Stock markets dropped on Wednesday after weak demand at a Spanish debt auction.
The government had hoped to sell up to 3.5 billion euros of medium-term bonds, but it was able to find buyers for only 2.6 billion euros.
Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve's reluctance to add more monetary stimulus fueled concern the global economic recovery will slow.
The European Central Bank also says it will not roll back emergency measures to tackle the eurozone debt crisis, adding to investor concerns.
The Dow Jones Index has fallen 121 points at 13,079. The Nasdaq Composite down 52 points at 3061.
The FTSE 100 index in London fell 2.3%, the DAX in Frankfurt was down 2.9% and the CAC-40 in Paris was down 2.7%.
The Nikkei Index in Tokyo was down 230 points to 9,820.
The Australian 200 Index was down 3 points to 4334 and the NZX50 index rose 7 points to close at 3480.
The New Zealand dollar on Thursday was trading at 81.54 US cents, 79.39 Australian cents, 51.25 pence, 67.20 yen and 0.6196 euro. The Trade Weighted Index was at 73.01.
Brent crude oil was trading at $US123.89 per barrel and gold was trading at $US1618.94 per ounce.