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Former Federal Reserve (Fed) Stanley Fischer addressed a farewell conference for Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug in Jerusalem on Sunday, with the key comments reported by Reuters found below.

“The possibility of having a negative interest rate frightened the heck out of everybody who had to set the interest rate.”

“What really concerned people was, ‘If we raise the interest rate, will we have to reduce it, and if we have to reduce it, will it go negative?'”

“This led to interest rate raising aversion. So the interest rate was kept between zero and 25 basis points for several years.”

“There was a large public aversion to going negative, so it was fortunate that we didn’t get into that situation.”