US and European stocks fell on Wednesday, on fears that key global economies will enter recession.
Here, BBC website readers from around the world describe how the stock market problems have affected them.
BRIAN HIND, KANSAS, USA
Fears of a global recession are justified. And we in the US are going to be among some of the hardest hit because of our high levels of consumer debt.
In my parents' day, you saved for a TV or a car. Today everything is bought on credit with little thought for how to pay for it.
Well, we are about to pay the piper, and we are not going to like it.
It's not just the individuals. The economy of the entire country seems to be based around debt. Everything seems to be made in China these days.
I have always been careful in my life - I have a modest house and don't have any credit card debt.
As a farmer I've borrowed money for my business - but not more than I can afford.
But it'll be people like me who will have to eventually have to pay when government tries to bail people out.
Worse, my mother is just about to retire and the value of her pension is based on the value of the stocks. So I'm worried that she may lose out.
RIYAZ ABDULRAHEMAN VAHORA, GUJARAT INDIA
The market has recovered somewhat today, but there is still a drop in confidence that may take a while to be restored.
I work as a commodities advisor and I also invest privately in the stock market.
On Tuesday we saw a dramatic fall in the number of people investing in the market. Some of my colleagues have lost a lot of money because of this.
The problem is we are part of the global system. Investors from America are now withdrawing their money from our markets.
It is the small investor who has lost most from this. Prior to these events, in Gujarat we were seeing more smaller investors putting money into the stock market. These latest events are bound to rock their confidence.
Every country goes through economic cycles. I think the whole world will see a downturn over the next four years or so.
But in the long term India has a lot of potential. The analysts could be right: maybe we are seeing an economic shift away from the US.
KWOK CHIU LIN, HONG KONG
It seems that the USA is experiencing the same thing Hong Kong experienced in 2003, when the property bubble burst and the SARS virus spread.
Being a small open economy, Hong Kong can do nothing to remedy the situation. The USA is different, it has fiscal and monetary policy on its side. I hope that America will try their best to reverse the trend so that the world economy will grow again.
A recession in the US will certainly affect China, because the growth of the Chinese economy is, to a certain extent, export-led and America is the largest market for Chinese goods.
If the Chinese economy is affected, it will affect Hong Kong too because every year we have a large number of visitors from China. They also buy houses as well as stocks and shares in Hong Kong.
This means there should be better regulation of the financial system in the USA and other countries.
JOCK BOEHM, GERMAN LIVING IN FRANCE
I've lived overseas for 35 years and also worked in aviation - so I have some idea about international markets.
After the dramatic stock market falls of recent days, I think we are heading for an economic crisis.
I have land in Florida which lost value dramatically after the bubble burst in America following the whole 'credit crunch' situation.
But we are all going to be affected one way with or another, as the world economies are so closely integrated. And it's always the little people who get hurt.
With America cutting interest rates, local industries could be boosted. This in turn may mean other countries are not able to sell so much to the US.
I believe the problem stemmed from American banks getting too greedy. They were hungry for new markets, and unfortunately ended up pushing dubious loans on people who could not afford them.
For ten years until 2005 I was living in the United Arab Emirates. And I wonder if the latest crisis in America may also push people in the Gulf States and the East away from the sacred dollar and towards the Euro.