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Negative interest rates in the U.S. may seem like a far-fetched idea, but the Federal Reserve is telling banks to prepare, just in case.

For the first time ever, the governing agency and U.S. central bank is requiring banks to include, in a round of stress tests commencing this year, to prepare for the possibility of negatively yielding Treasury rates. The scenario is purely hypothetical and not a forecast, according to a Jan. 28 Fed news release .

However, the development is part of a larger scenario of a world where zero rates are morphing into negative rates.