Asian stocks stumbled on Wednesday in sympathy with weak US and European markets as equities investors were spooked by a vicious selloff in sovereign bonds globally.
The sudden spike in bond yields is being mirrored by an equally rapid rally in resources to suggest investors are becoming less concerned about the danger of deflation.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was off 0.4 percent in early trade, led by a 1.2 percent decline in Australia .
Dealers were uncertain if this was just a temporary correction of very crowded positions or a turning point towards a more reflationary world, but evidence for the latter was starting to pile up.
A broad bounce in commodities saw oil and copper prices speed to their highest for the year so far, while zinc reached ground not trod in eight months.
Brent crude has climbed almost 50 percent from its January trough to reach USD 67.66 a barrel, with US crude not far behind at USD 60.71.
In just four sessions yields on 10-year German paper had tripled to 0.517 percent and erased all the gains made this year. On Tuesday alone, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese yields all rose between 27 and 30 basis points.
The US 10-year Treasury yield touched a two-month top at 2.20 percent having climbed from 1.92 percent in little more than a week.
Thirty-year paper suffered even more as investors all but went on a buying strike to protest the paltry returns paid by such long-dated debt.
With yield up, equities have faltered.
The Dow Jones ended Tuesday down 0.79 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 1.18 percent, and the Nasdaq 1.55 percent. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 equity index shed 1.6 percent.
Commodity currencies benefited from the rebound in resource prices, with the Australian dollar the best performer. The Aussie rose more than 1 percent to USD 0.7955 and was last at USD 0.7935.
It was already on the rise on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of Australia gave no clear signs that it will ease again, having cut its cash rate to a record low 2.0 percent.
The US dollar was less lucky as an unexpectedly sharp widening in the U.S. trade deficit suggested the economy may have shrunk in the first quarter.
The dollar index fell as far as 94.877, retreating from a one-week high of 95.946. It last stood at 95.160.
Against the yen, the greenback eased to 119.90 from a 3-1/2 week high of 120.51. The euro rebounded to USD 1.1183, from Tuesday's low of USD 1.1066.
The next focus in Asia will be a private survey of China's services sector due at 0145 GMT. With the market worried about slowing Chinese manufacturing activity, any weakness will only add to expectations for more stimulus.
Later in the day, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak and markets will be super sensitive to any guidance on the outlook for the first hike in interest rates.