Among the major currencies sterling was the biggest loser. Even to start with, investors were none too keen on it but they really took flight when a speech by the Bank of England governor pushed back even further expectations for higher UK interest rates. The dollar therefore did not have a lot of work to do to move ahead of sterling. That was just as well, for although the dollar started the week well enough it did not end it on a high.

Initially, the same nervousness that took oil and equity prices lower led investors to seek the safety of the "haven" currencies; particularly the Japanese yen but also the euro and the dollar. That mood reversed on Thursday when the European Central Bank hinted at more monetary stimulation and the Bank of Japan also said it was taking a look at further easing. The net result for the dollar was a two-cent gain against sterling and a half-cent rise against the euro.