Asian markets tumbled on Friday after worse-than-expected economic data from China and Europe stoked fresh concerns over global growth, bringing an end to a recent spell of optimism.
Tokyo fell 0.98 percent by the break, Hong Kong slipped 1.00 percent, Sydney shed 0.20 percent, Shanghai lost 0.40 percent and Seoul was 0.24 percent lower.
News on Thursday that manufacturing activity in China, the world's number two economy, had hit a four-month low was compounded later in the day by figures indicating the eurozone was in recession.
Banking giant HSBC said its Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for China had fallen to 48.1 in March, compared with a final reading of 49.6 in February.
A reading above 50 indicates the sector is expanding while a reading below 50 suggests a contraction.
The figures -- which come after Beijing reported a huge February trade deficit and leaders lowered their growth target for the year -- added fuel to fears that China's economy is losing its strength.
Later in the day a composite PMI of manufacturing and services for the 17-nation eurozone by the Markit research firm fell more sharply than expected in March, pointing to a recession.
The survey of 4,500 manufacturing and services firms slowed to 48.7 in March after reaching 49.3 in February.
"It's not really a surprise to anyone that factory activity is contracting" in the eurozone," said Chris Hunter at Western Union Business Solutions in New Zealand, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
But it was "worrying that the two biggest economies -- Germany and France -- are starting to fall back," he said.
Adding to the downbeat numbers was news that Ireland's economy shrank 0.2 percent in the fourth quarter, following a 1.1 percent contraction in the previous three months, placing it back into a technical recession.
The weak figures hit the euro in New York. The single currency tumbled to $1.3185 from $1.3238 earlier in the day and to 108.89 yen from 110.27 yen.
However, the euro recovered in Asia Friday, sitting at $1.3203 and 109.37 yen. The dollar bought 82.85 yen from 82.50 yen in New York.
Washington's release of figures showing jobless claims had fallen again in the United States, continuing a medium-term trend, was unable to provide enough support to Wall Street.
The Dow fell 0.60 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.72 percent and the Nasdaq gave up 0.39 percent.
Crude prices edged up following big falls Thursday in the United States.
New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate crude for delivery in May, gained 33 cents to $105.68 per barrel in the morning while Brent North Sea crude for May was up 41 cents at $123.55.
Gold was at $1,646.80 an ounce at 0330 GMT, compared with $1,639.05 late Thursday.