The same changing sentiment took the dollar first lower and then upwards. It is two months since party-political bickering on Capitol Hill took America to the brink of default and prompted a credit downgrade by one of the big three agencies. Investors have, by now, forgotten that unfortunate incident and are more interested in the dollar's qualities as a safe haven. With that in mind, their optimism about a positive outcome in the German parliamentary vote led them to leave the dollar alone in the early part of the week and to pile back in once it seemed that all was not, after all, well in the state of Euroland.

At the end of last week the US economy actually delivered some statistics of its own to help the dollar along. The Chicago purchasing managers' index jumped four points higher to a healthy 60.4 and the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index was three and a half points better at 59.