Although the dollar looked reasonably healthy last Friday it began February on the back foot and staged two major retreats during the week. At the heart of its problems were a string of US economic data that ranged from uninspiring to disappointing. Gross domestic product expanded at an annual pace of 0.7% in the last three months of 2015, representing quarterly growth of just 0.2%.

Crucially, the purchasing managers' index readings were all disappointing, especially the one which showed manufacturing growing at its slowest pace since 2009. Although the official line from the Federal Reserve is still that interest rates will rise two or three times this year, investors are no longer convinced.

As the prospect of higher rates faded, investors took against the dollar. It was the week's weakest performer among the major currencies, losing nearly three cents - 2.5% - to the euro and it was down by a cent and a half against sterling.