The FTSE 100 hit a new intraday low for 2015 this morning, falling as low as 6,328 points, after shock manufacturing figures from China pushed markets across the world lower.
Figures published overnight showed Chinese factories contracted at their fastest pace in six and a half years in August. The Caixin/Markit purchasing managers' index for the country's manufacturing sector fell to 47.1, from 47.8 in July – itself weaker than expected. Any figure below 50 denotes a contraction.
Markets had already been hit hard by uncertainty in the US, and a snap election called in Greece last night by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The fall in output has stoked fears that global recovery may be faltering.
Meanwhile, the Dax opened 0.56 per cent lower at 10,374.15 points, and the Cac fell 0.65 per cent, to 4,752.27.
The Shanghai Composite fell another 2.1 per cent to 3,585.36 points, while the Shenzhen Composite closed at 2,056.19 points, 4.6 per cent lower.
"Today’s data supports our view that the economic damage from the financial market volatility associated with the devaluation depressed activity growth in August," said ING analysts.
Other Asian markets followed suit, with Hong Kong's Hang Seng falling 1.8 per cent lower to 22,337.11 points, while Japan's Nikkei fell three per cent to 19,435.83 points.