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Companies cutting back travel plans

NEW YORK — U.S. companies are scaling back their travel plans in response to Europe’s financial crisis and uncertainty about the economy at home.

American business travelers are expected to take 437.9 million trips this year, the Global Business Travel Association said Tuesday. That’s down 1.2 percent from an estimate made in April by the travel and meetings trade group.

The outlook for next year is even worse, with the trade group lowering its forecast to 435 million trips, down 1.9 percent from April’s estimate.

Fitch keeps US rating at ‘AAA’

WASHINGTON — Fitch Ratings has retained the U.S. at its top ‘AAA’ credit rating but also left the outlook negative, citing the failure of Congress and the Obama administration to forge an agreement on reducing the budget deficit.

Fitch says that uncertainty over federal tax and spending policies related to the so-called fiscal cliff “weighs on the near-term economic outlook” and raises the prospect of another recession.

A massive budget showdown could begin after the elections in November and stretch well into next year, despite the threat of $500 billion in impending tax increases and spending cuts.

Fitch also says the burden of government debt on the economy will continue to rise and could hurt growth if an agreement isn’t reached on the deficit.

In other news

OIL PRICES tumbled Tuesday on further signs of an economic slowdown in China and after the government of Norway intervened to end a strike that threatened North Sea oil production. Benchmark U.S. crude fell by $2.08, or 2.4 percent, to finish at $83.91 per barrel. Brent crude lost $2.35 to close at $97.97 per barrel in London.


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