The New Zealand dollar fell as stronger-than-expected US retail sales and manufacturing data helped extend the greenback's rally, while gains in dairy prices overnight weren't enough to offset offshore influences on the kiwi.

The local currency fell to 70.79 US cents as at 8am in Wellington from 71.11 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index fell to 77.27 from 77.47.

US retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in October, the Commerce Department said, faster than the 0.6 per cent pace expected by economists, while the Empire manufacturing index rose against expectations of a decline.

The figures added to the market's conviction that the US Federal Reserve will hike interest rates next month. In a night of mixed influences on the kiwi, dairy product prices rose at the GlobalDairyTrade auction, gaining for the seventh time in eight auctions, amid supply decreases, while crude oil led gains in other commodity prices and equity markets gained in Europe and the US.


"Strong retail sales add to other evidence that the US economy is in good health," advisers at Bancorp Treasury Services said in a report. "These positives justify the Fed withdrawing its easy monetary policy stance."

The GDT price index increased 4.5 per cent to US$3,519 at the dairy auction overnight, while whole milk powder rose 3.2 per cent to US$3,423 a tonne.

The gain in whole milk powder "was a little disappointing but let's not forget it jumped 20 percent last time," said OMF's Nigel Brunel.

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The kiwi dollar fell to 93.87 Australian cents from 94.05 cents late yesterday and rose to 77.34 yen from 76.88 yen. It fell to 4.8586 yuan from 4.8769 yuan, declined to 56.76 British pence from 56.91 pence and traded at 66.06 euro cents from 66.12 euro cents.

New Zealand's two-year swaps rose 4 basis points to 2.26 per cent while the 10-year swap rate was unchanged at 3.24 per cent.