In the years that I’ve been coming to Davos, I’ve learned that the two most valuable aspects of participation in the Forum’s Annual Meeting are: first, gaining an understanding of what’s happening in global economies and markets and, second, meeting our highest-level clients.
There is very good news to report on the first point – confidence is back.
In 2008, the general mood was one of foreboding. Markets were good, but people felt that something bad was about to happen. By January 2009, something bad had definitely occurred – the mood was one of fear and concern about whether financial markets, and many financial institutions, would survive.
In 2010, the mood had shifted to recrimination and finger-pointing, as people focused on who or what had caused the great financial crisis. By 2011, the mood had shifted yet again, to talk of repairing the damage and introducing new regulations to stop this from happening again. In 2012, we saw a world of hesitant recovery, but still a lot of fear around the Eurozone crisis and US budgetary concerns. Sentiment began to look up in 2013, despite lingering concerns about prospects for renewed growth.
So here we are in 2014, and those concerns seem to have largely evaporated. The mood in Davos today is optimistic. “Businesses and investors are expanding geographic horizons to break into new markets: research shows that while still focused on containing costs, they are migrating to “second-tier” cities, like Moscow, Munich and Atlanta, that will explore new geographies to meet business demands and to take advantage of skills and new market opportunities.
Across all industries and countries, and with very few exceptions, the world’s economies are back in growth mode. Companies are investing in growth again and developing their businesses.
Christian Ulbrich is CEO of Jones Lang Lasalle’s EMEA region. He is participating in the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2014 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland.
Image: Participants take a break between sessions at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich