Asian stock markets plunged Friday after more bad news on the U.S. economy, a vital export market, triggered a broad sell-off on Wall Street overnight.
Disappointing reports on U.S. retail sales and jobless claims undercut hopes for a late-year recovery in the U.S. and depressed investor sentiment across Asia.
In Japan, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 2.9 percent at 12,196.47 in early afternoon trading.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 3.1 percent to 19,752.65, dropping below the key psychological level of 20,000 and hitting its lowest point in more than a year.
Markets in mainland China, India and Australia were also down more than 2 percent.
A drop in the dollar against the yen overnight contributed to the malaise, pummeling major Japanese exporters. The dollar fell to 106.79 yen early Friday afternoon in Asia; on Thursday in Tokyo it was trading above 108 yen.
Toyota Motor Corp. retreated 2.23 percent, while Nissan Motor Co. tumbled 3.13 percent to 804 yen.
Sony Corp. nosedived 3.95 percent to 3,890 yen after the consumer electronics maker announced Thursday it is recalling 440,000 Vaio laptop computers worldwide due to a wiring flaw that could cause overheating. Sony said the recall involves 19 models in the Vaio TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008.
Investors in Hong Kong sent Chinese commodity producers spiraling, with Angang Steel losing 5.3 percent and Aluminum Corp. of China, or Chalco, down 3.9 percent. Telecoms such as heavyweight China Mobile, down 3.3 percent, also took a beating.
Inflation continues to be a major concern in Asia, with the Philippines reporting Friday that the August consumer price index rose 12.5 percent from a year ago, the highest in nearly 17 years. The local stock index fell 1 percent to 2,724.72.
In New York Thursday, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 344.65 points, or 2.99 percent, to 11,188.23. It was the worst drop for the blue-chip index since June 26, when it sank 3.03 percent.