Lira Falls, Vatican Smiles

The 30% fall in the lira has been a huge boon for the Vatican. That's because most of its expenses are incurred in lire, while most receipts come in dollars and German marks from wealthy Catholic communities in the U.S. and Germany. Last year, the Holy See's budget deficit was only $3.4 million, compared with $87.5 million the year before. It has also brought in Nomura Securities Inc. and Merrill Lynch & Co., among others, to sharpen up portfolio management.

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