The dollar steadied itself this morning, after yesterday saw both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England announced they had kept interest rates on hold.

This morning the dollar was at 1.7707 against the pound and 1.4656 to the euro.

US trade deficit data indicated the gap had shrunk from its previous level, declining by 5.7 per cent in November to $64.2 billion.

The news heralded an improvement on October's level of $68.1 billion and encouraged some analysts, with the deficit widely expected to be much larger.

However, while the results were encouraging, the trade deficit for the first 11 months of last year has still already surpassed the previous annual record.

Elsewhere the ECB confirmed it was keeping interest rates on hold, while the Bank of England did the same.