As far as the dollar is concerned, all investors seem to care about is the outlook for US interest rates. There was plenty to feed that obsession in recent days but nothing concrete to provide any steer as to when there might be a follow-up to December's quarter-percentage-point increase by the Fed. The minutes of the July Federal Open Market Committee meeting showed nine members voting for no change and just one favouring an immediate hike. A handful of regional Fed presidents made guarded comments to the media, most of which were along the lines of "well, yes, eventually, but maybe not yet".

Lack of enthusiasm for the dollar sent it two cents lower against the euro and it lost a cent and three quarters to sterling. The pound started the week on a tide of negative sentiment but it finished in much better shape following stronger-than-expected UK employment and retail sales data.