UK: Deloitte Monday Briefing: Christmas Quiz 2012

Last Updated: 11 December 2012
Article by Ian Stewart

This week we are publishing our Christmas quiz. The fourteen questions offer a wide ranging test of knowledge, from levels of fax machine ownership to the hit TV series Homeland. The answers, and a brief explanation of the factors at work, are at the bottom of the email.

1. Which US corporate popularised today's image of Santa Claus as a rotund, red-suited, jolly old man?

a. McDonald's
b. Hallmark Cards
c. Coca-Cola

2. Which of the following countries is forecast to grow at the fastest rate in 2013?

a. Iraq
b. Rwanda
c. Iran

3. Which of the following has been the best performing company in the UK FTSE100 so far this year?

a. Lloyds Bank
b. Mark & Spencer
c. British Petroleum

4. The graduates of which of the following American universities in 2012 had the highest median salary?

a. Harvard University
b. Milwaukee School of Engineering
c. South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

5. Sales of which one of the following goods fell in 2012?

a. Bicycles in Greece
b. Pay TV in Spain
c. Ferraris in Italy

6. Which of the following UK publications has the highest circulation?

a. The Sun
b. The Financial Times
c. Tesco magazine

7. How many British actors star in the hit US drama "Homeland"?

a. One
b. Two
c. Four

8. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 176 countries around the world on levels of public sector corruption, based on the perceptions of public and private sector institutions that operate there. Which of these countries is ranked as having the most corrupt public sector in 2012?

a. Greece
b. Estonia
c. Russia

9. Which country has the highest level of ownership of fax machines amongst the general public?

a. Japan
b. United States
c. New Zealand

10. In a Which? Magazine taste test of sparkling wines by experienced champagne tasters, Moet & Chandon's Brut NV, priced at £31.99, received a score of 74%. Which of the following champagnes received the highest score of 86%?

a. Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs (£20.99)
b. Asda Extra Special Prosecco (£7.98)
c. M&S De Saint Gall Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru NV (£28)

11. Who resigned from power on Christmas Day 1991?

a. Margaret Thatcher
b. Francois Mitterand
c. Mikhail Gorbachev

12. According to The Economist's house price affordability index, which is the world's most undervalued – or cheapest - housing market?

a. Japan
b. Germany
c. France

13. According to UBS research which is the world's most expensive city to live in?

a. Oslo
b. New York
c. London

14. On average people in the industrialised world would need to have $1.8m of assets to consider themselves wealthy according to Skandia's International Wealth Sentiment Monitor. However, attitudes to wealth vary across countries. Which country's citizens require the greatest amount of assets to consider themselves wealthy?

a.      Dubai
b.      Germany
c.      Singapore

ANSWERS AND COMMENTARY

1. Which US corporate popularised today's image of Santa Claus as a rotund, red-suited, jolly old man?

c. Coca-Cola

Comment: Contrary to popular myth Coca Cola did not invent the image of the red clad Santa, but it played a major role in popularising it. Indeed Coca-Cola was not even the first soft drinks company to utilize the image of Santa Claus in their advertising, as White Rock Beverages had used it to sell mineral water in 1915 and ginger ale in 1923. There are records of Santa wearing different coloured costumes in the nineteenth century, including green outfits, although the default choice was red. The US magazine Harper's Weekly produced a series of engravings of Santa between 1863 and 1886 which showed him much as he appears today. The artist of these pictures, Thomas Nast, is often credited with having created the modern Santa. In the early 1930s Coca Cola started a 30 year festive advertising campaign featuring drawings by the Swedish artist Haddon Sundblom of a fat Santa in a red coat trimmed with fur and secured with a large belt. Through Coke's magazine advertisements, billboards and store displays these images helped cement today's image of Santa.

2. Which of the following countries is forecast to grow at the fastest rate in 2013?

a. Iraq

Comment: the IMF forecasts Iraq will grow by 14.7% in 2013 largely as a result of rising oil revenues. Iraq has the world's fourth-largest oil reserves. Production is at a 30 year high and the government has ambitions to double output over the next three years. Rwanda is also growing rapidly and is expected by the IMF to expand by 7.5% next year. Rwanda has been lauded for its progress on developing a business friendly and transparent economy, and was labelled "Africa's Singapore" by The Economist earlier in 2012, which stated that "no African country has done more to curb corruption." Iran is forecast to grow by just 0.8% next year, largely as a result of increasingly tough international sanctions designed to disrupt its nuclear programme.

3. Which of the following has been the best performing company in the UK FTSE100 so far this year?

a. Lloyds Bank

Comment: Shares in Lloyds rose by 71%. Shares in M&S defied a difficult retail environment to rise 19%, while shares in BP fell 9% in part because of the continuing fall-out from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2011.

4. The graduates of which of the following American universities in 2012 had the highest median salary?

c. South Dakota School of Mines & Technology

Comment: Graduates from the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology graduated with a median salary of $56,700 in 2012, compared to median salaries of $50,700 for graduates from the 'Ivy League' Harvard. Graduate engineers from the Milwaukee School of Engineering received a median salary of $56,200, also beating Harvard and testifying to the market value of engineers. However, out of the three universities, Harvard tops the list of 'mid-career' earnings – at $111,000 compared to $99,500 for South Dakota graduates and $87,500 for Milwaukee alumni.

5. Sales of which one of the following goods fell in 2012?

c. Ferraris in Italy

Comment: Sales of bicycles in Greece rose 25%, due to the high costs of running a car. Sales of pay TV services rose 18% in Spain as people spent more on home entertainment. Sales of Ferraris in Italy fell by 50%, partly due to austerity measures introduced by the government of Prime Minister, Mario Monti, which raised ownership levies on high-performance vehicles.

6. Which of the following UK publications has the highest circulation?

c. Tesco magazine

Comment: Tesco magazine eclipsed The Sun as the publication with the highest UK circulation, with 7.2m circulation compared to 7.1m for The Sun. The FT had circulation figures of under 300,000 but has seen strong growth online, with digital subscriptions this year surpassing print for the first time. Tesco magazine's circulation grew by 8% in 2012, highlighting the growth of supermarket distribution power and the decline in paid-for print media.

7. How many British actors star in the hit US drama "Homeland"?

c. Four

Comment: Despite being an entirely US-based production the show stars four British actors – Damian Lewis (who won an Emmy this year for his performance as Nicholas Brody in the show), David Harewood (as David Estes), Rupert Friend (Peter Quinn) and Zuleikha Robinson (Roya Hammad). The UK is the largest producer of TV and radio content in Europe, with only the US generating more value from TV exports. In 2009, UK exports of services by the creative industries accounted for 10.6% of the UK's total exports of services.

8. Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index ranks 176 countries around the world on levels of public sector corruption, based on the perceptions of public and private sector institutions that operate there. Which of these countries is ranked as having the most corrupt public sector in 2012?

c. Russia

Comment: Russia is the lowest ranked of these three countries at 133, whilst Estonia's economy is ranked relatively highly (#32). In the EU, the lowest ranked nation is Greece (#94) followed by Italy (#72). Denmark, Finland and New Zealand occupy the top three spots. The bottom three ranked countries globally are Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

9. Which country has the highest level of ownership of fax machines amongst the general public?

a. Japan

Comment: Despite Japan being an early adopter of the latest technology and one of the most advanced technological countries in the world, nearly one in ten Japanese people still own fax machines – equating to 59% of Japanese households. Many Japanese, especially the elderly, still use fax machines due to a traditional reverence for paper and the art of Japanese handwriting. Fax machine ownership is around one in twenty in the United States and one in seventy in New Zealand.

10. In a Which? Magazine taste test of sparkling wines by experienced champagne tasters, Moet & Chandon's Brut NV, priced at £31.99, received a score of 74%. Which of the following champagnes received the highest score of 86%?

a. Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs (£20.99)

Comment: Sainsbury's Blanc de Noirs received the highest score and was described as, "A rich and rounded Champagne with classic character". At £29.99 it costs a third less than Moet & Chandon which received a lower score. Asda Extra Special Prosecco received a score of 71%, not far behind Moet & Chandon despite being a quarter of the cost. The M&S Champagne received a score of 83%.

11. Who resigned from power on Christmas Day 1991?

c. Mikhail Gorbachev

Comment: The Soviet Union collapsed with dramatic speed in the second half of 1991. Communist rule effectively came to an end in late summer with the suspension of all communist party activity on Soviet territory. In early December the presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus declared the end of the Soviet Union and the founding the Commonwealth of Independent States. On 17th December Gorbachev reluctantly agreed to dissolve the Soviet Union. He resigned on 25 December and was replaced by Boris Yeltsin.

12. According to The Economist's house price affordability index, which is the world's most undervalued – or cheapest - housing market?

a. Japan

Comment: Japan is the most undervalued market when average prices are compared to incomes and rents, and is rated as being 36% below 'fair value'. Germany (-20%) and the United States (-19%) are the next two 'cheapest' markets. The most over-valued markets are Hong Kong (+64%), Singapore (+58%) and France (+43%). The British housing market is rated as being 20% overvalued.

13. According to UBS research which is the world's most expensive city to live in?

a. Oslo

Comment: Oslo is ranked as the most expensive in 2012 by UBS, which looks at prices in 72 major international cities and is based on living expenses such as food, rent, clothing, electronics, and services like haircuts and phone charges. New York is ranked 6th most expensive and London 10th most expensive. New York has by far the most expensive rents of the three cities however, with average rents of £3,350 per month compared to $1,980 in London and $1,970 in Oslo.

14. On average people in the industrialised world would need to have $1.8m of assets to consider themselves wealthy according to Skandia's International Wealth Sentiment Monitor. However, attitudes to wealth vary across countries. Which country's citizens require the greatest amount of assets to consider themselves wealthy?

c.      Singapore

Comment: Singaporeans would require $2.91m before they could feel wealthy, with Dubai ranked second with $2.5m. Germans would 'only' require $1m, whilst the British would on average require $1.31m. The survey results also show that most people do believe that money improves lives – with 80% of people believing that money can buy them happiness.

MARKETS & NEWS

UK's FTSE 100 ended the week 0.8% higher following better-than-expected US jobs data.

Here are some recent news stories that caught our eye as reflecting key economic themes:

KEY THEMES
* The US unemployment rate fell to 7.7%, its lowest level in 4 years, according to data from the Labor Department – US unemployment
* British Chancellor George Osborne extended by a year the UK's programme of planned austerity, up to 2018 – Autumn Statement
* Ratings agency Fitch warned that UK's gross government debt is "approaching the upper level consistent with the UK retaining its 'AAA' status" – sovereign debt
* Elliott Capital Management won a court ruling in New York to force Argentina to repay $1.3bn of debt in full with accumulated interest since 2001, after rejecting debt restructuring terms – sovereign debt
* The net wealth of US households rose to $64.8tn in the Q3 2012, according to the Federal Reserve, its highest since late 2007 – US wealth
* Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi claimed current government austerity policies have brought Italy to "the brink of the abyss", before leading a boycott in the Italian senate – euro crisis politics
* The German Bundesbank sharply cut its forecast for German growth in 2013 to 0.4% from 1.6% - slowdown
* UK car registrations rose at an annual rate of 11.3% in November according to data from The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), putting them on course for their highest yearly figure since 2008 – UK auto market
* US car sales rose by an annual rate of 15% in November, their fastest rate of growth since January 2008, according to figures from AutoData – US auto market
* The Greek government offered to buy back €10bn of its national debt as part of its latest bail-out deal with international creditors – euro crisis response
* The Home Grown Cereals Authority forecast that UK net imports of wheat will be 2.04m tonnes for the 2012-13 crop season, the most in 32 years, due to a crop failure – commodities
* Data from Dealogic shows non-financial corporations have sold a record $734bn of bonds that mature in 10 years or more since the start of 2012, already 36% per cent more than was issued in the whole of last year – 'long-dated' corporate bonds.
* Technology firm Apple Inc announced plans to shift production of one of its Mac computers from China to the United States in 2013 – re-shoring
* Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, claimed there is "no rationale" for London being the financial centre of Europe – euro politics
* Goldman Sachs, the bank that coined the term the "commodity supercycle" for the rapid rise in resource prices of the last decade, now anticipates a more stable long term price environment - commodities
* The number of Chinese tourists visiting Australia rose 17% in the year to September, surpassing those from Britain for the first time – emerging market wealth
* Citigroup Inc. announced plans to cut 11,000 jobs globally as part of restructuring plans – Citi
* TUI Travel announced record UK profits of £201m for 2012, with total UK winter sales up 5% annually – TUI
* Portugal joined Poland in pulling out of next year's Eurovision song contest, citing "current budgetary circumstances, which do not allow for the accumulation of assembled events" – eurovision crisis

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