Asian and European markets tumbled Wednesday on fears of continued Egyptian political unrest and uncertainty over the fate of the Portuguese ruling coalition.
Global oil prices hit a 14-month high, with the light sweet crude traded in New York topping $102 a barrel. Investors worried that the crisis in Egypt could affect Middle East oil shipments through the Suez Canal, a key transit point.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index plunged 2.5 percent, while markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris were all down more than 1 percent in afternoon trading. U.S. shares were off slightly as trading opened in New York.
European traders were especially worried about the political uncertainty in debt-ridden Portugal, after two key government ministers resigned this week in protest of Lisbon's austerity measures endorsed by Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho. Interest rates on government bonds soared on fears his government might collapse, while shares on Lisbon's stock exchange plummeted more than 6 percent.
A survey showed that growth in China's services sector, an industry of growing importance in the country, fell in June to its slowest pace in nine months.