The dollar was buoyed in the last 24 hours by speculation that interest rate rises might continue in the early part of 2006 as strong economic data emerged.

This morning the dollar stood at 1.7327 against the pound and at 1.1881 to the euro.

Despite raising the rate 13 times since the middle of 2004, anticipation of an improving jobs market has prompted many analysts to predict further rises in the base rate.

A survey by Bloomberg of analysts predicted that 200,000 new employees would be added to the Labour Department figures, with unemployment remaining comparatively low in the US.

WestLB analyst Niels From told the International Herald Tribune: "In this environment, there's still going to be dollar strength."

"The economic data coming out of the US is still very strong, and there'll still be more rate increases," he commented.

Some observers have been less certain of sustained rate rises in the US this year, with expected changes to the UK's base rate and the European Central Bank potentially narrowing the differential.