Over the shortened week the dollar was the top performer among the major currencies, and by a handsome margin. It strengthened by three and three quarter cents against sterling - 2.5% - and by a little less than half that, one and a third cents, against the euro. The dollar made steady upward progress even though there were no compelling US economic data to help it along. 

What it did have, however, was the verbal support of the Federal Reserve. Every day the Fed wheeled out one or more of its senior people to talk up the possibility of higher interest rates this year, maybe as soon as April. 

Sterling, meanwhile, was out on its own at the back of the field, held down by fears of Britain's possible departure from the EU. The risk of that outcome was seen by investors to increase dramatically following the deplorable terrorist bombings in Brussels.