During the early part of the week the only event on the US risk radar was Wednesday's monetary policy announcement by the Federal Reserve. Would the Fed point towards or away from further interest rate increases this year? As it happened, the central bank left the situation almost unaltered. The wording of its statement implied that the committee had become more relaxed about global economic risks, suggesting that one or two increases could be on the cards but not yet.

With that debate put to rest for another couple of months attention turned to Thursday's provisional figures for US gross domestic product in the first quarter. They were not good: America's economy expanded by just 0.2% in Q1, half as much as Britain's. Investors turned their backs on the dollar, leaving it three cents lower on the week against sterling and a cent lower against the euro.