It was not a great start to the New Year for the dollar. Losses of a cent and a quarter to both the euro and the pound helped put it squarely at the back of the major currency field and it had no competition for the wooden spoon. There was nothing wrong with the US economic data. The purchasing managers' index surveys of current and anticipated activity in the private sector delivered results that were stronger than expected. But the minutes of last month's policy meeting at the Federal Reserve were less bullish than investors had anticipated. 

Some committee members wondered whether the strengthening dollar might have reduced upward pressure on inflation, lessening the need for higher interest rates. Meanwhile the ecostats from Britain and Euroland were also looking good. There, too, private sector activity was looking stronger. So, in what could have been a three-way draw, the Fed minutes lost it for the dollar.