The New Zealand dollar slipped under the benchmark US60c level overnight.

The kiwi tumbled as the greenback rallied broadly after a fall in US equities on Wall St.

By 8am the kiwi was buying US59.07c, down from US60.58c at 5pm yesterday.

After being sold off during the past few weeks, the US dollar rose from four-month lows against a basket of six currencies and seven-week troughs against the euro.

It also gained sharply against some higher-yielding currencies, such as the NZ and Australian and dollars, which tracked a slide in Wall Street stocks.

A report showing sales at US retailers slipped 0.4 per cent last month dimmed optimism about hopes for a rapid recovery in the world's largest economy.

The NZ dollar was also down to 0.4349 euro at the local open from 0.4433 at 5pm, and dropped to 56.29 yen at 8am from 58.44 at yesterday's local close.

Against the Australian dollar, the kiwi dropped to A78.58c at the local open from A78.95c, while the trade weighted index was down to 57.32 at 8am from 58.52 at 5pm.

ANZ bank said it had been somewhat surprised at the heights reached by the NZ dollar recently, considering economic fundamentals.

In the overnight fall, the local currency was hostage to wider global sentiment, ANZ said.

- NZPA