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South African rand valued below dollar for first time

The value of South Africa's rand dropped below the dollar for the first time in its history, largely due to the recent collapse of the international gold price.

The currency of the world's biggest gold producer fell to just over 99 cents from a record high in January 1981 of $1.35.

Foreign exchange dealers said the rand had been artificially supported by the South African central bank in recent weeks, and the slump indicated the defense of the local unit had now been withdrawn, at least temporarily.

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