The FTSE 100 index in London has fallen more than 110 points in early trading, losing 1.49% to 7473.29.
Over on the continent, stocks have also tumbled. France’s CAC has slid 1.7% while Germany’s Dax and Spain’s Ibex are both down 1.5%.
You can follow the latest news about the spread of the deadly virus on our main news blog.
Introduction: Stocks, oil tumble on China virus fears
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
The year of the rat has not got off to a good start. Shares tumbled in the Asian markets that were open on Monday, as the death toll due to the coronavirus rose to at least 80 and the virus continued to spread. China extended its week-long lunar new year holiday by three days to 2 February and widened the restrictions that have curbed the movement of tens of millions of people.
The head of the World Health Organisation will hold a special meeting with officials in Beijing today to discuss how to contain the coronavirus, as more cases were confirmed outside China. More than 400 people are critically ill and over 2,700 people are known to be infected in China, although experts are warning that up to 100,000 could be infected around the world.
Japan’s Nikkei lost 2%, its biggest one-day fall in five months. Markets in China, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong were closed for the lunar new year holiday. A Tokyo-listed China proxy, the ChinaAMC CSI 300 index ETF, shed 2.2%.
European shares are expected to open more than 1% down, while safe-haven assets such as the Japanese yen, the Swiss franc, gold and US Treasury bonds are in demand.
Brent crude oil, the global benchmark, slumped below $59 a barrel, and later traded at $59.38, down $1.3 or 2.2%. China is the world’s biggest oil importer.
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