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America First Is Good for the World, Trump Says: Davos Update

(Bloomberg) -- Billionaires, world leaders and investors are gathered in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting to hobnob and discuss topics ranging from the global economy and sexual harassment, to the risks and opportunities of artificial intelligence. But it was U.S. President Donald Trump dominating the agenda.

Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day. (Time-stamps are local time in Davos.)

For more coverage and analysis of Trump’s speech, click on TOPLive.

Top 5 Trump Takeaways (3:43 p.m.)

  • Trump stuck to his America First theme, explaining that the U.S. will act in its best interests on trade and foreign policy 
  • He expressed a willingness to negotiate not just bilateral trade agreements but perhaps a multilateral deal with some of the countries in the Trans Pacific Partnership
  • Made a sales pitch to global business leaders, boasting about his tax overhaul, efforts to reduce regulations and even the strength of the country’s colleges and universities
  • It’s clear he hopes this trip will bring massive new corporate investments into the country
  • Somewhat conciliatory in his remarks, Trump was respectful of the political and business leaders in attendance. But he drew boos when he attacked the press, complaining about “fake” news

Asset Price Adjustment More Likely (3:34 p.m.)

The probability of an adjustment in asset prices has gone up, but the financial system is unlikely to amplify those moves, according to Bank of England Governor Mark Carney. Capital standards have increased and that will help to ensure stability if Britain’s exit from the European Union proves disorderly, Carney said during a panel discussion.

Bank of Japan Committed to Inflation Target (3:26 p.m.)

Japanese economic growth is moderate, but well-balanced, while risks to the outlook are mostly external and geopolitical, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said. The BOJ is committed to meeting its 2 percent inflation target and will continue to support the economy, Kuroda said during a panel discussion.

Peru Pushing Ahead With Reforms (3:09 p.m.)

Peru’s government plans to move ahead with economic reforms including measures to boost tax revenue as it seeks to end political paralysis following the president’s brush with impeachment, cabinet chief Mercedes Araoz said in an interview.

Dollar Rocked by U.S. Officials (2:54 p.m.)

The world’s central bankers have currencies back on their radar after a week when the dollar was whipsawed by comments from the Trump administration that drew criticism from international policy makers.

Trump Calls on Elite to Support ‘America First’ (2:39 p.m.)

President Donald Trump said Friday that U.S. economic growth promoted by his policies would help the world, seeking to square his “America First” agenda with globalism. “When the United States grows, so does the world,” Trump said in a speech to the World Economic Forum. “American prosperity has created countless jobs around the globe.”

Trump: New Tax Law Is a ‘Big Beautiful Waterfall’ (2:33 p.m.)

Companies are giving bonuses to workers in the wake of the new tax law is a development his administration “didn’t anticipate,” President Donald Trump said. “All of the sudden it became like a waterfall, a big, beautiful waterfall.”

Trump Vows Tougher Line on Trade (2:22 p.m.)

“The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies and pervasive state-led economic planning,” President Donald Trump said in his speech. “We cannot have free and open trade if some countries exploit the system at the expense of others. We support free trade but it needs to be fair and it needs to be reciprocal because in the end unfair trade undermines us all.”

Trump Calls for U.S. Investment, Fair Trade (2:18 p.m.)

“America is the place to do business, so come to America,” Trump tells the world’s elite. “I believe in America. As president of the United States I will always put America first, just like the leaders of other countries should put their country first also. But America first does not mean America alone.”

“The United States is prepared to negotiate mutually beneficial trade agreements with all countries," including those in TPP, Trump says.

Trump Trumpets U.S. Economy (2:10 p.m.)

“I’m here today to represent the interests of the American people and to affirm America’s friendship and partnership in building a better world,” President Donald Trump said. “America hopes for a future in which everyone can prosper and every child can grow up free from violence, poverty and fear.”

“The world is witnessing the resurgence of a strong and prosperous America,” he said.

Trump Urges to Not Ignore the ‘Forgotten’ (2:06 p.m.)

“Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all,” according to excerpts of President Donald Trump’s speech released by the White House. “As president of the United States, I will always put America First,” Trump says. “But America First does not mean America alone.” He adds that the U.S. will insist on fair and reciprocal trade agreements. “When the United States grows, so does the world,” Trump says.

Mnuchin Says FX Comments Weren’t Intervention (1:18 p.m.)

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said his weak-dollar comments were “in no way any intention to violate the commitment that we’re not trying to intervene in currency markets.” He told the Wall Street Journal that the remarks were “completely taken out of context.” The comments were a simple “statement of fact about the impact of a weaker dollar in the short term. I wasn’t intending to endorse it or encourage it in any way.”

Trump Holds Court (12:42 p.m.)

Reminiscent of President Donald Trump’s own Cabinet meetings, top executives from Europe’s most important companies took turns trying to impress him at a gathering in the Swiss Alps. “So are you going to be investing in the U.S.?” Trump asked Bayer AG CEO Werner Baumann as TV cameras rolled. When Baumann described a $16 billion investment near St. Louis, the president nodded his approval before turning to the next chief executive.

Dollar Will Get Stronger, Trump Says (12:27 p.m.)

Trump predicted the dollar will strengthen due to accelerating U.S. economic growth. “We are doing so well, our country is becoming so economically strong again – and strong in other ways too, by the way – that the dollar is going to get stronger and stronger,” Trump said in an interview with CNBC. There is no alternative to the dollar as a reserve currency, he added.

Action Needed on Bitcoin Risks (12:16 p.m.)

The international community needs to act to counter the risks presented by Bitcoin, according to European Central Bank Executive Board member Benoit Coeure. “I will expect for instance a G-20 discussion in Buenos Aires in March to focus very much on these issues with a regulatory answer,” Coeure said during a Bloomberg-hosted panel discussion.

Dollar’s Reserve-Currency Status Under Review (11:38 a.m.)

The dollar’s position as the world’s main reserve currency is under review, according to Ray Dalio, founder and co-chief investment officer of Bridgewater Associates LP. “I do believe currency will be a big issue this year as there’s a reconsideration of how important the dollar is,” Dalio said on a panel discussion.

Markets Testing U.S.’s Weak-Dollar Resolve (11:16 a.m.)

Markets are seeing how far the U.S. is ready to accept a weak dollar, UBS Chairman Axel Weber said on a panel. “The U.S. position has always been very outspoken to focus on the strong dollar being in the interest of the U.S. If there is some deviation from that, markets are looking at it and saying shall we test that new proposition. I think in the end the U.S. will come back to the proposition that a strong dollar is in the U.S. interest.”

Currency Volatility Unhelpful (11:09 a.m.)

The G20 group of rich nations should stick to an agreement not to target exchange rates for competitive purposes, ECB’s Coeure said. “We have seen a lot of volatility created recently by different statesmen, and I think that it’s not helpful,” Coeure said during a panel hosted by Bloomberg.

Europe Worried About U.S. Trade Policy (10:33 a.m.)

Europe is concerned about U.S. trade policy under President Donald Trump, according to the European Commission’s Vice President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen. “We are a bit worried about the development in the U.S. because we want to avoid, for whatever the price, a trade war,” Katainen said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “It’s harmful for everybody, and we do hope that President Trump would look at trade and multilateral cooperation more positively in the future.”

France Takes Issue With Dollar Remarks (10:17 a.m.)

Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau joined a chorus of officials defending a global pledge to refrain from currency devaluations. Referring to a statement issued by members of the International Monetary Fund in October, Villeroy said in a Bloomberg Television interview: “What we all said, including the new U.S. administration, was that we will not target our exchange rates for competitive purposes. This sentence is very important. It remains the rule of the game. It’s a rule of mutual trust.”

Trump Tariffs Open Door for EU, Danish PM Says (9:39 a.m.)

U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on selected products will ultimately create opportunities for Europe to step in and benefit from the shift in global trade dynamics, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said. Still, the signals from Trump on trade are “not good for the world economy, honestly speaking,” he said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

Europe Wary of U.S. Tax Reform (8:51 a.m.)

Europe needs to carefully assess the consequences of the U.S. tax reform, Economic and Financial Affairs Commissioner Pierre Moscovici said. “We have sent letters, five ministers from the EU and the Commission to the Secretary of the Treasury and, well, they responded orally, but I think when you send a letter you need to have a response,” Moscovici said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Davos Takes on Sexual Harassment (8:30 a.m.)

In its own way, the #MeToo moment has come to Davos. At least two panels tackled sexual harassment head on, the first time in recent history it’s been a topic of official discussion at the World Economic Forum. The forum’s seven co-chairs this year were women, and while the attendees are still overwhelmingly male, among the younger set, half are female.

May Rebukes Hammond for ‘Modest’ Brexit (8:08 a.m.)

Prime Minister Theresa May’s office slapped down Philip Hammond for saying he hoped Brexit would bring only modest changes, after his comments enraged the euroskeptic lawmakers May needs to stay in her job.

Trump Apologizes for Retweets (7:55 a.m.)

President Donald Trump made a rare public apology on Friday for retweeting anti-Muslim videos posted by a British political activist two months ago, a social media misstep that hurt U.S. relations with the U.K. Retweets can “cause problems,” Trump said in an interview taped in Davos, Switzerland, with Piers Morgan of the U.K.’s ITV channel.

Trump Time (7:25 a.m.)

It’s finally time for the U.S. president to speak with his keynote address at 2 p.m. He’s expected to tell the world’s elite gathered in the resort town that his “America First” agenda will be good for the world -- not just the U.S. Last night he began making that case at a reception and dinner with business leaders. “It was very interesting and casual,” said Patrick Pouyanne, the chief executive of French oil giant Total SA. Less positive was billionaire George Soros, who wasn’t invited to meet Trump. He told an audience elsewhere in town that the president is a “danger to the world.”

Meanwhile, Big Tech struck a conciliatory note, Artificial Intelligence approached the summit of hype and bankers are still dancing.

Here’s What Happened Thursday:

  • European Central Bank President Mario Draghi attacked U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s comments on the dollar, saying he isn’t playing by the rules.
  • Mnuchin sought to clarify comments he made a day earlier when he said a weak dollar is beneficial to the U.S. economy.
  • Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May reaffirmed the special relationship between the two countries.
  • President Trump threatened to cut off funding to Palestinians unless they agree to resume peace talks.
  • Barclays CEO Jes Staley told May to be prepared to sacrifice access to the single European market after Brexit if it means gaining control of its own financial rules, people with knowledge of the discussions said.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his country will leverage its close trading partnership with China, while taking a “step-by-step” approach to Trump’s efforts to reshape the international order.
  • May combined criticism with praise for technology giants as she took center stage at Davos to weigh in on the controversial debate of how to regulate them.
  • Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond gave the clearest indication yet that U.K. lawmakers won’t have the full facts before them when they vote on the deal taking Britain out of the European Union.
  • The heads of the world’s biggest asset manager and largest hedge fund warned against sitting on cash.
  • May condemned the attitudes of men at the top of British business after revelations of a London charity dinner where hostesses were harassed and groped.
  • Mining cryptocurrencies is far too energy intensive and is consuming as much electricity as a G-20 economy, Lagarde said.
  • The U.S. warned Turkey to tread carefully in northwest Syria, as officials from both countries cautioned that the situation had grown dangerously combustible.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Andrew J. Barden in Davos at, Chad Thomas in Davos at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Simon Kennedy at, Chris Reiter, Iain Rogers

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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