The dollar found support close to 1.4760 on Wednesday before gaining strongly. The US data helped ease pessimism over the economy to some extent which underpinned the US currency and there were gains to highs near 1.4610 in New York. The dollar pushed to highs around 1.4575 in Asia on Thursday with the trade-weighted index at a one-month high and retained a firm tone in European trading.

The ISM index for the services sector fell to 54.1 in November from 55.8 previously. The employment index was close to the 50.0 expansion threshold while there was a much stronger than expected reading for the prices component. Inflation fears will be offset to some extent by an upward revision to third-quarter productivity growth which pushed unit labour costs down.

The ADP employment report was substantially stronger than expected with an increase of 189,000 for November after an upwardly-revised 119,000 increase the previous month. Monthly data will remain volatile and other evidence has not suggested a strong labour market, but the ADP data is likely to dampen speculation that the Fed will act aggressively to cut interest rates by 0.50% this month. US Treasury Secretary Paulson is also due to announce plans to freeze mortgage payments for sub-prime borrowers on Thursday which would also help ease recession fears.