Global stock markets sank on Thursday, propelled by rampant inflation and growing recession fears.

Frankfurt, London and Paris equities each slid about 1.5 per cent, while oil prices tumbled on demand worries.

That followed losses across Asia as investors braced for more interest rate hikes, which seek to quell runaway inflation yet could derail economic activity.

Europe's stocks also fell on Wednesday as record-high eurozone inflation fuelled fears that borrowing costs are set to climb even higher, as the region faces rocketing winter energy costs due to Russia's war on Ukraine.

The European Central Bank will announce its latest monetary policy decision next Thursday, after delivering its first rate hike in a decade in July.

'Tougher times ahead'

"Markets remain unable to snap their recent losing streak, with investors still positioning for tougher times ahead," said Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter. "Central to current concerns are recessionary fears in the US and a beleaguered China. With the world's two largest economies under pressure, the immediate outlook is poor."

Central to current concerns are recessionary fears in the US and a beleaguered China- Interactive Investor analyst Richard Hunter

Asian equities weakened further on Thursday as traders continued to digest shrinking factory activity in powerhouse economy China.

Shanghai also dropped after news that the Chinese city of Chengdu would effectively lock down around 16 million people in a bid to contain a COVID-19 outbreak, likely dealing another blow to a stuttering economy.

Wall Street slid on Wednesday as Treasury yields – a key gauge of future interest rates – rose further, as a broadly healthy report on US private jobs showed there was room for the Federal Reserve to continue tightening monetary policy.

Another top Fed official signalled the bank was determined to keep lifting borrowing costs, mirroring recent comments by the US central bank's head Jerome Powell that there would be no let-up in the fight against inflation.

US interest rates are currently at 2.25 to 2.5 per cent, and there is a growing expectation they will be hiked by a bumper 75 basis points for a third successive meeting later this month.

A government jobs report on Friday will be closely watched by traders hoping for an idea about the next move by the bank.

The prospect of more US rate hikes continued to push the dollar higher, with 140 yen within reach for the first time since 1998.

The greenback was also at its strongest level against the pound since the height of the pandemic in 2020, with sterling buying less than $1.16.

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