Europe's stock markets sank in opening deals on Thursday, taking their cue from earlier sell-offs in Asia and the US after the head of the Federal Reserve warned of an "uncertain" outlook for the virus-hit US economy.
London's benchmark FTSE 100 index of major blue-chip companies shed 1.1% to 6 008.89 points, ahead of an interest rate decision from the Bank of England.
In the eurozone, Frankfurt's DAX 30 index shed 1.5% to 13 059.70 points and the Paris CAC 40 lost 1.4% to 5 001.18.
Asian equities mostly dropped following a broadly negative lead from Wall Street on Wednesday.
Fed chief Jerome Powell told reporters that while the recovery was looking better than anticipated, "overall activity remains well below its level before the pandemic and the path ahead remains highly uncertain", and stressed the need for more stimulus.
While the central bank indicated interest rates were unlikely to begin rising for another three years, allowing businesses to borrow at ultra-low levels, Powell's call for more fiscal help came as US lawmakers seem unable to find common ground on a new package.