The pound has stumbled in the last 24 hours, with a widening current account deficit undermining sterling.

This morning the dollar stood at 1.7372 to the pound and the euro was at 1.4690.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics showed the current account deficit widened to £10.2 billion in the third quarter, equivalent to a 3.4 per cent drop in GDP.

The effects of Hurricane Katrina and the difficult year the British insurance industry has faced contributed to the deficit on goods and services.

Barclays Capital currency strategist Petya Koeva said the signs were not encouraging for sterling.

"The level of the deficit certainly comes as a surprise. Looking at components, exports were revised down which also doesn't bode well for sterling," she said.

"The picture we are seeing is not positive."