Asian markets fell on Friday after another drop on Wall Street as investors grappled with concerns about the strength of US consumer spending and the overall economy.
The concerns are magnified in Asia by a weak greenback that erodes US shoppers' buying power ahead of what's already expected to be a poor holiday shopping season.
"Expectations are growing that the [US] Christmas shopping season will be a disappointing one and everyone has become sensitive to that issue now," said Mitsushige Akino, manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management.
Investors are watching for any indicators of how subprime credit problems are really affecting final demand, he said.
The US is a key export market for Asian manufacturers and any slowdown in its economy is of major concern.
Taiwan shares fell, weighed down by declines in other Asian bourses and the drop on Wall Street. The Weighted Price Index of the Taiwan Stock Exchange fell 1.6 percent to 8,764.8 on weak volume.
Japan's benchmark index sagged to near a 15-month low as the yen's advance against the US currency translated into worries about the outlook for Japanese corporate earnings.
The NIKKEI 225 average shed 1.6 percent to 15,154.6 points. It was the NIKKEI's second lowest close this year.
A strong yen affects the performance of Japanese exporters by reducing their foreign earnings in yen terms and by making their products more expensive in export markets.
Tough times continued for major banks amid lingering concerns about subprime loan losses. Mizuho Financial Group Inc lost 2.6 percent.
Among blue chips, Toyota Motor Corp fell 1.8 percent and Toshiba Corp skidded 2.4 percent.
Hong Kong shares plunged as investors were spooked by reports Beijing is cracking down on illegal flows of funds into the territory's stock market.
The benchmark Hang Seng Index sank 4 percent to 27,614 points.
Mainland banks took a battering on reports that said Beijing capped withdrawals in Shenzhen to keep mainland investors from moving money into Hong Kong stocks. Officials at China's central bank declined to comment on the reports.
Bank of China fell 4.19 percent. ICBC fell 5.16 percent. China Construction Bank fell 4.86 percent.
London-based banking giant HSBC dropped 1.9 percent on continued concerns over its exposure to subprime mortgages in the US.
Chinese stocks fell as fresh economic data strengthened expectations of an interest rate hike. Overnight losses on Wall Street also prompted investors to sell property developers and other blue chips to lock in profits.
The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.9 percent to 5,316.3. The Shenzhen Composite Index shed 1.1 percent to 1,288.0.
"It does look like we're in for a rate hike now," said Li Wenhui, an analyst with Huatai Securities.
Thailand's main stock index fell 0.8 percent to 849.1, pulled lower by energy blue chips and heightened risk aversion.
Indonesia's benchmark stock measure fell 1.4 percent to 2,668.7 in moderate volume. Further declines are expected on a weak local currency, high oil prices and the global credit problems.
Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur Composite Index fell 0.2 percent to 1,386.6, weighed down by profit-taking across a broad range of stocks after Wall Street's decline.
Philippine shares plummeted, with the drop on Wall Street and concerns over the US economy overshadowing the central bank's decision to further pare interest rates. The Philippine Stock Exchange Index fell 2 percent to 3,599.