After falling during the first part of the month the dollar staged something of a recovery during last week. It strengthened by a cent and three quarters against the euro and went up by a cent and a half against sterling.

It received only modest support from the American economic statistics. Last Monday's figures showed a useful 5.1% monthly increase in the pace of new home sales and the new home sales number the following day was also better than expected. A smaller-than-expected figure for initial jobless claims was spoiled by an above-forecast number for continuing claims.

Sentiment, not statistics, was the main driving force for the dollar, as it was for most other currencies. If euro zone finance ministers managed to forge a last-minute deal with Greece at their emergency meeting from Saturday the dollar might have to give back some of the week's gains. If Greece is thrown to the lions the dollar will almost certainly strengthen further.