The Straits Times
Published on Dec 19, 2012

Fitch says 'fiscal cliff' may cost US 'AAA' rating


NEW YORK (AP) - Fitch Ratings is warning that the United States (US) is more likely to lose its top-notch "AAA" debt rating if lawmakers and President Barack Obama cannot agree on how to cut the deficit and the country goes over the "fiscal cliff" of deep government spending cuts and tax increases next year.

But the credit ratings agency said in a report on Wednesday that if lawmakers can agree on a deficit-cutting plan, the US would be more likely to keep its "AAA" rating. Last month, Fitch said Obama must work toward a credible plan to avoid the fiscal cliff or risk losing the "AAA" rating.

In the first-ever downgrade of US government debt, Standard & Poor's last year cut its rating from "'AAA" to "AA+."