Jitters over a possible U.S.-led military strike against the Syrian government knocked Asian equities to a seven-week low on Wednesday and pushed oil prices and safe-haven gold to multi-month highs.
An acute 'risk-off' mode also boosted the appeal of the Japanese yen, which held near a one-week high against the dollar and euro after having posted its biggest rally in more than two months.
Washington and its allies were gearing up for a probable military action against President Bashar al-Assad's forces, which were blamed for last week's chemical weapons attacks.
Western officials told the Syrian opposition to expect a strike within days, and U.S. Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said American forces in the region were "ready to go" if President Barack Obama gives the order.
Most Asian markets are currently down anywhere from -.6% to -1% or more.