The global economy is in better shape than it's been in years. Stock markets are booming, oil prices are on the rise again and the risks of a rapid economic slowdown in China have eased. But as political leaders, CEOs and top bankers make their annual trek up the Swiss Alps to the World Economic Forum in Davos, the mood is anything but celebratory. Ivor Bennett reports
It's a spectacular view from the top, but perhaps not what it was. Even the sheltered surroundings of Davos have been rocked by the events of the last 12 months. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF) FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN , KLAUS SCHWAB SAYING: "Of course we are meeting at a time when there is a lot of confusion. Many many question marks. So what we have to do here is address the root causes of this anxiety." Some of the discussion panels suggest most know the cause already. see the 2nd from the top. The fact Donald Trump's inauguration coincides with this year's forum only adds to the significance. But others argue little else has changed. Same venue, same branding, same people. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BGC PARTNERS MARKET STRATEGIST, MIKE INGRAM, SAYING: "Broaden the gene pool in terms of the participants and perhaps move it to a place that isn't quite as glamorous. Perhaps we should have it in Doncaster next year rather than Davos and see it how many people are willing to, by comparison, slum it and actually turn up." There is a least on new face this year Xi Jinping is the first Chinese President to ever attend Even if Davos might not be changing, a sign the world is. (SOUNDBITE) (English) WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM (WEF) FOUNDER AND EXECUTIVE CHAIRMAN , KLAUS SCHWAB SAYING: "It's a demonstration of the fact that we have moved, or we are moving from a unilateral world to a multilateral world. And we can assume and hope that China in this new world will assume responsive and responsible leadership role." But the guest list is telling as much for the names on it, as off it. Germany's Angela Merkel among those who won't be attending. After all, associations with the global elite don't always play well in elections.