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The New Zealand dollar's value has fallen as United States consumers question early signs of economic recovery.

By 5pm the NZ dollar was trading at 59.16USc, down from US60.58c at the same time yesterday.

People could be starting to question the "green shoots" theory that markets were on the road to recovery, resulting in a decreased appetite for risk, HSBC senior manager Daniel Brdanovic said.

"Consumers are not really spending in the US - I think they are a bit nervous this whole recovery is not quite set in concrete just yet," he told NZPA.

"I think we're coming up to some pretty weak support levels in the equity market.

"The New Zealand dollar has had strong correlation to equity market moves in the last few months.

"Effectively, if it breaks through the support levels, then the Kiwi will see some more downside."

By 5pm, the NZ dollar dipped slightly against the Australian dollar to A78.57c, from A78.95c yesterday and against the pound to 39.09p from 39.60p.

It dropped against the yen to 56.56, from 58.44 yesterday.

The NZ dollar fell to 0.4360 euro from 0.4433, while the trade weighted index fell to 57.45 from 58.52 yesterday.

At 8am this morning 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.

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.

Further support-level testing was a possibility for the rest of the week, with retail sales data tomorrow likely to be a good directional gauge.

Currency rates:

NZ dlr/US dlr 59.16USc US60.58c

NZ dlr/Aust dlr A78.57c A78.95c

NZ dlr/euro 0.4360 0.4433

NZ dlr/yen 56.56 58.44

NZ dlr/stg 39.09p 39.60p

NZ TWI 57.45 58.52

Aust dlr/US dlr 72.32c 76.70c

Euro/US dlr 1.3572 1.3670

US dlr/yen 95.53 96.47

- NZPA