Asian shares and commodities fell on Friday, while the euro remained under pressure, on growing doubts that European leaders could forge a credible plan to solve the euro zone's debt crisis at a summit later in the day.
European Union leaders looked set to adopt a new system of fiscal discipline, but sentiment worsened after the European Central Bank dashed hopes that it would serve as lender of last resort and as Germany rejected a long-term goal of issuing common euro zone bonds.
Markets won't be relieved by Europe agreeing to a fiscal discipline alone, and sentiment will only improve if the ECB, the ultimate source of funds, agrees to step in, said Junya Tanase, chief currency strategist at JPMorgan Chase in Tokyo.
It also remains unclear at this late stage if the EU summit could really deliver a rescue plan, which is only just one hurdle to solving the crisis, so the bias remains for investors to shun risk at least until the summit outcome, he said.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> fell 0.9 percent while Japan's Nikkei stock average <.N225> was down 1.8 percent.
The euro was at $1.3350 on Friday, after shedding 1 percent to a session low of $1.3289 the day before.
China will release a set of data later in the day, including inflation figures, which could offer clues to the direction of monetary policy as well as the state of the economy.
Global stocks, commodities and the euro all fell on Thursday on European worries but, in a sign of resilience, the drop in U.S. stocks was far more muted than in recent months as investors pinned hopes on some promising economic data.
Data showed U.S. jobless claims slid to a nine-month low, signalling a recovering labour market and helping sentiment.
The ECB cut its key rate by 25 basis points to 1 percent, introduced ultra-long euro liquidity loans, and widened the collateral base in a bid to ease the strain in money markets.
A draft EU agreement, leaked on Thursday, would accelerate the introduction of a permanent bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, to July 2012 and give it a banking licence.
But Germany has rejected this proposal, as well as another, longer-term proposal to issue common euro zone debt, a senior German source said.
European sovereign debt yields spiked on Thursday, pushing 10-year Italian yields up to 6.51 percent and Spanish 10-year yields up to 5.82 percent.
The risk-averse sentiment carried over to Asian credit markets, with spreads on the iTraxx Asia ex-Japan investment grade index widening by about 10 basis points in early Asia on Friday.
Oil prices fell on Thursday, with U.S. January crude settling down 2.14 percent, the steepest single-day loss since November 17, while Brent crude settled at $108.11 a barrel, falling 1.3 percent for its biggest one-day loss since December 1.
Crude futures were down 0.2 percent on Friday.
Safe-haven gold, which was also hit by the broad selling on Thursday, recovered on Friday on the back of a fall in stocks, with spot gold up 0.2 percent at $1,712.05 an ounce.