The New Zealand dollar slipped from its highest level since March 2008 as a dip in commodities and equities saw demand for growth-linked currencies fall.

The kiwi dollar had gained to a fresh three-year high of 80.36 US cents amid low liquidity with some markets closed for the Easter holiday break. The currency pared gains after US stocks and commodity prices started the week on a softer foot.

On Wall Street, the Standard & Poor's 500 Index fell 0.2 per cent to 1,335.11, with commodity-linked stocks Marathon Oil and Nucor leading the decline.

The Thompson Reuters Jefferies CRB Index, a broad measure of 19 commodities, fell 0.9 per cent to 366.55, snapping four days of gains.

"Over the weekend low volume continued the kiwi's momentum more than anything else," said Kymberley Martin, a market strategist with Bank of New Zealand.

"We'll be looking out for anything that will impact risk appetite. Given the current level, the New Zealand dollar is quite vulnerable."

The kiwi fell to 79.98 US cents from 80.08 cents on Thursday, and dropped to 68.72 on the trade-weighted index of major trading partners' currencies from 68.82.

It was little changed at 74.63 Australian cents from 74.61 cents last week, and dropped to 65.37 yen from 65.64 yen.

It fell to 54.88 euro cents from 54.99 cents on Thursday, and rose to 48.50 pence from 48.45 pence previously.

In the middle of this week, currency traders will be looking to the US when the Federal Reserve will hold its Federal Open Market Committee meeting and first-ever press conference afterwards.

Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to announce that QE2 will run its full course through to June.

On Thursday, Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Alan Bollard will probably keep the official cash rate at 2.5 per cent, according to a Reuters survey, giving the New Zealand economy more time to recover from the effects of the Christchurch earthquake.

The kiwi dollar may trade between 79.65 US cents and 80.40, Martin said, with increased topside pressure as liquidity comes back into the market.