LONDON — The world’s disbelief at the political impasse in the U.S. turned to cautious relief Thursday as the country stepped back from the brink of default. But fears remain about another possible shutdown — and, even worse, a possible default — early next year.

At the same time, experts and foreign officials warned that Washington’s credibility had been damaged.

The deal may assure only a few months of financial order, and the prospect of another possible crisis early in January when the agreement lapses leaves many wondering about U.S. government stability. The short-term nature of the deal makes many uneasy.

“It’s a huge threat to the leadership of an indispensable power,” Klaus Scharioth, Germany’s ambassador to Washington from 2006 until 2011, told The Associated Press. “That’s bad news for all of us.”