MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, Jan. 20) - The Australian dollar remains above US59 cents at the start of the trading week after setting a new two-and-a-half year high.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars have been among the currencies benefiting from a further decline in the value of the U.S. dollar, as investors worry about the cost of a war being against Iraq.

At the same time, Australia's relatively high interest rates are said to be attracting offshore investors, particularly from Japan.

In New York on Friday, the Australian currency reached US59.25 cents, its highest level since August 2000.

January 20, 2003

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