Asia plunges futher into financial chaos – A move by US and European central banks, as well as by central banks in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia and South Korea, to slash borrowing costs has failed to reassure investors.

"It’s impossible to predict the bottom, and technical analysis is meaningless as panic and fear overwhelm the markets," said Jang Huh, at Prudential Asset Management in Seoul.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index fell 10pc, the biggest loss since “Black Monday” in October 1987 and it third biggest loss ever. The index, which closed down 881.06 points at 8,276.43, has lost more than 24pc over the past week.

Prime Minister Taro Aso warned that the slump could have real effects on Asia’s largest economy. The share price fall “has reached a point where it affects the real economy and fund raising,” he told reporters.

All indications are that European markets will open sharply lower.

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