TOKYO, Sep 26 (Reuters) The euro hit a record high against the dollar on Wednesday as the US currency was stung by a slide in U.S. consumer confidence and weak housing figures that fueled expectations the Federal Reserve may cut interest rates next month.
The dollar hovered near an all-time low against a basket of currencies, struggling on the view that a 25-basis-point rate cut by the Fed after it slashed its benchmark rate by 50 basis points last week would further erode demand for dollar-denominated assets.
''Momentum to sell the dollar remains strong,'' said Hideaki Inoue, forex manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking.
The euro rose to $1.4163 on electronic trading platform EBS in early Tokyo trade as the dollar extended losses from the previous session, when data showed that U.S. consumer confidence fell to its lowest in nearly two years on growing concerns about jobs and financial market turmoil.
A separate report from the National Association of Realtors said U.S. existing home sales fell 4.3 percent last month, clocking its slowest pace since August 2002.
The dollar index was at 78.330 after sliding to a 15-year low of 78.213 on Tuesday, and hovered in range of an all-time low of 78.190.
The U.S. currency slipped 0.15 percent to 114.60 yen The pair showed limited initial reaction to data showing that Japan's trade surplus nearly quadrupled in August from a year earlier, far exceeding expectations.
The euro traded at 162.15 yen, near a six-week high hit late last week.
Market participants said dollar selling would likely continue, particularly if more data shows ongoing weakness in the U.S. economy, but added that the pace of its losses versus the euro may slow, given concerns that the European currency may be overbought.
Hungry for more hints on the scope of sluggishness in the U.S. economy, investors awaited a weekly reading of the U.S.
mortgage market and a report on durable goods orders for August, due later in the session.
Forecasts are for a 3.1 percent fall in orders last month.
Traders said a weak reading would likely push the dollar lower.
Reuters KK VP0630