Fresh evidence of China's economic slowdown has sent world stock markets tumbling on the first trading day of the new year. Germany's blue-chip DAX hadn't seen a worse start to the year in a quarter of a century.
Germany's DAX-30 dropped by 4.3 percent to 10,283.44 points on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange on Monday, seeing its worst start to first-day trading in any new year since 1988.
In London, the FTSE-100 index closed 2.4 percent down, and France's CAC-40 dropped 2.5 percent as worries about the Chinese economy took a heavy toll and geopolitical tensions added to negative sentiment in most parts of the world.
Wall Street also opened sharply lower, with the Dow shedding more than 2 percent in early trading and later tumbing by 2.4 percent on track for its worst start to a year since the early 1930s.
China in focus
"The year got off on the wrong foot because of China" ActivTrades chief market analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa told Reuters.
All sectors were in negative territory as China saw its CSI300 benchmark share index tumble by 7 percent earlier in the day, prompting the Shanghai Stock Exchange to halt trading for the rest of Monday.
Market volatility was heightened by rebounding oil prices, as tensions in the Middle East increased following Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shiite cleric - a move that Saudi leaders must surely have known in advance would lead to a deepening of the geopolitical rift with Iran, some analysts say.
hg/nz (AFP, Reuters)