Asian markets fell sharply in early Monday trade and the euro took a beating after a poor US jobs report added to fears that the world's largest economy is facing a renewed recession.
Stocks were down across the board, following Wall Street's lead, as investors piled into bonds, gold and other safe havens, seeking shelter from the gathering economic clouds.
Tokyo opened 1.37 percent lower, Seoul shed 2.58 percent, Hong Kong was 2.06 percent down and Sydney fell 1.70 percent shortly after the opening bell.
Shanghai shed around one percent early on, with traders citing fears about persistent inflation in the Chinese economy and its possible dampening effect on growth.
Markets in Asia were taking their lead from Wall Street's performance on Friday, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.20 percent to 11,240.26 on dismal August employment figures.
A meager 17,000 private-sector jobs were added, down from a revised 156,000 in July. But that was offset by 17,000 jobs shed by government, figures revealed.
The Labor Department said the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent from July. The number of unemployed people was essentially unchanged, at 14 million.
The jobs data for August were the worst since September 2010, when the economy shed more than twice the number of jobs it created. The pace of job growth remains far below the numbers needed to reduce the high unemployment rate.
"Global growth prospects are in doubt, and nervous investors are likely to dump shares in favour of 'safer havens' such as gold and bonds," said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.
"This (US jobs report) is likely to bring further calls for quantitative easing, despite the Federal Reserve's apparent aversion," he said, according to Dow Jones Newswires.
On Friday in the United States, bond prices surged. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.00 percent from 2.15 percent late Thursday, while that on the 30-year bond dropped to 3.31 percent from 3.51 percent.
Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions.
Gold started the week at $1,877-$1,878 an ounce in Hong Kong, well up on its Friday close of $1,852.00-$1,853.00.
The euro dropped to $1.4164 in Tokyo trade from $1.4203 in New York late Friday. The European common unit also eased to 108.77 yen from 109.09 yen.
The greenback was at 0.7897 Swiss francs compared with 0.7885. It fell to 76.75 against the yen, from 76.82.
The euro fetched 1.1192 against the Swiss franc, from 1.1210 late Friday in New York.
The euro took the brunt of selling on Friday after the EU and IMF left a critical audit of Greek finances unfinished saying more budget work was needed, and the government admitted its deficit target was in trouble.
Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos conceded that Greece would have to revise its public deficit target for this year, a key condition for continued funding from the 110-billion-euro ($158-billion) EU-IMF-ECB bailout loan agreed last year.
Also negative for the euro was news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) suffered an election defeat in her home state Sunday, with the news unsettling the market, dealers said.
Crude fell on the US jobs numbers, with traders concerned that a slowdown in the economy of the world's largest oil consumer heralds a dip in demand.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for delivery in October, was off 59 cents to $85.86 per barrel.
Brent North Sea crude for October delivery shed 74 cents to $111.59.