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Australian Dollar Drops to Record Low

September 13, 2000|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Americans heading to the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney will find their purchasing power has never been greater.

The Australian dollar fell early today to a record low against the U.S. dollar, after the government said the economy grew less than expected in the second quarter.

The Aussie dollar's value plunged to 55.25 U.S. cents, falling under the previous record low of 55.30 U.S. cents set in 1998.

Early this year it took 66 U.S. cents to buy one Australian dollar. In the mid-1990s it took as much as 80 U.S. cents.

The Australian government said gross domestic product rose 0.7% in the second quarter from the first quarter. Analysts said weaker-than-expected government spending was partly to blame.

As in Europe, central-bank interest rate increases this year in Australia have failed to support the currency. The Australian dollar's decline has cut the purchasing power of Australians, but is a boon for Americans traveling to the country.

More than 100,000 visitors are expected to pour into Sydney for the Olympic Games.

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