The dollar crossed under the $1.51 per euro mark for the first time on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke signaled that the Fed could continue to lower interest rates.

The U.S. dollar index on ICE Futures in New York which, tracks the currency against six other major denominations, fell to 74.07.

The dollar is suffering versus major currencies as it absorbs the effects of a steep downturn in the housing market, and increasing inflation. Yesterday, the U.S. Labor Department reported that wholesale prices rose 1 percent, outpacing estimates.

Fed Chief Ben Bernanke noted risks in the housing, labor and credit markets. He also he was less worried about inflation than growth. Looking ahead, he said inflation could be lower than we anticipate if slower-than-expected global growth moderates the pressure on the prices of energy and other commodities.

He said the Fed will act in a timely manner to protect against downside risks to the U.S. economy.

The dollar reached $1.5113 per euro at 3:27 p.m. in New York, from $1.4974 late Tuesday. It also to 106.37 yen. The euro rose to 160.80 yen from 160.67.