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Even the state-run media called it “Black Monday”. The Shanghai Composite, China’s main share index, plunged an eye-popping 8.5pc in a single day at the start of last week. Tuesday saw another 7.6pc drop.

These dramatic falls, which followed a more gradual but still stomach-churning 11.5pc decline in Chinese stocks the week before, ripped through global markets. America’s Dow Jones Industrial Average share index plummeted an unprecedented 1,000 points, before closing 588 down – its biggest decline for four years. The FTSE-100 endured a 4.7pc nosedive, its worst one-day loss since 2009. Germany’s Dax index, also, went into “bear market” territory, falling to more than 20pc below its peak. Commodity prices similarly plunged, with oil hurtling down towards $40 a barrel, testing six-year lows.

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