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2015 business quiz: How well have you been paying attention?

Our 2015 business quiz should be easy if you have kept up with the headlines. Oil, aviation and the Greek economy stole the show this year, but coffee shops and fast food made the news a surprising number of times.
1 The price of a barrel of Brent crude started the year at about what price, in US dollars? Seth Wenig / AP Photo
1 The price of a barrel of Brent crude started the year at about what price, in US dollars? Seth Wenig / AP Photo

Our 2015 business quiz should be easy if you have kept up with the headlines. Oil, aviation and the Greek economy stole the show this year, but coffee shops and fast food made the news a surprising number of times.


1 That was then: the price of a barrel of Brent crude started the year at about what price, in US dollars?

a) $37

b) $47

c) $57

d) $67

2 On New Year’s Day, Turkmenistan, under pressure from cheaper oil and a weaker rouble, devalued its currency by 19 per cent against the US dollar. What is the Central Asian country’s currency called?

a) lari

b) manat

c) new manat

d) som

3 The Chinese government, on January 9, said that it would allow what to be sold online:

a) airline tickets

b) housing

c) prescription drugs

d) taxi rides

4 On January 15 the Swiss franc surged as the country lifted the cap on its euro exchange rate. The franc had been worth about Dh3.6 before the move; roughly how many did it buy one day later?

a) 3.3

b) 3.9

c) 4.2

d) 4.5

5 On January 27 Apple reported a profit for its most recent quarter of US$18 billion, thanks in part to having sold how many iPhones per hour?

a) 14,000

b) 24,000

c) 34,000

d) 44,000


6 Which one of the following did not broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl on February 1 (February 2 in the UAE)?

a) Avocados for Mexico​, a coalition of growers

b) Jublia, a producer of toenail fungus treatment

c) Loctite, a brand of very strong glue

d) Volkswagen, a maker of automobiles

7 The Guardian newspaper described which European finance minister as “a man wearing a Wetherspoons-appropriate bright-blue shirt and an early-1990s Madchester drug dealer’s coat”?

8 Picture number 8 on this story shows the festivities as Air Arabia launched service to Urumqi. What country is that in?

a) Kyrgyzstan

b) Uzbekistan

c) Uyghurstan

d) China

9 At the Idex weapons show in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Defense Technology showed off a prototype of its 8x8 armoured vehicle. The prototype was named:

a) Enigma

b) Falcon

c) Sand Viper

d) Z

10 True, false or mind-boggling: on February 25, Damac Properties said it would build the Middle East’s first rainforest as part of a property project in Dubai.


11 Shake Shack on March 11 reported a 51 per cent rise in quarterly revenue to US$34.8 million versus a year earlier. Was the company’s stock market value at the time more or less than US$1.5 billion?

12 What Scandinavian company, worried that things might get out of hand, cancelled games of hide-and-seek planned for its premises after thousands and thousands of people signed up?

a) H&M

b) Ikea

c) Lego

d) Saxotech

13 The social media hive-mind buzzed with derision towards Starbucks after, in an attempt to elicit a discussion on race, its baristas began writing what slogan on coffee cups:

a) Race Together

b) Shall We Overcome?

c) We Shall Overcome

d) We Shall Overcharge

14 Dubai Parks and Resorts announced on March 31 that its impending theme-park complex would include an attraction based on which one of the following entertainment franchises?

a) Saw

b) Hunger Games

c) The Fast and the Furious

d) The Muppet Show

15 Etihad Airways announced that the actress Nicole Kidman would be the star of its new advertising campaign. Name the film for which Kidman won best actress at the 2003 Oscars.


16 The UAE joined the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. From the list below, which two countries were not among the bank’s founding members:

a) Canada

b) North Korea

c) South Korea

d) United Kingdom

17 The car-chase film Furious 7, released on April 3, passed $1 billion in worldwide ticket sales on April 17. Scenes were shot in all but which one of the following locales?

a) Abu Dhabi

b) America

c) Australia

d) Azerbaijan

18 Name the major UAE retailer, founded by a Keralite, that was a front-runner in the bidding to buy the London landmark Great Scotland Yard.

19 On April 23, in a measure of the Spanish economy’s recovery, Barcelona-based CaixaBank reported a quarterly profit that was roughly double the year-ago figure. The bank’s logo was designed by the great artist Joan Miró. The logo is meant to depict which one of the below:

a) a flower

b) a starfish playing basketball

c) a youngster putting money in a piggy bank

d) the Sagrada Familia church as seen from above

20 Some early adopters complained that smooth operation of the Apple Watch was being befuddled by their:

a) karma

b) hipster beards

c) tattoos

d) sad, empty wallets


21 Fast food nations, part I: On May 4, McDonald’s said it was reorganising its global operations into four groups. Which of the following was not one of the groups:

a) India

b) United States

c) Foundational markets

d) High-growth markets

22 Fast food nations, part II: KFC’s local partner in Myanmar said the chain would be opening an outlet in downtown Yangon. That would leave only one country in South East Asia without a KFC. Name that country (clue: its name has four letters).

23 In the May 17 series finale of Mad Men, an American television drama situated in the world of advertising, the main character achieves peace as he appears to come up with the idea for what famous 1970s advert:

a) “I’d Like to Buy the World a Coke”​

b) “Mikey likes it” (Life cereal)

c) “We try harder” (Avis)

d) “We need more Calgon!”

24 True or false: Etihad Airways signed a shirt sponsorship deal with Portuguese football’s Benfica, and Emirates became the exclusive airline partner of hockey’s Washington Capitals and basketball’s Washington Wizards.

25 YouTube marked its 10th anniversary, having entered its beta phase in May 2005. Who owns YouTube?

a) Alibaba

b) Facebook

c) Google

d) 3G Capital


26 KFC filed a lawsuit in China against three companies that had spread unfounded allegations about its food, including which one of the following:

a) KFC chicken nuggets are not made from actual chickens

b) KFC chicken nuggets are not made from actual nuggets

c) KFC uses chickens with eight legs

d) KFC uses free-range chickens raised on organic farms

27 China’s then-​surging stock market made a sudden billionaire out of Wang Han, the 27-year-old part owner of the budget airline Juneyao Airlines. Match these more established billionaires with their age as of December 31, 2015:

a) Berkshire’s Warren Buffett

b) Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel

c) Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin

d) Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg​

1) 25

2) 31

3) 33

4) 85

28 On June 11, Zimbabwe’s central bank decided to formally withdraw the Zimbabwean dollar from circulation. To receive US$5, holders had to turn in how many Zimbabwean dollars:

a) 175,000

b) 175 million

c) 175 billion

d) 175 trillion

e) 175 quadrillion

​29 The four car makers below led JD Power’s annual ranking of new-vehicle quality. Match the maker with the rank.

a) Hyundai

b) Jaguar

c) Kia

d) Porsche

1) first

2) second

3) third

4) fourth

30 On June 30, Dubai announced plans to use a 3D printer to produce which one of the following:

a) a 3D printer

b) a robot

c) an office building with room for 16 people

d) a white tiger


31 On July 5, Greek voted in a referendum on whether to accept more austerity measures. Which side won, Yes or No?

32 Fill in the blank: Upon resigning as finance minister the day after the referendum, Yanis Varoufakis in his farewell message said: “And I shall wear the creditors’ ________ with pride.” (Clue: eight letters, starts with l.)

33 ​On July 13, Greece and its creditors reached a deal in which Greece got money and paid for it with austerity. According to an IMF study, Greek debt would peak by 2017 at what percentage of annual economic output:

a) 100 per cent

b) 200 per cent

c) 300 per cent

d) 400 per cent

34 In an article for our Analysis page, The National’s Adam Bouyamourn wrote that Mr Varoufakis’s secret plan for exiting the euro appeared to have been borrowed from a videogame economy based on trading what?

a) hats

b) socks

c) scarves

d) Greek drachmas

35 The Athens stock market was closed for July. But what did the US-traded shares of National Bank of Greece do over the month?

a) rose 13 per cent

b) fell 13 per cent

c) barely budged


36 The New Suez Canal, which enabled two-way traffic on the waterway, opened to great fanfare on August 6. Within 20 years, when did the original Suez Canal open?

37 Emirates airline announced that which former star of Friends was the new face of the airline?

a) Jennifer Aniston

b) Courteney Cox

c) Katie the capuchin monkey

d) Lisa Kudrow

38 True or false: HSBC Middle East said it would offer higher interest rates to customers who did a lot of walking, as measured by their Jawbone or Fitbit.

39 The Dubai stock market dropped 6.9 per cent on August 23 amid concerns over the Chinese economy and oil prices. Which of these was the only Dubai stock to end the day with a gain?

a) Union Properties

b) Emaar

c) Deyaar

d) Arabian Scandinavian Insurance

40 The Midfield Terminal at Abu Dhabi International Airport reached 55 per cent completion. The terminal’s massive roof was said to be strong enough to support the weight of how many Airbus A380s (answer counts as correct if within three)?


41 On September 1, a mall with space for 175 stores was supposed to open in which of the northern emirates? (The opening ended up being delayed because of construction snags.)

42 Adrian Cadbury, a former chairman of the sweets company that bears his family name, died on September 3 at age 86. He competed in which Olympics as a member of the UK rowing team?

a) 1948 London

b) 1952 Helsinki

c) 1956 Melbourne

d) 1960 Rome

43 Fill in the blank: Volkswagen apologised on September 20 for having rigged its ______ models so that they would pass emissions tests but still spew pollutants when out on the road.

44 Coffee Planet said it was roughly doubling the size of its roastery at Jebel Ali. Within 100, the facility was capable of producing how many Nespresso-compatible capsules a minute?

45 After the US central bank kept its benchmark interest rate at zero, what famous investor – formerly known as the “bond king” – modestly advised the Fed to “Get off zero now!”


46 In announcing on Oct 1 that it had doubled up on daily flights to Boston, Emirates noted that one of the items below accounted for fully 55 per cent of the value of its cargo exports out of the American city:

a) beans

b) chowdah

c) computer parts

d) lobsters

47 That question fascinated us so much, here’s a followup: which one of the following places was not on the list of top five final destinations for all those American crustaceans?

a) Bangkok

b) Dubai

c) Guangdong

d) Riyadh

e) Shanghai

f) Taiwan

48 The new president of Tim Hortons visited the UAE on an inspection tour during the first week of October. At the time, did the coffee chain have more or fewer than 50 outlets in the country?

49 Fortune magazine produced a list ranking the top 27 businesses from comic books. Match the business with its rank (all four correct earns you the point):

​ a) LexCorp

b) Stark Industries

c) The Daily Planet

d) Wayne Enterprises

​1) first

2) second

3) third

4) twenty-third

50 Thomas Stemberg, the founder of Staples, died on Oct 23. He was inspired to found the chain after a fruitless search around Boston for what common office product of 1985?

a) pager batteries

b) printer ribbon

c) Wite-Out

d) Commodore Amiga 1000 carrying case


51 Organisers of the Adipec oil trade show in Abu Dhabi said it had surpassed the OTC conference as the industry’s largest annual gathering. In what city is the OTC held (one point)? And what do both shows’ acronyms stand for (one bonus point per correct acronym)?

52 The Financial Stability Board, a creation of the G20, on Nov 9 proposed new rules to strengthen the 30 banks on its “too big to fail” list. For one point per correct answer, name the two banks that are at the top of that list.

53 On November 23, Pfizer and Allergan announced that they would merge in a deal valued at about US$160 billion. Of the four medicines below, which two are made by Pfizer and which two by Allergan?

a) Botox (cosmetic)

b) Lipitor (cholesterol)

c) Restasis (dry eye)

d) Viagra (duh)

54 Follow-up question: in what country, with its low, low tax rates, where was the merged company to be based?

55 America’s annual Black Friday bacchanal was surprisingly quiet, as many shoppers preferred to buy online rather than in person. What line of toys was, according to market observers, selling especially briskly online? (Hint: there is an Abu Dhabi connection.)


56 On December 1, Canada reported that it had pulled out of recession in the third quarter. What was the Canadian dollar worth as the month began?

a) Dh1.75

b) Dh2.75

c) Dh3.75

d) more than a donut but less than a hockey puck

57 Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, marked the birth of their first child by pledging to donate 99 per cent of their $46billion Facebook fortune to charity. What is their child’s name?

a) Joe

b) Max

c) Elliot

d) Hal

58 And is the child a son or a daughter?

59 On December 10, Princeton University’s Angus Deaton was awarded the Nobel prize in economics. So far in this century, in how many years have US-based economists been shut out of the Nobel honours?

60 This is now: the price of a barrel of Brent crude – which was also the subject of our first question, back when you began this quiz 12 months ago – finished the year at roughly which price?

a) $37

b) $47

c) $57

d) $67


61 In July, Emirates retired its last 777-200 airplane. It said the plane had flown roughly the equivalent of 80 rounds trips to the moon. How many one-way trips could it have made?

ANSWERS: 1, c; 2, b; 3, c​; 4, c; 5, c; 6, d; 7, Yanis Varoufakis of Greece; 8, d; 9, a; 10, true, but also mind-boggling;

11, more – US$1.66 billion; 12, b; 13, a; 14, b; 15, The Hours​; 16, a and b; 17, c; 18, Lulu; 19, c; 20, c;

21, a; 22, Laos; 23, a; 24, false (it was Etihad that teamed with the Washington teams, and Emirates that paired with the Portuguese club); 25, c; 26, c; 27, a4, b1, c3, d2; 28, e; 29, a4, b3, c2, d1; 29, a4, b3, c2, d1; 30, c;

31, No; 32, loathing; 33, b; ​34, a; 35, b​; 36, 1869; ​37, a; 38. False: it was Commercial Bank of Dubai; 39, ​d; 40, 12;

41, Fujairah; 42, b; 43, diesel; 44, 340; 45, Bill Gross; ​46, d; 47, d; 48, more (53, to be exact); 49. a3, b2, c4, d1; 50, b;

51, Houston; Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference; Offshore Technology Conference; 52, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase; 53, a and c are made by Allergan, b and d by Pfizer; 54, Ireland; 55, Star Wars toys - the series’ new film was​ shot partly in Abu Dhabi emirate. 56, b (d also acceptable); 57, b; 58, a daughter (Max being short for Maxima); 59, One (France’s Jean Tirole won in 2014); 60, a.

46-plus: First class all the way

31-45: Comfy in business class

16-30: Getting by in economy

0-15: Now boarding Delta Air Lines ​

Updated: December 31, 2015 04:00 AM



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