Broadly, investors tended to favour the premier league currencies - the US dollar, the euro, the yen and the Swiss franc - over those of commodity exporters and emerging markets. It was symptomatic of a mood of caution that prevailed over all financial markets. The failure of the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan last week to wheel out new stimulus measures has led investors to consider the possibility that industrial-scale central bank money-printing is coming to the end of the road.

There was little in the €Z economic data to enthuse potential buyers of the euro. Investor sentiment softened, industrial production fell, the trade surplus narrowed and inflation remained stuck at 0.2%. The euro did manage to carve out a half-cent gain against sterling but it lost a third of a US cent and was roughly unchanged, on average, against the other dozen most actively-traded currencies.