WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama announced an 11th-hour deal with Congress to avert an unprecedented default on US debt payments, triggering a widespread rally on stock markets Monday and sighs of relief around the world. With just two days left before the United States would run short of cash, Obama and his Republican foes said late Sunday after round-the-clock negotiations that they had reached a framework for more than $2.4 trillion in spending cuts. I want to announce that the leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default, a default that would have had a devastating effect on our economy, Obama said. This process has been messy; its taken far too long, Obama told a hastily convened evening press conference. Nevertheless, ultimately, the leaders of both parties have found their way toward compromise. But the package still needs approval from Congress, which could vote as early as Monday. Leaders of the Democratic-held Senate and Republican-led House of Representatives were working to rally polarised lawmakers. To pass this settlement, well need the support of Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate. There is no way either party in either chamber can do this alone, said Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. House Speaker John Boehner called the plan a remedy to avert a job-killing national default that none of us wanted. But the plan faces opposition both from the conservative Tea Party movement, which favours sweeping spending cuts, and liberal Democrats who want taxes on the wealthy before any thought of cutting social welfare programmes. As described by Obama and congressional leaders, the deal would raise the countrys $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion. It would also make more than $2.4 trillion in spending cuts in two steps, including through a special new committee required to submit proposals by November 23. Asian and European stock markets cheered the deal The framework would also fulfil one of Obamas top goals: Giving cash-strapped Washington the ability to borrow by enough to avoid another politically fraught debt battle before he faces re-election in November 2012. The package would cut military spending by at least $350 billion at a time that the United States is looking to exit Iraq and Afghanistan. A White House official hoped half of total cuts would come from defence, but leading Republicans have already cried foul. Obama trumpeted that the cuts would bring annual domestic government spending to the lowest level in 60 years but promised they would not come so abruptly as to be a drag on the fragile US economy, still struggling with stalled growth and 9.2pc unemployment in the wake of the 2008 meltdown.