In finance numbers are variously the lingua franca, the currency, the oil that keeps the world moving, and the things that either mean it's been a good month, quarter, or year for investors. But while everyone obsesses about monthly gross domestic product and inflation data, some numbers are outliers, with the capacity to surprise even the most seasoned observers. Here's a round-up of our 2023 favourites:

UN Chief and COP28 President, with the number 84,000 written on it


Number of registered delegates at COP28 over 14 days. Number of resolutions: 1.5.

Beers at Oktoberfest, with the number 3 overlayed


Germany managed to become the third largest economy in the world by default after Japan was dislodged by a slide in the yen against the U.S. dollar and the euro.

Jeremy hunt carrying autumn statement, with the number 4 overlayed


U.K. Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in his Autumn Statement said that England’s 9-10-year-olds are now the fourth-best readers in the world. 

Sam Bankman-Fried, with 5% overlayed


Sam Bankman Fried's estimated chance of becoming President, according to ex Caroline Ellison. He faces a maximum prison sentence of 110 years and will be sentenced next year.

Liz Truss next to the figure 66%


Year-on-year fall in the number of UK prime ministers; 2022 had Boris Johnson, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak in charge. 2023 has had just one. There may be a 100% increase in 2024!

Nvidia logo on a wall, with 280% overlayed


Rise in share price of Nvidia this year; the one stock you wish you'd bought!

Argentina Javier Milei and his sister Karina, with the number 4.9 million

4.9 million

Number of followers Argentina's new president Javier Milei has on Instagram. He describes himself only as "ECONOMISTA" in his bio. An account dedicated to his hair has 1.2 million. 

New York skyline and Chrysler building, with the number 43


Staff at Signa Holding, owner of New York's Chrysler Building. Now in receivership, the Austrian company had €27 billion ($39.5 billion) in assets but only 43 staff, 36 of whom worked in "non-essential functions" like party planning, hunting, and serving on private jets. Non-essential indeed.

Warren Buffett next to an infinity symbol


Number of times fund managers have misspelled Warren Buffett as "Buffet" when asked by Morningstar which investor they most admire...