BANGKOK (AP) - Asian stock markets tumbled today after a ratings agency threatened to downgrade the U.S. if a solution to the so-called fiscal cliff isn't negotiated among lawmakers and newly re-elected President Barack Obama.
If a deal isn't reached by Jan. 1, tax increases and government spending cuts to the tune of $800 billion automatically take effect. Some economists say such a withdrawal of fiscal stimulus has the potential to throw the world's biggest economy back into recession.
Hours after Obama defeated Republican challenger Mitt Romney in a cliffhanger election, Fitch Ratings said that the U.S. government's top 'AAA' rating would be at risk if Congress and the president did not immediately forge an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff.
News out of Europe also unnerved markets. Leaders warned that unemployment could remain high for years, and the European Commission cut its forecasts for the region's economic growth through 2013.
Benchmark crude oil rose to near $85 per barrel. The dollar gained against the euro but fell against the yen.
First Coast News