Davos 2018: Donald Trump, Theresa May and George Soros at WEF – as it happened

Rolling coverage of the third day of the World Economic Forum, as Donald Trump meets Theresa May, and George Soros hosts a dinner

A late PS, from the Associated Press’s Pan Pylas on the moment Trump arrived at the World Economic Forum.

One way to get President Donald Trump to stop and talk at the World Economic Forum: wield a book about him.

On his way into the World Economic Forum, Trump stopped and talked for about ten seconds to one delegate who was brandishing a copy of “God and Donald Trump” by Stephen E. Strang. He then proceeded to hold the book aloft in his left hand.

And finally, readers will be keen to know that Donald Trump is probably tucked up in bed.

Here’s the final dispatch:

Motorcade arrived at the Intercontinental at 9:23. Pool did not see POTUS get out. He will sleep here tonight.

Here’s some colour from Donald Trump’s dinner with business leaders, from the White House press pack:

President Trump’s eyes narrowed, as he looked a bit tired by the jetlag and long trip. But he seemed to enjoy the camaraderie with businessmen, joking with them about their success and lofty responsibilities, and nodding in agreement as they spoke about their large manufacturing capacity and thousands of US-based employees. Among the topics discussed: Kanye West’s role in designing Adidas shoes, Mack Trucks made by Volvo, Nestlé’s non-chocolate business portfolio.

Among Trump’s asides: “When he says he works for Siemens, he’s the president of Siemens!…Wow, that’s big!….Good luck with the G.E. purchase.”

Soros then claims the bitcoin price will be propped by up by dictators, who use it to ‘build their nest eggs abroad”.

Q: As a former currency trader (who beat the Bank of England on Black Wednesday) what do you think of cryptocurrencies?

Bitcoin is not a currency, Soros replies.

It’s a speculation, based on a misunderstanding.

Soros suggest the EU should help Africa’s economy develop, if it wants to address the migration crisis.

European Union should be spending more on democratic development in Africa than on “dirty deals” with dictators to keep refugees from fleeing: Soros in Davos. #WEF2018 pic.twitter.com/hGGTnZ0U0c

I was much better treated as a refugee myself than refugees are being treated today: Soros in Davos. #WEF2018 pic.twitter.com/ldGhYD9whS

Onto questions.

Q: What should be done to tackle the technology giants?

I put my faith in them, especially commissioner Vestigar who has done so much to enforce the laws – and made an award against Google.

Another punchy quote from Soros:

Pretty extraordinary attack on tech giants from Soros. Says if you combine subversion of democracy with countries like Russia or China then you get a totalitarian state beyond anything Orwell or Aldous Huxley could’ve imagined. #Davos2018 #WEF18

On Europe, Soros suggests that a multi-speed, multi-track approach would be more successful.

This would allow Britain to rejoin the EU in the future without having to commit to joining the euro, explained Soros (who hasn’t given up hope that Brexit won’t happen).

George Soros then turns his guns at the technology sector.

In a blistering attack, he accuses social media companies of “deliberately engineering addiction”, which is “particularly harmful” for adolescents.

Davos is a good place to announce that their days are numbered.

Regulation and taxation will be their undoing.

I see Trump as a purely temporary phenomenon which will disappear in 2020, or earlier, Soros says – winning a laugh from his audience as they tuck into their chicken, potatoes and spinach.

Soros adds that he expects a Democratic landslide in 2018.

America must recognise the reality that North Korea has become a nuclear power, Soros continues.

There is no military action that can prevent what has already happened.

Soros says that the survival of our whole civilisation is at stake, due to the rise of Kim Jong Un in North Korea and Donald Trump in the United States.

They both seem to be willing to risk a nuclear war to keep themselves in power.

Soros at #wef18: Kim Jong-Un, Trump risk nuclear war to stay in power. pic.twitter.com/HMcSMY6nGn

At another dinner in Davos, billionaire businessman-turned-philanthopist George Soros is giving his views on the state of the world.

He’s warning that open societies are in crisis, with various forms of dictatorship on the rise – such as Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

If you’re just tuning in, here’s our news story about the prospect of Donald Trump visiting the UK later this year:

Related: Donald Trump makes plans with Theresa May for UK visit ‘later this year’

Companies whose execs Trump is schmoozing tonight in Switzerland: Anheuser-Busch, Deloitte, Nestle, Adidas, Nokia, SAP, Volvo, HSBC, etc.https://t.co/zhOzcOIbL4

UK government officials have been updating the British press about Theresa May’s meeting with Donald Trump this afternoon, shortly after he arrived at WEF (and brought it to a standstill).

A UK govt source in the room at Davos says @realDonaldTrump got through 40 minutes with Theresa May without bringing up fake news, negative press coverage about him, the possibility of protests, the royal wedding or the embassy snub — and didn’t do all the talking.

Interesting colour on Trump and May bilat: they greeted and parted with formal handshakes. No kisses or hand holding this time, and little banter. A #Davos chill. Suits both.

Mark Knoller, CBS News White House Correspondent, has details of Trump’s dinner with European business chiefs:

Pres Trump making remarks at start of dinner in Davos with international business leaders. Says there’s “a lot of respect for our country,” also “a lot of money.” Says business leaders happy with his policies of tax cuts and de-regulation. pic.twitter.com/sAubk3qdCV

Donald Trump is now sitting down for diner with the bosses of some of Europe’s biggest companies.

Mark Tucker, the chairman of HSBC, and Punit Renjen, the chief executive of Deloitte, are flying the flag for Britain – according to this guest list from the White House press pack:

President Trump is likely to face protests if and when his visit to the UK takes place, even if it is just a “working visit”.

For a start, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Jo Swinson pulled no punches, saying: “Trump is a dangerous, misogynistic racist and is deserving of the protests he will undoubtedly face.

The White House says Theresa May and Donald Trump discussed plans for a “working visit” to London.

That may mean that it won’t be a full-blown state visit.

President Donald J. Trump met today with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom. The President and Prime Minister discussed joint efforts to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS and other jihadist terrorist organizations in Syria and Iraq. They discussed the importance of confronting Iran’s destructive behavior across the Middle East and fundamental flaws in the Iran nuclear deal.

The leaders committed to expanded trade between the United States and the United Kingdom, as well as how the two countries can work together to ensure all nations engage in fair and reciprocal trade practices.

Donald Trump emerged from his meetings a little while ago, and briefly chatted with delegates who hadn’t been driven away by security.

He said his first day at Davos had been “really good” and “very successful”, before calling it a “very great day”.

“I think the real message is we want great prosperity and we want great peace and I think that’s the message. It’s been going really well. A lot of people are coming back to the United States.

We are seeing tremendous investment and today has been a very exciting day. Very great day and great for our country. Thank you very much.”

Donald Trump may be in the spotlight in Davos today, but it was Wednesday’s comments by US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin about the dollar which caused ructions at the European Central Bank.

Mnuchin said that a weaker dollar was good for American trade, and ECB president Mario Draghi suggested this was not in the spirit of an agreement between governments made in October in Washington. Draghi said:

Ministers and governments recognised excessive volatily or disorderly movements in exchange rates could have adverse effects. [They agreed to] refrain from competitive devaluations and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes.

[The ECB] remains fairly relaxed about the effects of a stronger euro, but bluntly criticised the recent foreign exchange messages from the US administration, seen as violating the long-standing international commitment to avoid competitive devaluation.

And of course Donald Trump has tweeted about his meeting with Theresa May:

Great bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, affirming the special relationship and our commitment to work together on key national security challenges and economic opportunities. #WEF18 pic.twitter.com/FPP8aRDAyt

World leaders and execs arriving for reception with Pres Trump in Davos — IBM Ginni Rometty, Christine Lagarde, Ray Dalio, Marc Benioff, Maurice Levy, Lloyd Blankfein, ~70 others pic.twitter.com/MGg0WVJocm

Theresa May’s meeting with Donald Trump at Davos took place shortly after she gave a special address to the World Economic Forum (highlights start here)

May focused on the opportunities and threats of new technology, and Britain’s efforts to equip its economy for the challenges ahead.

Prime Minister May made a strong pitch for the UK to be seen as a global leader in AI and regulation-friendly innovation, but ‎I thought her not spending some time laying out the UK government’s latest thinking on Brexit – particularly what it aspires for the all-important future relationship – was a bit of a missed opportunity.

We don’t know what details still need to be finalised, so it’s possible that officials can’t actually get Donald Trump’s visit nailed down.

One possible hitch might be the certainty of large protests against the US president from British citizens appalled by his view on climate change, accusations of sexual harassment, the Muslim ban, his America First policies – to name just four.

In one phone conversation during 2017, Trump complained to May over the criticism he’d been getting in British newspapers.

Amid warnings that Trump would face protests in the streets when he arrived, he told the prime minister he would not be coming to the U.K. until she could promise him a warm welcome.

It’s official. Barring a few details, US president Donald Trump will visit the United Kingdom later this year.

May and Trump asked their respective officials to work on ‘finalising the details’ of a trip, at the end of their bilateral meeting here in the World Economic Forum.

The PM and President concluded by asking officials to work together on finalising the details of a visit by the President to the UK later this year.”

The two leaders began by discussing Bombardier, with the PM reiterating the importance of the company’s jobs in Northern Ireland.

The PM and the President discussed Iran, and the need to work together to combat the destabilising activity which it is conducting in the region, including ballistic missile development, and continuing efforts to ensure Iran does not develop nuclear weapons.

NEWSFLASH: Theresa May and Donald Trump have asked officials to work on “finalising the details of a visit by the President to the UK later this year”, Downing Street said.

More to follow.

Swiss campaign group CAMPAX have hung a Trump protest banner on a mountain at Sargans – about 50 kilometres from Davos.

Here’s a photo of the Davos meeting room which Donald Trump and his delegation swept into, a couple of hours ago:

There’s still a huge crowd at the bottom of the stairs; I think there’s only one way out….

During his meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu, president Trump suggested that aid would be withheld from the Palestinians if they didn’t show respect.

He said “they disrespected our great Vice President” (Last November, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas didn’t meet Mike Pence during his visit to the Middle East).

“The money is on the table. And the money was never off the table.

Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu has returned from his meeting with Trump.

He says it was “excellent”.

Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu says meeting with US President Trump was “excellent” pic.twitter.com/ioQFhf9VV4

Here’s the White House pool report on the Trump-May meeting:

President Trump and PM May sat beside one another in a WEF conference room with aides on each side. Among them on US side: Gary Cohn, HR McMaster, Tillerson, Sarah Sanders.

Donald Trump has also talked about the prospect of a trade deal with the UK, but only in very general terms.

Trade between the US and the UK is going to increase ‘many times’, Trump said during his meeting with May, adding:

The discussions…that will be taking place are going to lead to tremendous increase in trade between our countries, which is great for both in terms of jobs.

President Trump and British PM Theresa May say they “will talk about that” when asked if there will be a state visit between the U.S. and the U.K. https://t.co/53mqRLu19F pic.twitter.com/KwDMGxJoq6

.@tsipras_eu and @Lagarde around the room where @realDonaldTrump is meeting with leaders. Seems they went to meet with him. US Security team does not confirm who is in the room #wef18 #WEF2018 #davos pic.twitter.com/8WbEwhP2Z9

Several people have come down the stairs where Donald Trump’s meetings are taking place.

I’ve spied IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Europe’s Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, and Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell.

Q: How large an effect does your communication have on exchange rate?

When I said communication I didn’t mean ECB communication but other people’s communication.

Q: how do you feel about ECB communications this year including from individual members, could it be improved. What level of concern was there today about a possible change in US policy [after US dollar comments]

Yes there was concern. It was broader than simply the exchange rate, but about broader state of international relations right now. If this leads to an unwarranted tightening of monetary policy we would have to think about our monetary policy strategy.

Away from Davis briefly and back with the ECB, and president Mario Draghi said at his press conference that domestic price pressures remained muted, inflation has yet to show a convincing upward trend.

He said the recent foreign exchange volatility is a source of uncertainty. An ample degree of monetary stimulus is necessary.

We’ve now got video footage of Theresa May and Donald Trump meeting.

Trump says he and May have a mutual feeling of ‘liking each other a lot”.

We have great respect for everything you’re doing, and we love your country. We think it’s truly good.

We are very much joined at the hip when it comes to the military

WATCH LIVE: President Trump is meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Davos https://t.co/53mqRLu19F pic.twitter.com/idvMZ5qc6M

Theresa May’s meeting with Trump is over – she’s departed the scene without speaking to the press.

Next up…. Israel’s president Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s gone up the stairs with a small group, presumably to meet Trump.

Curiously, Theresa May and a few advisors came down from the Trump meeting…..vanished into another room…reappeared and then went back up again.

OK, it looks like Trump and May have been holding their meeting – and it’s nearly over….

White House reporters are travelling with Trump – here’s one of the latest pooled reports:

Pool arrived at 2:40 at the conference center after brief motorcade through town that includes some small souvenir shops, ski shops, restaurants.

There were some JP Morgan flags posted on the route as well. The smattering of onlookers included a few waving American flags and some young kids in ski helmets.

A few more photos of Trump’s arrival:

I managed a short video clip of Trump’s arrival:

Welcome to Switzerland, Mr President. “Thank you very much. Great country”, Donald Trump replies #davos pic.twitter.com/D5QU1eRiHw

President Trump and his entourage then move up the stairs, to a constant clicking of cameras.

One delegate welcomes him to Switzerland.

Trump, in a scrum at Davos, just told a reporter that his message to the world is “peace and prosperity”.

Trump arrives to his audience; reporters shout out a few questions.

Asked what his message is to Davos, he replies “Peace and prosperity”.

He is here and says “peace and prosperity” the crowd laughs. A tough audience for him here at #Davos2018 pic.twitter.com/AfTc1uWgOT

Here he comes……

The entire World Economic Forum has gone into a weird semi-lockdown.

Half the delegates are crowding around, in a hush, waiting for Trump. The rest are milling around in the corridors and lounges, or getting on with business.

Trump is coming…. #davos pic.twitter.com/gUb1ZShBTz

President Trump is about to arrive at the World Economic Forum. People are crowding around the security cordon and flocking on the balcony , desperate for a glimpse.

Theresa May ends her speech by calling on the World Economic Forum to work together to solve the problems she identified.

The UK has a proud history of stepping up and delivering progress that can deliver for all, she says:

Let’s renew our commitment to collaboration – and set ourselves on a path to benefit all our people. Now, and for generations to come.

Theresa May says technology companies employ some of the brightest minds in the world – they should be able to design a system where unacceptable content is deleted automatically.

No-one wants to be known as a a platform for terrorism, or the best place for child pornography, she points out.

Theresa May is now challenging social media companies to do more to protect users – especially children.

We want Britain to be a “World leader in innovation-friendly regulation” she says (not the catchiest slogan).

Companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery, or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.

Theresa May singles out Uber as an example of the potential,and problems, created by technology.

It’s an innovative company, but it has also got things wrong – with safety issues and concerns about its treatment of workers

Maybe 2/3 full was an overstatement….

It’s half empty as Theresa May takes the stage in Davos – here’s the pic. #wef18 #wef2018 #UK #Brexit pic.twitter.com/qmWLr0fcFU

May is pitching to businesses here, saying the government is raising Britain’s digital skills for the 21st century.

We’re also at the forefront of low-carbon technologies, she declares.

“I believe we are only just seeing the beginning of what AI can achieve,” says Theresa May. Don’t know about you but I think she’s on to something there.

Those of you up here in Davos mustn’t forget the plight of those who face losing their job after 20 years, says May.

We must channel the power of business and government together to harness technology, and make it a force for good, May continues – to address people’s concerns.

I understand the power of business as a force for good.

Turning to technology, Theresa May says the internet can deliver $2.2 trillion worth of GDP to developing countries.

And just last week, a drone saved two boys from drowning off Australia by carrying a float to them.

Britain will continue to be an advocate of free trade after Brexit, May insists.

And she challenges Davos delegates to live up to their commitments, in three ways:

Theresa May begins by saying that last year, she warned that the benefits of free trade weren’t being shared fairly, and this risked undermining the global world order.

One year on, there are grounds for optimism. Global growth is strengthening.

Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum, is introducing Theresa May now.

The room is roughly two-thirds full – respectable, not as much as for president Macron last night.

Cowbells are ringing across the Davos congress centre (yes, really), to tell delegates that Theresa May’s speech starts soon.

The hall is filling up well, but it’s not packed out yet.

At the CBI’s lunch in Davos, Philip Hammond insisted that Britain would leave the EU on 31st March 2019.

That’s a statement of political reality, the chancellor insists.

An off-the-shelf Norway or Canada agreement won’t work.

Should go for something much more ambitious than anything that’s previously been agreed.

For France, Brexit is a gift that keeps on giving.

The European Central Bank has left interest rates unchanged and repeated that its bond buying programme will run until September or beyond if necessary.

The ECB added it could increase the programme from its current €30bn a month if circumstances change:

If the outlook becomes less favourable, or if financial conditions become inconsistent with further progress towards a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation, the Governing Council stands ready to increase the asset purchase programme (APP) in terms of size and/or duration.

Donald Trump and his team are staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Davos.

That’s a sensible move from a security point of view; the Intercontinental is at the edge of Davos, rather than slap bang next to the conference centre like the Belvedere (scene of many parties and meeting).

Hello… Business Insider’s Paul Colgan has spotted some anti-Trump protesters outside the conference halls.

Early days but this appears to be the size of the anti-Trump protest in Davos so far. #wef18 pic.twitter.com/9ZScfyeiRo

Chancellor Philip Hammond is cracking some jokes at the CBI’s lunch with British business chiefs – including one at Theresa May’s expense.

He reminds his audience that it was a walk in the mountain air that inspired the prime minister to call a general election last year*. I’m discouraging her from taking any strolls, Hammond grins.

Boris Johnson once said that he was put off from visiting parts of New York by the very real risk of meeting Donald Trump.

Well in Davos, you also run the very real risk of running into Piers Morgan.

*BREAKING NEWS*
I will sit down today in Davos with @realDonaldTrump for his 1st International TV interview since becoming President.
It will air exclusively on ITV, this Sunday night at 10pm. pic.twitter.com/GbOpzQfGJ4

First clips from my world exclusive interview with President Trump will air on @GMB from 6am tomorrow morning. #davos #trump pic.twitter.com/0lEmyqV2fe

Davos delegates without a swanky lunch invite (or the time to go) are being fed individual jars of pasta dishes.

Trump has touched down in Switzerland, but there’s no sign of him in the Congress Hall yet.

Per pool, Trump has landed in Davos.

Ireland’s leader, Leo Varadkar, is in Davos — and refusing to accept that Apple got an unfairly good tax deal from the Irish government.

In 2016, the EC ruled that Apple had received €13bn of state aid. Last November, it referred Ireland to the European Court of Justice because Dublin hadn’t started reclaiming the cash.

Irish PM Leo Varadkar says govt will start collecting Apple tax money “within months”, but says Ireland can “prove” in the ECJ that there was no special tax deal for Ireland. “We’re really one of the most transparent countries when it comes to tax.” #WEF18

Varadkar on Apple: “We will collect it. What we had to do in order to collect it was set up an escrow account. That’s been established now and we anticipate collecting money in Q2 this year, so we will collect the money, but we are absolutely disputing the case.” #WEF18

Speaking of the CBI, UK retail sales have grown modestly in January so far, according to its latest distributive trades survey, but at a slower pace than anticipated.

The survey showed a balance of +12 for January, down from +20 in December. Sales for the time of year were the weakest compared to the norm for more than four years, said the CBI. Orders to suppliers also fell, and looking ahead retailers expect similar growth in sales volumes while orders are forecast to be flat. Anna Leach, CBI head of economic intelligence, said:

Retailers have seen fairly modest sales growth this month overall, but it is online retailers who have set the pace during the January sales.

Household spending will remain under pressure this year from higher inflation and low wage growth, which will continue to weigh on sales growth in the retail sector.

Post-Christmas #Retail sales growth disappoints, according to January #CBI_DTS https://t.co/9R6p4QDxDZ pic.twitter.com/mxZBTrYb3h

British business chiefs and media leaders have headed to a lunchtime event with chancellor Philip Hammond, hosted by the CBI.

It’s a traditional part of the Davos week for the UK delegation, but this year it could be a little frostier than usual.

Theresa May has given an interview to Bloomberg.

She spoke about the revelations about sexual harassment at a charity dinner in London, saying:

I was frankly appalled when I read the report of this Presidents Club event. I thought that that sort of attitude of the objectification of women was something that was in the past.

Sadly, what that event showed is that there is still a lot more work for us to do.

Related: Theresa May: Presidents Club scandal shows ‘lot more work to do’ to combat ‘objectification’ of women – Politics live

We hear that Theresa May’s meeting with Donald Trump will take place shortly after her speech (which starts at 2pm, or 1pm GMT).

It’s likely to focus on foreign affairs issues like Syria and North Korea.

Theresa May has now ended her private meeting (perhaps a roundtable?) and swept the WEF congress hall in a gaggle of aides.

Down the stairs at pace, she’s quickly into another secure section of this rabbit-warren of a building.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has told the Davos panel on financial risks that Europe will lose out if the City suffers after Brexit.

New York and Singapore would benefit from new business, he says, not European cities.

The idea that you can recreate London’s financial centre anywhere else is a fantasy.

The only deal that can be done is one that can be fair to both parties

One that included trade and not services would not be fair to the UK.

Theresa May and her entourage have just swept through the Davos congress centre, into a private meeting room.

Alas media are certainly not allowed in to listen.

Trump’s treasury secretary, Stephen Mnuchin is also on the panel on the future of finance.

Yesterday, Mnuchin sent the dollar tumbling by saying a weak currency is good for exports.

“In the short term where the dollar is is not a concern of mine. It is not something I spend a lot of time thinking about.”

The big debate on financial stability is also underway.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, says trade is one of the factors leading to stronger growth.

“Who would want to do anything that would lead to weaker growth?

Al Gore, former US vice-president, has suggested that Donald Trump can’t disrupt the battle against climate change – especially if he isn’t reelected in 2020.

Speaking on a panel here in Davos, Gore says there is strong momentum to fight climate change.

Several governors of our largest states, hundreds of cities, and thousands of US businesses are now ensuring that the US will not just meet, but exceed, the commitments it made in the Paris Agreement.

Back in the UK, and mortgage approvals by Britain’s banks fell to their lowest level since April 2013 in December, according to trade association UK Finance.

Banks approved 36,115 mortgages for housebuying, down from 39,007 in November and 19% lower than a year ago. Annual growth in consumer credit slipped from 0.8% to 0.7%.

Mortgage approvals by the main high street banks plunged in December. RICS survey of new buyer enquiries consistent with further decline in lending in Q1. The MPC has seriously misjudged the ability of the housing market to withstand even modest increases in interest rates pic.twitter.com/nF8kfkTDeW

#UK #Finance report #mortgage approvals for #house purchases fell sharply & for 4th month to 36,115 in December (lowest since April 2013) from 39,007 in November & 41,616 in August. Suggests November #BOE #interest rate hike reinforced pressures already weighing down on activity

Newsflash: Theresa May has met with South Africa’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa…..and there’s not a fondue dish in sight either.

Deputy President #Ramaphosa meets UK Prime Minister Theresa May at the #WEF in Davos. pic.twitter.com/YEOHNNyd6F

Theresa May’s former press chief has caused a stir this morning, accusing the PM of spending last year’s Davos “sitting in a hotel eating fondue” rather than meeting fellow world leaders and business chiefs.

Writing in The Times, Katy Perrior claims the PM struggled to schmooze at the 2017 World Economic Forum, and even turned up with the wrong sort of footwear (her new £120 snowboots should work better this time).

‘Elsewhere they get personal audiences with President Macron in France and Malcolm Turnbull in Australia but not so much as a digestive biscuit from the PM.

‘Does she have any idea how frustrating that is for them? Other world leaders are on a charm offensive, desperate to woo major businesses to their shores.

Kristin Lemkau, JP Morgan’s chief marketing officer, sums up Davos so far:

Themes I’m hearing from Davos: gender/equality, AI, the world’s a mess, and the future of work. More interesting is how they’re all related. #WEF2018

Sterling continues to go from strength to strength. In Asia overnight it hit $1.4328, and although it has eased back from that, it is still up 0.11% so far today at $1.4255.

It is partly the expectation of an earlier than expected UK rate rise, given the recent strong data including Wednesday’s employment and wages figures. But of course there is also the weak dollar, hit recently by the expectation that Donald Trump’s tax cuts would raise the already hefty US deficit. More immediately Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin told Davos the US wasn’t worried about a flagging greenback. Kit Juckes at Societe Generale said:

Steven Mnuchin (US Treasury Secretary) went to Davos and said that a weaker dollar ‘is good for us as it relates to trade and opportunities’. He also pointed out that that he isn’t concerned by where it is in the short term and that in the longer term, its strength is a reflection of the strength of the US economy. In other words, he said very little really, but he said it under snow-plastered slopes and he was speaking to a market where dollar bulls have been under the cosh. A few more capitulated.

With headline inflation remaining well below its 2% target rate at 1.4% and an economy that continues to show decent levels of economic activity the ECB is faced with having to navigate the minefield of guiding markets over the tightrope of communicating a credible timeline for stimulus reduction and interest rate policy, while trying to move CPI back to target against the difficulty of a rising currency.

Since the beginning of 2017 the euro has risen 18% against the US dollar and could well rise even further given yesterday’s remarks by US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin.

Draghi would have to adopt a delicate approach and seek a strategy which stops the euro from firming further. The only way out of this situation for him would be to emphasize that the process of the rate hikes is not within sight yet. The market is expecting a rate hike in 2019 from the ECB, Draghi would have to pull a rabbit out of hat in order to convince the market that rate hike isn’t on the agenda and market participants are getting ahead of themselves.

We do think that overly dovish statement by the European central bank is priced in the euro to some extent. If Draghi fails to convince the market or if he doesn’t sound as dovish as the market is expecting, we think that the euro can take off from here. I think the risk to the downside for the euro are limited, it is the upside move which would be more exciting.

Theresa May’s Conservative Party has confirmed she will hold social media giants to account in Davos:

Today, @theresa_may will put pressure on social media companies to stop providing a platform for terror, extremism and child abuse. We must meet the challenges of new technologies and seize the opportunities that they offer to improve our everyday lives. pic.twitter.com/O68RmmhZrR

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman of Lloyd’s, says that companies are taking out more insurance against cyber attacks.

“It is the fastest growing part of our business”, Carnegie-Brown says, adding:

“Companies are certainly becoming more concerned about the risks.”

“People are more concerned about cyber attack than a fire when it comes to the potential impact on their business.”

Related: Business Today: sign up for a morning shot of financial news

Malala also warns that world leaders need to invest more in education, to help future generations.

Malala Yousafzai, the world’s youngest Nobel Prize winner, is speaking at Davos right now, about the importance of giving girls equal rights to education.

I get so disappointed to see that people in these high positions openly talk against women, do not accept women as equals, they harass woman.

It is just shocking to think that is is happening

Just in: chancellor Philip Hammond says he’s “very happy” with the strength of sterling, which has hit its highest level since the Brexit vote.

Foreign exchange rates are a big story at Davos, after America’s Treasury secretary Stephen Mnuchin seemed to hint that Washington liked a weaker dollar

We’re “very happy” with the strength of the pound at present, Philip Hammond says after it passes $1.43 https://t.co/0vYk6skfq1 #WEF18 pic.twitter.com/ywsJnTBVpH

Davos getting ready for Trump pic.twitter.com/lnWNYp056N

Some of President’s Trump’s top officials are briefing the press again this morning.

Commerce secretary Wilbur Ross is in combative mood, denying that America is protectionist – even though it just slapped new tariffs on washing machines and solar panels from Asia.

In Davos this AM, Commerce Sec. Wilbur Ross called the US “the least” protectionist country. “Regardless of the rhetoric” out there.

Wilbur Ross at #WEF18: The president is more interested in bilateral trade deals. Such accords have fewer moving parts, easier.

John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, is also in Davos, and bringing a warning for the global elite:

McDonnell will be telling top business people and world leaders that they’re dangerously insulated from the problems outside WEF’s security cordon and swanky parties:

“Many of those attending the World Economic Forum have been patting themselves on the back as international growth figures have begun to pick up.

“But they should be worried. In the real world, outside the Davos bubble of Alpine restaurants and chalets, the global economic system they have built isn’t working for billions of people.

Nearly Trump time at Davos #WEF2018. He’s arriving later today. First meeting will be a bilateral with Britain’s Theresa May (because obviously he can’t set foot in the U.K. for fear of the protests)

Philip Hammond, the UK’s chancellor of the Exchequer, is also at Davos.

He’s been giving his views about artificial intelligence at a Microsoft breakfast, saying:

“We are at the point where computers move from being dumb and fast to being smart and fast.”

“To many it will seem to be a big threat to their prosperity and livelihoods”.

“Let’s not create a generation of 21st Century Luddites who feel the only chance of survival is to resist change.”

“The choice is simple: do we look inward or outward, look to the future or cleave to the past?”

Here are some photos of Donald Trump setting off to Davos last night:

Good morning from Davos.

It’s another big day at the World Economic Forum, with Theresa May giving a keynote speech this afternoon – and meeting Donald Trump on the sidelines.

Investors can make a big difference here by ensuring trust and safety issues are being properly considered. And I urge them to do so.

These companies simply cannot stand by while their platforms are used to facilitate child abuse, modern slavery or the spreading of terrorist and extremist content.”

Related: May calls on social media giants to do more to tackle terrorism

The two leaders are expected to focus on areas where there is common ground in international affairs: North Korea, as well as eradicating Islamic State in Syria and northern Iraq.

They might touch on Iran. But the thornier issue of Russian aggression in Europe is less likely to be raised as the Prime Minister seeks to soothe relations and not stoke further tensions.

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Bitcoin won’t last in world of finance, warns Nobel-winning economist

Davos speakers round on cryptocurrency as Robert Shiller calls it a clever idea with an impermanent future

The Nobel prize-winning economist Robert Shiller has said bitcoin will not be a “permanent feature” of the financial world, as politicians indicated that a clampdown on cryptocurrencies was coming.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Thursday, Shiller hailed bitcoin as a “really clever idea”. But although he was impressed with the technology behind it, he was concerned that it had “gone viral as a currency”.

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