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Global stock markets have fallen after some members of the US central bank suggested its stimulus measures may be increasing the “risks of future economic and financial imbalances”.
The comments came in minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last meeting, where the Fed said it had left its monthly $ 85bn bond-buying plan in place.
US stocks recorded their biggest drop so far this year.
Subsequently, markets in Asia and across Europe also saw big falls.
On the foreign exchanges, the dollar rose against other major currencies.
The Fed comments have raised expectations that the US central bank may scale back its bond-buying programme earlier than predicted.
By buying bonds, the Fed keeps interest rates low, which keeps the cost of borrowing for mortgages and other loans low.
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The programme has been cited as a major reason for the rise in share prices in recent weeks, so signs of a premature end have hit stocks.
“US liquidity concerns following the Fed minutes looks like the pin which will burst the recent bubble in equities,” said Mike McCudden, head of derivatives at Interactive Investor.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones index ended down 108.13 points at 13,927.54.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 159.15 points, or 1.4%, to 11,309.13, while in Hong Kong the Hang Seng index closed down 400.74 points, or 1.7%, at 22,906.67.
European markets all opened lower, with London’s FTSE 100 down 1.6% at 6,295.72 and Frankfurt’s Dax index also dropping 1.6% to 7,604.96.
The dollar rose 0.6% against the euro on Thursday, with one euro buying $ 1.3192, and also gained against the pound, with one pound buying $ 1.5221.
While the dollar had been boosted by the Fed minutes, the euro was also hit by the latest economic survey of the eurozone region which showed the downturn in the region’s businesses had worsened.
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