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Davos: Europe holds back recovery

A blizzard of bad news greeted delegates arriving for this year's World Economic Forum in the Swiss alpine resort of Davos. A record 2,600 leaders from business, finance and industry and around 40 heads of state are taking part in the annual event. The Forum is a talking shop, but there's pressure on delegates to come up with actions as well. Shiv Khemka is Sun Group vice chairman. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SUN GROUP VICE CHAIRMAN, SHIV KHEMKA, SAYING: "One is very concerned about the global economy, you know, the euro zone weakness. The U.S. is showing some signs of recovery. We hope the euro zone doesn't drag it down." PTC The Forum here in Davos takes place as pressure on the euro zone intensifies. The International Monetary Fund has just cut it's growth forecast by almost a quarter to 3.3 percent. And it's warned it could drop as low as 1.3 percent if Europe lets the debt crisis fester for much longer. Many in Davos say Europe is being left behind. Gerard Lyons is Chief Economist at Standard Chartered. (SOUNDBITE) GERARD LYONS, CHIEF ECONOMIST, STANDARD CHARTERED, SAYING: "We think global growth is going to be 2.2 percent which is probably a full two percent below where the IMF sees it and the message probably here at Davos this week is that it is a very divided world." Chief Executive's attending the Forum are keen to talk about a new way forward. Paul Polman is CEO of consumer goods giant Unilever. SOUNDBITE: PAUL POLMAN, UNILEVER CEO, SAYING (English): "What we are looking for is much more action being here together with the CEO's and I am very encouraged to see not only talk but concrete activity happening and I think the world will judge the results more than the talk at this time." The annual survey of business leaders by PriceWaterhouseCoopers International says almost half of CEO's believe the economy will decline in 2012. But, PwC's Chairman Dennis Nally say many are still confident about the prospects for their own companies. (SOUNDBITE) DENNIS NALLY, PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS INTERNATIONAL, SAYING (English): "Coming out of the financial crisis many CEO's have learned how to navigate through the various issues. Company balance sheets were stronger today than they have been, they have a lot of cash on balance sheets, supply chains are better structured so companies are better equipped today to deal with the issues than they were two to three years ago." The Forum will continue until the weekend. No conclusions are ever reached but organisers say the ideas formulated here are the key to its success. Sonia Legg, Reuters

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