Cash injected into financial system jolted by collapse of US subprime mortgage market.
In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 was down 174.0 points or 2.8 per cent at 5,991.6, having been as low as 5,982.5 earlier in the session.
The broader All Ordinaries Index was down 173.4 points or 2.8 per cent at 6,104.3.
The plunge came after the Dow Jones industrial average fell 387.18, or 2.83 per cent, to 13,270.68 in New York on Thursday after a French bank announced it was freezing funds that invested in US subprime mortgages, deepening fears of a credit crunch.
Before Thursday, the S&P had its best three-day winning streak in nearly five years. But the latest pullback was the biggest point drop and percentage loss for both the Dow and the S&P since a market decline on February 27.
Amid Friday’s decline, the Bank of Japan said it had injected $8.4bn into money markets to curb rises in a key overnight interest rate.
The injection followed similar moves by its European and US counterparts overnight.
The European Central Bank provided more than $130bn to money markets, the bank’s biggest infusion ever.
The US Federal Reserve also added a larger-than-normal $24bn in temporary reserves to the US banking system.