The world's financial and political elite are getting set to meet in the Alps this week for 2013’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.  

Davos is the venue for an annual gathering of more than 1,500 business leaders from nearly 100 countries and up to 50 heads of state and hundreds of companies that starts on Wednesday.

The economy is in a much better state than it was last year, and fear of a collapse of the euro currency union has been avoided. Stocks are off to a running start in the new year. Yet the global economy is expected to remain sluggish in 2013, with two of the biggest economies, the euro alliance and Japan, in recession.

There's also a risk that the United States, the world's largest economy, may slash government spending, a step that could dampen the world economy. Few think global economic growth will even match last year's tepid 3.3 percent.

Despite that, as fear of a catastrophe has eased, optimism appears to have taken hold among investors.

Al Jazeera's Stephen Cole reports from Davos.

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies