So-so economic data, uncertainty about interest rates and softer commodity prices all contributed to a vague unease among investors. The result was an equally-vague drift towards the "safe" euro and yen and away from the supposedly "risky" commodity-related currencies. For once, the US dollar shared the benefit of this trend, strengthening by a cent and three quarters against sterling and remaining just about unchanged against the euro and the Japanese yen.

Although the US economic data were nothing to shout about, neither were those from anywhere else. The three UK purchasing managers' indices, which measure activity in private sector firms, all disappointed, coming in lower on the month and below forecast. What helped the dollar most were a couple of comments by Federal Reserve worthies, who warned that investors should not dismiss the idea of a rate increase next month. It still isn't likely but it is, apparently, possible.