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Around the World's Market: Johannesburg

SOUTH AFRICAN gold shares roared to their highest levels in two- and-a-half years as bullion shot through the crucial $300-an-ounce mark.

The surge in gold stocks, sparked by an announcement that European central banks will put curbs on bullion sales, propelled the All-Share index up 1.7 per cent to a three-week high of 6,877.6. The Gold index leapt 16.5 per cent or 195.2 points to 1,374.4, its highest closing level since March 1997.