in Argentina (2:25 p.m.)

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz warned investors in Argentine debt that they should be prepared for major losses.

“The reality is there will have to be significant haircuts,” Stiglitz said in a Bloomberg interview. “I cannot conceive of any reasonable model not saying that there has to be significant haircuts. It would be fantasy to think otherwise.”

Stiglitz mentored Argentine Economy Minister Martin Guzman, who is in charge of renegotiating Argentina‘s debt.

Citigroup Reassures Branch Workers (2:15 p.m.)

Citigroup Inc. spends about $8.5 billion a year on technology, but the bank’s boss says that doesn’t mean branch workers will all be replaced by machines anytime soon.

Modernizing the bank’s app and digital-banking experience won’t necessarily result in Citigroup needing fewer people in its retail bank, Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat said in a Bloomberg Television interview. Instead, it will mean “being smarter” about how those employees are used, he said.

Trump Takes Veiled Swipe Environmental ‘Alarmists’ (1:54 p.m.)

Trump launched a veiled attack on environmental “alarmists,” taking a swipe at the World Economic Forum’s key focus this year.

Trump invoked those who predicted an “overpopulation crisis” and the end of oil, saying: “These alarmists always demand the same thing, absolute power to dominate, transform and control every aspect of our lives.”

“This is not a time for pessimism, this is a time for optimism,” he said in his speech, which was watched by Thunberg. “Fear and doubt is not a good thought process, because this is a time for tremendous hope and joy and optimism and action, but to embrace the possibilities of tomorrow, we must reject the perennial prophets of doom and their predictions of the apocalypse.”

BlackRock’s Fink Sees Government Dependency a Key Climate Risk (1:40 p.m.)

BlackRock Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said the “biggest risk” on the path to a carbon-neutral economy is being too dependent on governments to take action, saying they’re not equipped to handle the task on their own.

“Climate change is now becoming an investment risk,” Fink said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait. The transition to a carbon-free economy will take over 50 years, and “the key thing that we need to do is find ways to mitigate those risks while we are dependent on carbon,” he added.

Thunberg Calls for ‘Real Zero’ Carbon Emissions (1 p.m.)

Thunberg called on the world’s polluters to aim for “real zero” carbon emissions rather than “net zero” and said “our house is still on fire.”

“We are not telling you to keep talking about reaching net-zero emissions or carbon neutrality by cheating and fiddling around with numbers,” Thunberg said in a speech at a panel on “Averting a Climate Apocalypse.”

“We’re not telling you to offset your emissions by just paying someone else to plant trees in places like Africa while at the same time forests like the Amazon are being slaughtered at an infinitely higher rate,” she added.

“We demand participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels.”

Blackstone’s Schwarzman Reacts to Trump Speech (12:30 p.m.)

“It was for several different constituencies,” Blackstone Group Inc. Chairman Steve Schwarzman said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “This was a speech to basically say ‘I think we need some perspective and let’s look at what’s happened under this administration.’ That is not just for domestic consumption, it’s meant to be heard in the broader context.”

The billionaire co-founder of the New York-based private equity firm has previously advised Trump and was present in the White House when he announced the first part of the China-U.S. trade deal.

Trump Urges Nations to Join Together (12.15 p.m.)

Trump concluded his speech by calling on world leaders to join together to “make our nations stronger, our countries safer, our culture richer, our people freer, and the world more beautiful than ever before.”

“Above all else, we will forever be loyal to our workers, our citizens and our families, the men and women who are the backbone of our economies, the heart of our communities and the soul of our countries,” Trump said. “Let us bring light to their lives one by one and empower them to light up the world.”

Trump Hails ‘Blue-Collar Boom’ (12 p.m.)

Trump said the economic strength of the U.S. is benefiting ordinary people and “the workers come first” under his administration.

“The U.S. celebrating the dignity of work is a fundamental pillar of our agenda,” he said. “This is a blue-collar boom. The American dream is back, bigger better and stronger than ever before.”

Trump Attacks Fed for Interest-Rates Policy (11:55 a.m.)

Trump renewed his feud with the Federal Reserve, saying the central bank raised interest rates too quickly.

These great numbers are “despite the fact the the Fed has raised rates too fast and lowered them too slowly,” Trump said. “I see such tremendous potential for the future. We have not even started, because the numbers we’re talking about are massive. The time for skepticism is over.”

CEOs Complain They Can’t Save the Planet on Their Own (11:50 a.m.)

As the financial industry comes under pressure to avoid funding dirty energy, the heads of Citigroup Inc. and Zurich Insurance Group AG said they need their clients to do more work too.

“I say to our clients, ‘I don’t want to be the sharp end of the spear,’” enforcing industry standards, Michael Corbat, chief executive officer of New York-based Citigroup, said Tuesday in a panel discussion. “You should set those, you get proper buy-in and we will be here to support you.”

Mario Greco, the CEO of Zurich Insurance, agreed with Corbat that carbon is mispriced, and said insurance firms are having a tough time deciding what to underwrite as a result.

Trump Trumpets His Economic Achievements (11:50 a.m.)

In his speech, Trump said that the U.S. “is in the midst of economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

“We’ve regained our stride; we discovered our spirit and reawakened the powerful machinery of American enterprise,” Trump said. “America’s thriving; America is flourishing and, yes, America is winning again like never before.”

Trump Says Impeachment is ‘Just a Hoax’ (11:40 a.m.)

Trump told reporters on the way into his speech that the impeachment trial is “just a hoax” and a “witchhunt that’s been going on for years.”

“Frankly it’s disgraceful,” he added. “We look forward to being here. We’re meeting with the biggest companies in the world, the biggest businesses in the world and world leaders, all for the benefit of the United States.”

Immigrants Key to Growth, Microsoft CEO Says (11:40 a.m.)

Microsoft Corp’s chief executive officer warned that countries that fail to attract immigrants will lose out as the global tech industry continues to grow.

“Every country is rethinking what is in their national interest,” Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella said in an interview with Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait.

Governments need to “maintain that modicum of enlightenment and not think about it very narrowly,” Nadella added. “People will only come when people know you’re an immigrant-friendly country.”

Nokia’s Suri Predicts Productivity Boom (11:35 a.m.)

The next industrial revolution will bring about “massive productivity growth” the likes of which hasn’t been seen in decades, according to Nokia Oyj Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Suri.

Speaking on a panel about manufacturing, Suri estimated that productivity should increase by as much as 35% starting in about 2028. The gains will be seen first in the U.S. and a few years later in China, India and the European Union, he predicted.

Naspers CEO Sees Growth in Second-Hand Clothes (11:30 a.m.)

Naspers Ltd., Africa’s biggest company by market value, expects second-hand clothing sales online to pick up as companies around the world look to cut production of new goods to help address climate change.

“We are big investors in trading in second-hand clothes — we think the world will need more recycling over time,” Chief Executive Officer Bob van Dijk told Bloomberg TV. “In classifieds, we are helping to reduce the production of new goods.”

Bremmer Says Delegates Like Trump’s Policies (11 a.m.)

Ian Bremmer, president of consulting firm Eurasia Group, said Davos delegates may not like Trump but “they like his policies.”

“They like the regulatory rollback, they like his cabinet, they like his tax policy,” Bremmer told Bloomberg TV, adding that an informal poll of about 40 to 50 delegates he conducted showed there is “zero panic” about Trump winning a second term.

“You can have Greta here, you can have a bunch of people talking about climate and sustainability, but the reality is that Trump doesn’t drive people crazy at Davos the way he does in the United States,” Bremmer said.

Trump is likely to show his “triumphalist, unilateralist” side in his speech. “This is going to be Trump saying victory lap, I’m the greatest ever, my economy is doing well, my markets are taking off, look how much money I’m making you guys.”

Huawei CEO Dismisses Threat of U.S. Escalation (10:50 a.m.)

Huawei Technologies Co. founder Ren Zhengfei played down the threat that the U.S. will impose even stricter sanctions against his company, saying he is confident China’s largest tech company can survive further attacks.

“This year, the U.S. might further escalate its campaign against Huawei but I feel the impact on Huawei’s business would not be very significant,” he said during a panel discussion.

IBM Proposes Rules to Counter AI Bias (10 a.m.)

IBM called for rules aimed at eliminating bias in artificial intelligence to ease concerns that the technology relies on data that bakes in discriminatory practices and could harm women, minorities, the disabled and others.

“It seems pretty clear to us that government regulation of artificial intelligence is the next frontier in tech policy regulation,” Chris Padilla, vice president of government and regulatory affairs at International Business Machines Corp., said ahead of a Wednesday panel on AI to be led by Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty.

Mnuchin Says EU Car Tariffs Not Curently Planned (9:10 a.m.)

Car tariffs on producers in the European Union are not currently planned to enforce Iran sanctions, but they remain in President Trump’s toolbox, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

The U.S. will likely have $1 trillion deficits for a couple more years and the next phase of the China trade deal may not be a “big bang,” Mnuchin told the newspaper.

HKEX CEO Li Shrugs Off Virus Concerns (8:50 a.m.)

Charles Li, chief executive officer of Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing Ltd., shrugged off concerns about the outbreak of a deadly virus originating in central China.

“There are a lot of things that impact investor sentiment but you have to think that structurally the market is very resilient,” Li said in an interview with Bloomberg TV.

Thunberg Says ‘Nothing Been Done’ on Climate (8:45 a.m.)

Speaking on a panel about sustainability, Thunberg said people are more aware about environmental issues now but that “pretty much nothing has been done” to tackle climate change as emissions of carbon dioxide have not declined.

“Without treating this as a real crisis we cannot solve it,” Thunberg said. “It will require much more than this, this is just the very beginning.”

The panel didn’t attract leaders of the fossil fuels companies attending the forum, with most senior oil and gas executives absent.

Trump Wants ‘Hundreds of Billions’ for U.S. (8:30 a.m.)

Trump arrived in Switzerland with ongoing impeachment proceedings on his mind. He tweeted throughout much of the flight, largely about a Senate trial due to get underway there Tuesday. But he said his Davos appearance is all about the economy.

His aim is to “bring Good Policy and additional Hundreds of Billions of Dollars back to the United States of America,” he wrote on Twitter.

“We are now NUMBER ONE in the Universe, by FAR!!,” Trump tweeted ahead of his arrival in Davos just after 9:30 a.m. local time. He also took a swipe at what he called “Fake News Media,” accusing it of hating to talk about the economy and “how incredible it is.”

IEA’s Birol Worried About Situation in Iraq (8:15 a.m.)

Fatih Birol, executive director at the International Energy Agency, told Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua that the situation in Iraq is currently his main concern in the oil markets.

“Recent developments in Iraq are not very comforting,” Birol said. “I see Iraq as a major issue, which is very important for the oil markets but also for the world economy, which is already very fragile. I really hope we all see an Iraq that has some stability and production can go ahead.”

German Greens Leader Sides With Trump on Spending Critique (7:40 a.m.)

Robert Habeck, co-leader of Germany’s opposition Greens party, told Bloomberg TV’s Francine Lacqua that the government needs to rethink its balanced-budget policy and spend more in areas like climate-friendly infrastructure.

Habeck attacked Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “fetishism” about balancing the budget and said that although he’s not a fan of U.S. President Donald Trump, the criticism in the U.S. about Germany not spending enough is valid.

The Greens, who are currently Germany’s second-most popular party behind Merkel’s bloc, have been out of government for too long and are ready to take on the responsibility of running Europe’s biggest economy, Habeck added.



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