Weekly Kick Start | 20 January 2024

The 2024 World Economic Forum was held from 15 Jan to 19 Jan 2024. It is a significant annual event where world leaders and business executives come together to discuss key global issues. In this Weekly Kick Start, we will highlight the top takeaways from this important meeting. 

On Top of Our Mind This Week: Top Takeaways From World Economic Forum at Davos 

What is the World Economic Forum (WEF) ? 

The WEF is a unique non-profit committed to fostering dialogue and partnerships between governments and business. Each year, at the end of January, the WEF conducts a world summit in Davos, Switzerland. This event is not merely a meeting; it’s also a pot of ideas. Every year an audience of about 3,000 is drawn here: world leaders, central bankers, influential business moguls, forward-thinking economists, and celebrities alike. They come together to have dialogues and discussions, aiming to find new ways of dealing with the most pressing global issues. 

Why is it important ? 

Many of us may not track WEF closely, as the event tends not to make the headline news. However, the critical mass of political and business leaders who did turn up suggests the World Economic Forum remains an essential fixture. For instance, in the 2024 annual WEF, China Premier Li Qiang led a delegation numbering at least 150 and revealed to the forum how his economy performed last year. Some other prominent figures include French President Emmanuel Macron, JPMorgan’s CEO Jamie Dimon, billionaire investor Ray Dalio, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, just to name a few. 

What are the top takeaways from WEF 2024? 

Source: Bloomberg
  • Lagarde, the President of ECB, signals that the ECB is ready to cut interest rates this year.  This is in line with market expectations that major central banks will pivot monetary policies to be more accommodative in 2024. 
  • Global elite size up the risk and opportunity of Trump 2.0.  One of the main events in 2024 is the US presidential election, scheduled to be held in November 2024. Donald Trump’s Iowa victory set him on the road to the Republican nomination. The prospect of a second term for Trump as US President was a key topic of discussion at the WEF meeting. 
  • Geopolitical risks remain the key concern. The global economy is finding  a delicate balance with growth staying resilient and inflation falling. Most economists agreed that a deep recession will likely be avoided. However, this optimism has been dampened by geopolitical concerns. The ongoing conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East loom large, along with rising tensions in the Red Sea region.

Market Recap This Week

Source: Google Finance, Syfe Research, 20 January 2024

US equity markets stayed strong last week, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq up 1.2% and 2.3% respectively. On the other hand, the Hang Seng Index fell 5.8%, bringing YTD performance to -10.2%. In general, this decline is accompanied by growing worries of recession, as data show that continued deflationary trends persist. 10-year Treasury yield increased by 20 bps as investors await more guidance from the Fed in the upcoming January FOMC. In addition, Bitcoin experienced a pullback after the launch of the Bitcoin ETF.

What is on the Radar for This Week? 

The upcoming week is packed with key economic data, central bank meetings and company earnings. 

Tue: BOJ meeting, Netflix earning report 

Wed: US PMI, Tesla earning report

Thur: ECB Interest rate decision

Fri: US Core PCE data 

Source: Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg, Google Finance, The Business Times, Financial Times

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