Australia's central bank slashed its key interest rate Monday a full percentage point to 4.25 percent as it tries to prevent the economy from contracting. The global financial crisis has taken Australia's economy from boom times to the verge of recession in a matter of months, and policymakers are throwing billions of dollars at the economy to try to stop it from tipping over the edge. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index was down 3.2 percent at 3,564.
Markets in the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea also dropped.
Among major regional markets, only Singapore and mainland China rose.