Short-lived boost for world's stock markets

A STOCK market rally triggered by the deal to raise the United States borrowing limit was short-lived, as concerns over the world's biggest economy rapidly resurfaced.

Markets around the world rose after President Barack Obama confirmed Republicans and Democrats had reached an accord.

Those in the Far East, such as the Hang Seng in Hong Kong, generally held on to their gains.But depressed US construction and manufacturing figures later highlighted the broader weak economic climate and sent the FTSE 100 in London and Dow Jones in New York into the red.

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In addition, a question mark remained over the security of the US's AAA credit rating, which some analysts said was under threat of a downgrade.

Andrew Morris, managing director of investment firm Signature, said: "The measures proposed do little to improve the US fiscal position, which, like most of the western world, is over-indebted and suffering from very tepid growth rates, with an increasing risk of contraction."

Global markets have suffered heavy losses in recent weeks as traders mulled the possibility that a deal to raise the debt ceiling from $14.3 trillion (8.8tr) would not be agreed by today's deadline.

A Downing Street welcomed the news of a deal. She said: "It is a time of international economic uncertainty, whether in the US or in the eurozone or from commodity prices, so agreement will help stability across the global economy.

"The lesson from international uncertainty of recent weeks had been the importance of countries taking necessary decisions to build confidence."

Mr Obama described the deal as modest and not in the "shape he would have preferred".

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