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Global Investor Panic Hits European, Asian Markets

Fears of a global recession have sent markets in Europe and Asia plummeting Friday, extending the massive sell-off that began Thursday on Wall Street.

The main indexes in London, Paris and Frankfurt were all down 10 percent at the start of today's trading sessions. The fall off in Europe comes after Asian stock markets dropped across the board, with Japan's Nikkei index closing with a loss of nearly 10 percent, its biggest one day loss since 1987.

Shares on Philippine and Australian markets both closed more than eight percent lower. China's Shanghai index closed four percent lower, while the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost seven percent.

Trading on Indonesia's stock exchange has been suspended indefinitely, while activity in Bangkok was briefly suspended after a 10 percent loss at the opening bell.

Thurdsay, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged seven percent, finishing below 9,000 points for the first time since 2003.

U.S. President George Bush is scheduled to make a statement on the economic situation this morning.

Investors appear unconvinced that recent moves by authorities worldwide will be enough to re-start stalled credit markets.

Top officials from the International Monetary Fund and financial ministers from the world's seven richest industrial nations will gather in Washington for meetings on the faltering world economy. Mr. Bush will meet with the G-7 ministers Saturday at the White House.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said Thursday the world is on the brink of a global recession but predicts the economy will begin to recover by late 2009.

Meanwhile, oil prices have fallen below $83 a barrel, the lowest level in a year. Light sweet crude for November delivery lost $4 to end at just over $82 a barrel in Singapore. Brent crude oil for November fell more than $3 to $79 a barrel in London.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.