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Around the World's Markets: Tokyo

JAPAN'S BENCHMARK Nikkei 225 stock index plunged to its lowest in six years after Russia abandoned efforts to prop up the rouble, rekindling fears about global economic instability.

Garry Evans, strategist at HSBC Securities (Japan) said: "There's a fear there could be a major sell-off in the US, and Russia said it will default on its debt."

The Nikkei 225 fell 452.24 points, or 3.04 per cent, to 14,413.79 - its lowest close since its post-bubble low of 14,309.41 on 18 August 1992.