Great fall of China sinks world stocks, dollar tumbles – Reuters

An investor stands in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China, August 24, 2015.

An investor stands in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China, August 24, 2015.

LONDON (Reuters) – Alarm bells rang across world markets on Monday as a near 9 percent dive in China shares and a sharp drop in the dollar and major commodities panicked investors.

European stocks were almost 3 percent in the red and Wall Street was braced for similar losses after Asian shares slumped to 3-year lows as a three month-long rout in Chinese equities threatened to get out of hand.

Oil slumped another 4 percent, while safe-haven government U.S. an German bonds and the yen and the euro rallied as widespread fears of a China-led global economic slowdown and currency war kicked in.

“It is a China driven macro panic,” said Didier Duret, chief investment officer at ABN Amro. “Volatility will persist until we see better data there or strong policy action through forceful monetary easing.”

Many traders had hoped that such support measures, which could include an interest rate cut, would have come from Beijing over the weekend after its main stocks markets slumped 11 percent last week.

With serious doubts now emerging about the likelihood of a U.S. interest rate rise this year, the dollar slid against other major currencies.

The Australian dollar fell to six-year lows and many emerging market currencies also plunged, whilst the frantic dash to safety pushed the euro to a 6-1/2-month high.

“Things are starting look like the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s. Speculators are selling assets that seem the most vulnerable,” said Takako Masai, head of research at Shinsei Bank in Tokyo.

As commodity markets took a fresh battering, Brent and U.S. crude oil futures hit 6-1/2-year lows as concerns about a global supply glut added to worries over potentially weaker demand from the normally resource-hungry China.

U.S. crude was last down 3.6 percent at just below $39 a barrel while Brent lost 3.7 percent to $43.74 a barrel to take it under January’s lows for the first time.

Copper, seen as a barometer of global industrial demand, tumbled 2.5 percent, with three-month copper on the London Metal Exchange also hitting a six-year low of $4,920 a tonne. Nickel slid 6 percent to its lowest since 2009 at $9,570 a tonne.

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