23 Dec 2012

Obama optimistic deal can be hammered out

5:59 am on 23 December 2012

United States President Barack Obama says there are real world consequences to not reaching a deal over the looming fiscal cliff.

Economists are warning if an agreement is not reached on automatic tax rises and spending cuts due to start in January, the United States will slide into recession.

In his final address before Christmas, the president said he was still ready and willing to work out a deal and he remains optimistic about avoiding the 1 January disaster.