At Davos, new year brings renewed optimism

(MoneyWatch) The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum now under way in Davos, Switzerland, famously convenes a "who's who" of politicos, Nobel laureates, and even the odd celebrity or two. This year's event, which is expected to draw over 2,500 attendees from more than 100 countries, is organized under the theme of  "Resilient Dynamism" in a nod to the expectations for faster global economic growth in 2013.

We are here on the ground in Davos roaming the halls of the Congress Center, sitting in on panels to hear what people are saying and talking with corporate executives, heads of state and academics, including some of the greatest minds in the world.

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde were the headliners here today. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron is set to address conference goers tomorrow.

The vibe is upbeat this year, a noticeable improvement over the 2012 gathering. Talk continues about the various "risks" at loose in the global economy, but attention has returned to growth. Ian Bremmer, president of consulting firm Eurasia Group, said we're "much more aware of global risk, but it's also much more optimistic." People here in Davos are focused on the recent "uptick" in U.S. growth.

Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorganChase (JPM), believes "the world needs the U.S. to grow."

"The U.S. is in pretty good shape," he added. "The table is pretty well set."

That theme of growth has threaded through all of the early World Economic Forum sessions, which run through Sunday. Said Medvedev in his speech to participants, "We need to see investment growing by 10 percent annually." The Russian leader was here to make the case about why investors should look to put money in his country.

Lagarde echoed a similar sentiment, expressing optimism about Europe's future despite the region's ongoing economic woes. "What they have done in the last 18 months is remarkable," she said, alluding to efforts by eurozone members to arrest the economic crisis that has gripped the currency union.

We'll see what people say the rest of the week.

  • Lulu Chiang

    Lulu Chiang is a senior producer for CBS News based in New York.