European markets opened sharply lower Monday, following a day of panic selling in Asian markets where bourses were hit by Friday’s steep sell-off on Wall Street and Beijing’s failure to bolster its stock markets or cut interest rates.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was down 3.1 percent after market open. It later fell 5.3 percent -- its steepest single-day drop in four years. Currently, it's trading down 5 percent, with mining stocks leading the plunge.
Germany’s DAX index fell 3.5 percent to its lowest since January, while France’s CAC 40 dropped 2.7 percent. The U.K.’s FTSE 100 index tumbled 2.8 percent, shedding 175 points to hit a low of 6,012. It is currently trading 2.1 percent lower. The FTSE 100 is now nearly 15 percent down since reaching a high of 7,104 in April.
“Any hopes that the last week of August would pass off in unremarkable fashion for equity traders has been dashed as the London market opened for business,” Tony Cross, a market analyst at Trustnet, told the Guardian.
The euro appreciated 0.9 percent to $1.15 for the first time since February as hopes fade of an interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve next month, Bloomberg reported. As global markets flounder in the wake of volatility in Chinese markets -- which has triggered concerns of a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy -- fewer people expect the Fed to hike interest rates in September, which until recently was deemed a near certainty.
Worries over China’s economic health have also hit commodities. Brent crude oil dropped 2.4 percent to $44.37 a barrel, having touched its lowest level since 2009.