World Economic Forum: Davos meets amid global turmoil

The annual World Economic Forum kicks off in Davos this week so it's time to put on your snow boots and weather the freezing conditions in the Alps - that is if you're actually making your way up the mountain resort.

If you're staying put like most of us, you still won't be able to escape the icy chill of the topics to be discussed. The weather always comes in handy for any real word references, so bear with me.

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Davos, Switzerland
Glowimages | Getty Images
Davos, Switzerland

For many of the participants at Davos looking back over the world and business events of the last few months, the winter chill has become unbearable, slopes are even slippier and a thawing of problems is nowhere in sight.

Even more so than in other years, It seems absurd that the world' s business elite is meeting in a serene setting in the Swiss Alps while the world is in turmoil.

For some it is the "Most. Important. Davos. Ever"

That is according to Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, a global brokerage company based in New York, who says: "This is not most years. Islamic terrorism next door in France, currency volatility in the host country, global oil and financial asset prices in decline, and zero yields on sovereign debt around the world all spell one thing: trouble ahead."

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Let me add a few more boulders for WEF participants and investors to navigate this week: We've got the small matter of an European Central Bank meeting on the agenda, where policymakers are poised to pull the trigger on quantitative easing. Or not.

The complicating factor comes is in the form of Greek elections. Any opportunity where "moral hazard" could occur will want to be keenly avoided by the ECB. And let's not forget that we haven't even discounted the unknowns. Not a single person in the investment universe saw last week's shock move by the Swiss National Bank coming.

Will participants in Davos find the silver bullet for all of the above over cheese fondue this week? Very unlikely. Some might even choke on their cheese when they see the bill which has suddenly spiked as a result of the SNB's shock action last week.

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Dimitar Dilkoff | AFP | Getty Images

While the world grapples with the various avalanches (no, I won't let go of the snow theme), investors really are pondering the following question: Is there any safe haven left?

Gold? If anything, it's an unreliable one given the ascent of the dollar and lack of inflationary pressure. Treasuries? They may be rising at the moment but we are still looking at a Fed tightening move some time this year.

The yen? Many argue the yen has long lost its appeal as a safe haven as a result of by the Bank of Japan's own QE program and Abenomics.

The Swiss franc? If you held Swiss francs, then yes, but any equity investment in Switzerland will have suffered. And who wants to safely park their money in a country whose central bank doesn't shy away from pulling the rug out from under the feet of investors and the credibility of its monetary policy is at risk? This is a shaky haven at best.

A well-known Disney character recently claimed that the cold never bothered her anyway and said she should let it go. She may be alone. Most investors want protection and will look for havens. There may just be fewer of them around.

If you have found a safe haven, we want to know. Send in your tweets to @carolincnbc or take part in our poll on our website www.cnbc.com

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By Carolin Roth, anchor at CNBC International