MARKET VOLATILITY I WAS AT MY BANK last week. There was a short queue: just one lady in front of me – an Asian lady trying to exchange yen for US dollars. It was obvious she was a little irritated. She asked the teller: “Why it change? Yesterday I get two hunat dolla fo yen. Today I only get hunat eighty? Why it change?”
The teller shrugged his shoulders and said: “Fluctuations.”
The Asian lady retorted: “Fluc you white people, too!” YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL TO CELEBRATE her birthday, actress/ vocalist Julie Andrews made a special appearance at Manhattan’s Radio City Music Hall. One of the musical numbers she performed was My Favourite Things from the movie The Sound of Music. Here are the lyrics she used: Botox and nose drops and needles for knitting, Walkers and handrails and new dental fittings, Bundles of magazines tied up in string, These are a few of my favourite things. Cadillacs and cataracts, hearing aids and glasses, Polident and Fixodent and false teeth in glasses, Pacemakers, golf carts and porches with swings, These are a few of my favourite things. When the pipes leak, when the bones creak, When the knees go bad, I simply remember my favourite things, And then I don’t feel so bad. Hot tea and crumpets and corn pads for bunions, No spicy hot food or food cooked with onions, Bathrobes and heating pads and hot meals they bring, These are a few of my favourite things. Back pain, confused brains and no need for sinnin’, Thin bones and fractures and hair that is thinnin’, And we won’t mention our short shrunken frames, When we remember our favourite things. When the joints ache, when the hips break, When the eyes grow dim, Then I remember the great life I’ve had, And then I don’t feel so bad. ADVICE TO GERMAN BANKERS: READ THE NEWS IT’S BEEN DUBBED Germany’s dumbest bank for handing over €350m (£275m) to Lehman Brothers two hours before the US investment bank collapsed. Two board members and the head of risk control at KfW, the state-owned bank, have now been suspended for the “inexcusable error”.
The automated transfer, which with other deals cost KfW more than €530m, was a one- way swap: the bank got nothing back just as its rivals were taking their US dollars out of Lehman as fast as they could.
German ministers have spent the week loftily telling the global financial community their banks were immune from the toxic rot at the core of the US financial system. Germany’s Economy Minister has started an investigation into processes at the bank, which is 80% owned by the government. (From Britain’s The Guardian newspaper.)