IMF says US needs to do more to deal with national debt

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says US actions to avoid the fiscal cliff did not go far enough to address the country's long-term fiscal deficit and debt problems.

The global lender cheered the political deal finalised in Washington that allowed the country to avoid severe spending cuts and tax hikes.

The IMF noted that the US economic recovery would have been derailed in the absence of Congressional action

But it added that the Congress made little progress on dealing with the larger-picture problem of the US deficit

In particular, the IMF said the US needs to increase its statutory debt ceiling in order to keep funding that deficit.

In the last-minute compromise between Democrats and Republicans, automatic tax increases slated to hit on January 1st were pared back.

But scheduled steep federal spending cuts were put off for two months, meaning Congress will have to go through another battle over how to deal with them.