Asia share panic after Dow plunge
Asian markets have opened heavily down in the wake of a plunge by US stocks to their lowest level for five years, reported BBC.
Tokyo's Nikkei-225 index has dropped 10%, while South Korea, Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong all crashed 7% as soon as the markets opened.
Despite concerted government action, investors are fearful the financial crisis will prompt a global recession.
Finance ministers from the G7 leading industrial countries are set to meet in Washington to discuss the crisis.
US President George W Bush is due to make an address to the American people later in the day.
Heavy falls were seen across Asia's markets as a climate of fear took hold on Friday.
As the plummeting Nikkei-225 index faced its biggest one-day drop since Tokyo's 1987 crash, the global crisis claimed its first Japanese financial institution, with the insurance company Yamato Life going bankrupt.
"Selling is unstoppable in New York and Tokyo," said Yutaka Miura, senior strategist at Shinko Securities in Tokyo.
"Investors were gripped by fear," he told the Associated Press.
Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng index slumped to a three-year low, while in the Philippines, share prices closed down more 8.3%. Shanghai's index was down 3.8%.
In Indonesia, meanwhile, stock market trading has been suspended indefinitely in order to prevent what the president of the exchange called "deeper panic".
With the value of gold continuing to rise as investors seek security, oil fell below $83 a barrel to a 12-month low.
As well as the G7 meeting, talks will be held at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.
The organisation's chief, Dominique Strauss-Khan, said on Thursday the lending procedure would allow the IMF to react quickly to support countries facing funding problems.
Mr Strauss-Kahn said the world was "on the cusp of recession", but could still recover.
After a gloomy day's trading in Europe on Thursday, the Dow Jones - the US benchmark index - ended down 7.3% - tumbling below 9,000 points for the first time since August 2003.
"We're way beyond fundamentals," said Chris Orndorff, head of equity strategy at Payden & Rygel, in Los Angeles.
"This is just pure panic, that's all it is."
The IMF scheme, which was used during the Asian financial crisis in 1997, would help speed up approval of loans.
The body has already sent a mission to Iceland, where the government has taken control of its three biggest banks.
Speaking ahead of meetings of the IMF and World Bank, Mr Strauss-Khan urged countries to act "quickly, forcefully, and co-operatively" to solve the global economic problems.
A day after seven central banks around the world cut interest rates in an effort to calm financial markets, the IMF chief said further co-ordinated action was necessary.
"All kinds of policy co-operation are to be commended," he said.
But he issued a stark warning against countries acting unilaterally to fight the crisis, referring to recent isolated moves by certain European Union member countries.
"There is no domestic solution to a crisis like this one."
Finance ministers from the G7 group of wealthy nations are to meet in Washington this weekend.