(Reuters) - Asian stocks fell on Friday, extending the worst monthly performance since the most volatile days of the global financial crisis in October 2008, with Chinese shares racking up sharp losses.
The euro fell and was on course for the biggest monthly drop in nearly a year, with parliamentary approvals of new powers for Europe's bailout fund having little lasting impact.
Fears of a spiraling European debt crisis and a slowing global economy that would hit Asian exports caused investors to slash their bets on risky assets in the September quarter.
Markets in Asia, considered by investors to have superior fundamentals compared with developed markets in the West, were not immune, with institutional investors continuing to hedge against further Asian currency weakness, including the yuan.
Mainland Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong fell 3.3 percent, underperforming the rest of the region, with investors selling off bank shares.
Even a rare batch of strong U.S. economic data led by falling jobless claims failed to cheer up Asia, with traders focusing on China's September PMI data to gauge how the world's export powerhouse is holding up in the face of a slowing global economy.
Official Chinese data to be released on Saturday may show a pickup in factory activity though input prices will be closely watched for inflationary pressures at a time when officials have declared that fighting inflation was a top objective.
In Asia, stocks in Japan, Australia and Korea were steady to slightly lower with only Hong Kong shares among the major losers, dropping about 1.8 percent, as investors locked in profits.
While window-dressing by fund managers buying some of the quarter's outperforming issues to improve their books has helped support shares this week, gains may be hard to get in the future as broader macro concerns still remain.
"Window-dressing tends to support the market at the end of quarter, and some relief about Europe's situation after the German vote is also giving buyers more confidence," said Mitsushige Akino, chief fund manager at Ichiyoshi Investment Management Co.
MSCI's index of Asia Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.3 percent after rising for three consecutive days. For the month, it is down more than 13 percent, its biggest monthly drop since October 2008.
U.S. stock futures were down 0.6 percent after ringing up decent gains on Thursday.