The greenback was falling against the major currencies Wednesday after new evidence showed a continuing slowdown in the U.S. housing market.

Euros were trading for $1.421, up from $1.416 late Tuesday. The dollar would buy 116.64 Japanese yen, slightly down from 116.7 yen in the last trading session. The British pound would buy $2.039, up from $2.032 previously.

The Commerce Department said the rate at which work was started on new dwellings dropped more than 10% during September, while the number of permits issued fell by more than 7%. Market analysts had been expecting a better showing.

"The headline data reflected the liquidity crises that characterized the August-September sampling period," writes Joe Bruesuelas, chief U.S. economist at IDEAglobal in New York, in a research report. "However, we do not think that starts have seen their bottom."

Elsewhere in the foreign-exchange market, the U.S. currency was weakening against the Canadian dollar, with one loonie selling for $1.027 vs. $1.02 a day earlier.

The Australian dollar was rallying, also rising to 89.4 U.S. cents up from 88.6 cents Tuesday.

Both countries, Canada and Australia, have resource-rich economies and so have been benefiting from the increasing dollar-price of metals, energy and other basic materials.

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