Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank president Dennis Lockhart expressed concern yesterday about mounting problems in the commercial real estate market, which he said could “further complicate” government efforts to stabilize the financial system.

Lockhart, a voting member of the Fed’s policymaking Federal Open Market Committee, nevertheless said he remains hopeful that the currently “very weak” economy will begin a “modest” recovery in the second half and that it will make a “slow gradual return” to its full growth potential.

Lockhart focused on problems in the commercial real estate market, where he said “virtually all” sectors are experiencing downward pressure, in remarks prepared for delivery to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

“Declining commercial real estate markets could put further pressure on already strained financial institutions and markets,” he said. “And overcoming problems in the financial sector is central to achieving economic recovery.”

— Market News International

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