The five officials--gathered at a conference table in Charlotte, N. C.--had to determine if hypothetical booms in commercial real estate and corporate borrowing risked collapse and damaging fallout for the broader economy.


The worry has turned more concrete. Commercial real-estate prices are soaring and Fed officials face the conundrum of what, if anything, to do.


Central bank officials would feel an urgency to act only if they believed the commercial real-estate market could suffer a sharp reversal that destabilizes the financial system or hurts the U.S. economy. That isn't clear. Commercial real estate is a relatively small segment of the overall economy, and unsustainable debt hasn't emerged as a problem.

But financial bubbles have been root causes of the past three recessions and is a consideration as the Fed nears a decision on interest rates. Officials have signaled they will raise short-term interest rates from near zero at their policy meeting next week with the economy and job market improving. For some officials, the commercial real estate boom--and other financial sector froth--could be an added incentive.''

Comments: Be the first to add a comment

add a comment | go to forum thread