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The pound recovered some of its earlier losses after the Office for Budget Responsibility upgraded its forecast for UK growth for this year, but was still one of the worst-performing major currencies for the day as the chancellor presents his annual budget.

Having hit a low of $1.2138 on Wednesday morning, the pound rose to $1.2182 at publication time. However, that still puts it 0.15 per cent weaker against the dollar for the day.

The independent OBR increased its forecast for 2017 economic growth to 2.0 per cent from its earlier 1.4 per cent prediction, but cut its forecasts for the following three years.

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