News Brief

Israel set a record-low interest rate in response to the U.S.-led global economic slowdown.

Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer surprised analysts Monday by reducing the commercial lending rate half a percentage point, to 3.25, for the second time in two months. Analysts had expected a less dramatic reduction.

The move was seen as a bid to keep Israel’s economic growth vigorous despite a sagging dollar.

Fischer also has spearheaded efforts to curb the shekel’s sudden strength against the U.S. currency — reaching exchange rates not seen in more than a decade — by having the Israeli central bank buy up millions of dollars.

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