The 2012 MoneyWeek quiz

It’s been an event-packed year, from the Olympics to the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee to the US election – but how much of it can you remember? Here are 60 questions to test your knowledge. Subscribers can see the answers here. If you’re not already a subscriber, take a three-week free trial here.

Economics

1. Which European country lost its AAA credit rating from both S&P and Moody’s this year?
2. We’re used to central banks setting inflation targets. What innovation did the Federal Reserve introduce this year?
3. Which country was faced with the threat of expulsion from the IMF amid accusations its official economic data were being fiddled?
4. Which European Union country is seen as the most corrupt, according to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index? And which two are seen as the least corrupt?
5. Which of the following has the highest level of GDP per head: a) Germany; b) China; c) Switzerland; d) Qatar.
6. Why did the Japanese yen suffer a significant fall in value ahead of the recent Japanese election?
7. What is the ‘fiscal cliff’ and why is everyone worried about it?
8. Which country could replace Saudi Arabia as the top oil producer in the world by 2020, according to estimates?
9. What did European Central Bank head Mario Draghi promise to do to save the euro?
10. The Japanese government made a purchase this year that led to a major dispute with China. What was it?
11. Measured as a percentage of foreign currency reserves, which country owns the most gold?
12. The Bank of England is considering relaxing its inflation target. When did British wage inflation last manage to keep pace with the rising cost of living?
13. According to the Financial Services Authority, what percentage of people who took out a mortgage since 2005 could now be ‘mortgage prisoners’ – unable to remortgage elsewhere today?

Markets

1. Which was the best-performing company in the FTSE 100 stock index this year (of those that were in the index for the whole of 2012)? How much did it rise by (to the nearest 1%)?
2. And which was the worst performer? How much did it fall by (to the nearest 1%)?
3. What will independent financial advisers be banned from doing when the Retail Distribution Review (RDR) kicks in from next year?
4. Which currency has performed best against the pound this year (as of 18 December)?
5. What is the main difference between a normal p/e ratio and a Shiller p/e?
6. Which nation’s bond yields hit a 495-year low this year?
7. Iran saw the value of its currency collapse this year as US sanctions were imposed. What is the name of the currency?
8. What has happened to UK house prices compared to last year, according to the Halifax figures for the three months to November? Are they a) down 1%; b) up 2%; c) flat.
9. What was the lowest price of an ounce of gold in 2012 (to the nearest $50)? In which month did it hit the low?
10. In sterling terms, which country had the year’s best-performing stock exchange? And which had the worst (as of 18 December)?

Companies

1. Social media website Facebook went public on 18 May this year. But chief executive Mark Zuckerberg probably felt more nervous about 19 May. Why? 
2. The first text message was sent via Vodafone’s UK network 20 years ago this month. What was the message?
3. British banks were fined for a number of misdeeds this year. Which of the following was not among them? a) money-laundering for drug gangs; b) failing to control rogue traders; c) conspiring to fix interest rates.
4. Which American company’s CEO left the job only months after being hired when it was alleged that he had ‘embellished his academic credentials’ on his CV?
5. The planned merger of which two defence giants fell through in October this year?
6. Which company plans to pay Britain £20m in corporation tax over the next two years, even though it may not technically owe anything?
7. Which company had problems hiring enough staff for the 2012 Olympics?
8. Which British company was accused by Hewlett-Packard of fiddling its figures – an allegation it denied?
9. Which company was awarded the
West Coast rail franchise only to have it taken off them again?
10. Photo-sharing company Instagram was bought by Facebook this year for more than $700m. (The original offer was $1bn, but Facebook shares had dropped by the time the deal completed.) How much money did Instagram make in 2011?
11. Which top British football club’s financial woes saw it exiled to the bottom division this year?
12. Which American retail giant was accused of bribing officials in Mexico to the tune of $24m to obtain building permits?
13. JP Morgan chief executive
Jamie Dimon’s reputation took a knock when the bank lost billions due to bungled derivatives trades. What was the nickname of the trader involved?
14. The US state of Nevada was the first to approve which new Google product?

People

1. Who won $3m from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner for his contribution to ‘fundamental physics’?
2. Who was the highest paid of all the athletes who took part in the Olympics?
3. Which 1980s British businessman probably spent most of this year wishing he’d stayed in Cyprus?
4. Who won the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize?
5. What do Goldman Sachs workers regularly call their less sophisticated clients, according to ex-employee Greg Smith?
6. When Britain left the European Exchange-Rate Mechanism 20 years ago, who was then-chancellor Norman Lamont’s special adviser?
7. What is German entrepreneur Kim Schmitz also known as?
8. Who was stripped of his knighthood at the end of January?
9. Which FTSE 100 chief executive was widely seen as the first casualty of the ‘Shareholder Spring’ protests over executive pay?
10. Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich is estimated to have spent £37m on what over the last nine years?
11. Which former prime minister’s diplomatic skills were called upon to save the merger between commodities giants Xstrata and Glencore?
12. What sport did the new Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, play at university?
13. What drastic step did actor Gérard Depardieu take to avoid French taxes?

How much?

1. What particular Apple gadget sold for $374,500 earlier this year?
2. What sold for £2.6m last month, after being discovered in a North Yorkshire family home?
3. Which 2012 release became the highest-grossing film in British box-office history, taking nearly £100m?
4. Who was paid £500,000 to switch on the Christmas lights at the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, London?
5. What did London 2012’s Olympic games cost in total? What was the initial estimate?
6. And how many gold medals did Britain win?
7. The head of which Star Wars character sold for $172,000 at auction this summer?
8. What is the twist in 79-year-old author Wilbur Smith’s latest £15m six-book publishing deal?
9. What percentage of the US electorate did Mitt Romney dismiss in remarks at a pre-election fundraiser?
10. Which novelist was estimated to be making almost a million pounds a week from her books at one point this year?

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