The pound struggled for direction on Wednesday (23 November), as it relinquished early gains against the dollar after the greenback rallied on the back of strong economic data.

Sterling gained ground after Philip Hammond delivered his Autumn Statement, but the advance soon stalled as the dollar was boosted by a better-than-expected report on US durable goods, which increased 4.8% last month, compared with forecast for a 3.3% gain.

That left the pound down 0.22% against the dollar, trading at $1.2396 by late afternoon.

"While the pound did gain against the US dollar in the period of the statement itself, the gains were rapidly wiped out by a surge in US durable goods orders," said Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG.

"The resultant push higher in the dollar sent other currencies lower, indicating that the rally in the greenback is not done yet."

However, sterling was 0.66% higher against the euro, exchanging hands at €1.1766, after Hammond reiterated Britain remained "open for business" and set out his fiscal plan.

The chancellor ditched George Osborne's commitment to return government finances to a surplus by 2020, indicating the government will publish a draft charter for budget responsibility with three fiscal rules.

He also confirmed corporation tax will fall to 17% from 20% by 2020 as planned, which the government said would be the lowest overall rate of corporate tax among the G20 nations.

Elsewhere, the dollar was on the front foot against its major rivals. The greenback surged 1.27% against the yen to ¥112.55 and climbed 0.45% and 0.78% against the Swiss franc and the euro respectively, fetching CHF 1.0159 and €0.9479.

The US currency could extend its gains even further when, later today, the Federal Open Market Committee releases minutes from its 1-2 November meeting, which could confirm the Federal Reserve's stance in terms of a rate hike next month.

"Traders have pretty much priced in that another rate hike may take place next month," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at ThinkMarkets UK.

"The economy is strong and the data is telling you that clearly. The question is how much attention the Fed is going to pay in relation to their future path of interest rate hike. Under the current situation, we expect the Fed to remain very hawkish during the first quarter of 2017."