Even US investors have lost their calm, with the S&P 500 falling 1.5% yesterday, ending a 15-day streak of closing with a move of less than 0.3%, a 90-year record. It earlier hit its highest since June 8 at $1,288.97 an ounce.
The Canadian dollar was trading at 78.64 cents United States, down from an average price of 78.71 cents USA on Wednesday.
The dollar slid to an eight-week low against the yen on Friday but was slightly firm against a basket of major currencies.
The market was also waiting for data that would offer clues about the extent to which the strengthening USA labour market is spilling over into inflation. Shanghai Composite Index tumbled 1.9 per cent to 3,201.45.
The benchmark Kospi plummeted 39.76 points or 1.69 percent to 2,319.71, its lowest level since May 24.
The dollar index.DXY, which measures the USA currency against a basket of other major currencies, fell 0.14 percent. The S&P 500 fell 1% Thursday but is still up around 9% so far this year. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index and the broader All Ordinaries Index fell around 1.2% each to finish at 5,693.10 and 5,743.50, respectively.
In oil, the price of Brent crude sunk by 0.5% to 51.65 USA dollars a barrel amid concerns about over supply in the market.
While the German DAX Index has edged down by 0.1%, the French CAC 40 Index and the UK's FTSE 100 Index are both down by 1%.
Mining heavyweights BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto retreated 2-3%, while gold miners Evolution and Newcrest rose about 2% each.
Note: U.S crude inventories last week fell by -7.8m barrels, more than expected, but gasoline inventories rose unexpectedly.
Gold rose to its highest level in nearly two months, while the Swiss franc increased by more than 1% against the U.S. dollar and saw its biggest one-day gain against the euro in more than two and a half years.
Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile, one of the world's largest producer of iodine - a substance used to combat radiation - has seen its share price increase by over a third since the start of July.
Oil also regained momentum as data pointed to declining USA inventories.
On the earnings front, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing announced Wednesday that its second-quarter net profit climbed 12.5 percent to HK$1.8 billion ($230 million), higher than an average analyst forecast of HK$1.6 billion, Reuters said.
Shares of Snap were off about 13 percent premarket following the social media company's earnings that came below estimates and a slew of price target cuts.
"The market hates uncertainty and that's certainly what we have now", said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank.