UK pound
People pass currency exchange boards in London on 12 October, 2016 PA

The pound extended its losses against the dollar on Thursday (2 March), falling to a six-week low against the greenback after a better-than-expected report on the construction sector failed to reverse its downward trend.

Sterling fell 0.25% to $1.2259, the lowest level in six weeks against the dollar, and was also struggling against the euro, trading at €1.1662, only marginally above the previous session's low of €1.1656, which was the lowest level since 6 February.

The decline came despite a better-than-expected report on Britain's construction sector, which showed businesses put the uncertainty that followed the Brexit referendum behind them, even though the rate of cost inflation hit the highest level in eight-and-a-half years.

The closely watched Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers' Index stood at 52.5 last month, compared with analysts' expectations for a 52 figure and with the 52.2 reading recorded in January.

Worries over the Brexit process also continued to weigh on investors'minds.

"If Theresa May can trigger Brexit as per her deadline, it may push sterling even lower as this will send the message that she is in full control and her hard Brexit is taking shape," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Think Markets UK.

"On the flip side, if she cannot deliver this on time, this could be a positive thing for sterling, and the currency could rally all the way to $1.28, with a potential target of $1.30 a realistic target as well."

Across the Atlantic, the dollar surged after Lael Brainard added her notoriously dovish voice to the chorus of Fed Governors saying that a rate hike is "likely appropriate soon".

"If we had not got the message before, we have now," said Kit Juckes, head of forex at Societe Generale and IBTimes UK columnist.

"Job done, less than two weeks to go before the meeting and if the US equity market is still in as perky a mood on 15 March, there will not be many reasons to dither any longer."

Broadly flat against the euro, the greenback was 0.47% higher against the yen, trading at ¥114.26, and gained 0.33% and 0.20% against the Canadian dollar and the Swiss franc respectively, fetching CAD$1.3369 and CHF1.0109.

"For the dollar, I think the question is whether that moves the longer end of the curve," Juckes added.

"Whether the Fed's next hike is in March, May or June is less important than whether they go twice or three times this year, and that in turn is less important than what the market prices as a terminal Fed Funds rate.