China's slump has provoked panic across global markets

It's been a rough start to 2016 for stocks around the world...

After China suspended trading early this morning as its stock markets fell by 7% shockwaves have been felt across the global economy.

Shortly after 2:00pm the FTSE was down 146 points (2.34%) at 6,096 - while Ireland's ISEQ had fallen by 114 points (1.67%) to 6,678.

Elsewhere in Europe Germany's DAX fell by 3.5%, and France's CAC 40 took a 2.2% - despite the fact that positive Eurozone manufacturing PMI data was published this morning.

The Nikkei in Japan and Hong Kong's Hang Seng closed down 3.0% and 2.7%, respectively.

US markets are also poised for a tumultuous day of trading with Dow futures down 263 points, S&P futures down 29 points, and Nasdaq futures down 74 points.

Trading on the Shanghai and Shenzhen stock markets was suspended for the day after shares plunged by about 7%.

The Shanghai Composite Index fell to its lowest level in nearly three months, on what was its first trading day of 2016.

An earlier 15-minute break in trading when shares had fallen by more than 5% failed to stem the slump.

This is the first time that a new "circuit breaker" system designed to curb volatility in Chinese stock markets was triggered - trading ended 90 minutes earlier than the usual close.

Some $89.9bn worth of shares changed hands before trading was stopped.

An independent report released early on Monday suggested that factory activity in China has been contracting for 10 consecutive months as of December.

Escalating tensions in the Middle East, sparked by Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shia cleric over the weekend led to a jump in oil prices, adding to today's uncertainty.

Additional reporting by IRN