Speculation that the US Federal Reserve might end its economic stimulus program have sent shivers through the global financial markets. The central bank's policy of monetary easing is seen as pivotal to growth.
Asian shares saw their worst day in seven months on Thursday, as investors fled into the dollar and other safe-haven assets such as German sovereign debt. The euro skidded to a six-week low against the dollar, as European stock markets joined the Asian selloff.
On Wednesday, Wall Street in New York had closed 0.77 percent lower after US investor sentiment took a severe hit on the back of speculation the US Federal Reserve might be in the process of reconsidering its policy of monetary easing.
Minutes taken during the US central bank's policy meeting on Wednesday and published later in the day, suggested a number of Fed board members were in favor of ending the bank's bond-buying program worth $85 billion (64 billion euros) a month.
An ongoing evaluation might well lead the Fed to "taper or end" the purchases before a substantial improvement in the US labor market would occur, the minutes said.
In September 2012, the Fed introduced its asset purchasing program, known as quantitative easing 3 (QE3), vowing it would not slow money printing until unemployment had fallen and the economy was stronger.
However, some board members indicated they were concerned about the cheap money creating a froth in risky assets - a development they considered to be potentially as unstable as during the advent of the financial crisis in 2008.
uhe (Reuters, AFP, dpa)