Britain's top share index fell back in early trade on Thursday led by weakness in commodity issues after data showed China's economic momentum slowing, with factory activity down for the fifth month in a row, fuelling worries over the outlook for the global economy.

At 08.06 a.m. British Time, the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> index was down 19.58 points, or 0.3 percent at 5,872.37, having ended flat after a volatile session on Wednesday, which saw modest gains evaporate in the closing auction.

Miners <.FTNMX1770> were the biggest drag on the blue chips early on, as demand concerns were revived by the HSBC flash purchasing managers index, the earliest indicator of China's industrial activity, which fell back to 48.1 from February's four-month high of 49.6.

(Reporting by Jon Hopkins)