New Zealand share market slumped 2 per cent and almost $60 billion has been wiped from Australia's share market as concerns about China's economy shake global investors.

The S&P/NZX 50 Index was down 115 points at 5635, wiping about $2 billion off the NZ market

As other markets took a tumble, and Australia faced a bloodbath, experts said the New Zealand share market was more resilient to overseas falls.

Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said: "It was always going to be a fall given what we saw on Friday. We are never going to be immune from what happens offshore.


"But our market has generally done better than many of these offshore markets."

At current levels, the index has fallen by about 5 per cent since its August 3 peak, while some of the major markets have lost close to 10 per cent in value.

Lister said much of the weakness overseas was related to oil and resources, which do not feature strongly on the NZX, and that the NZ economy was generally in better shape than many of its peers.

The Australian market is already down more than two per cent after a torrid morning of trade, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 and the All Ordinaries indices hit two year lows after China's share markets plunged more than seven per cent in early trade.

The local indices were down 3.5 per cent at 1245 AEST, their largest single day fall since September 2011.

Losses are being felt across all market sectors, with the banking, mining and energy giants among the worst affected.Renewed fears about China's slowing economy are the main factor, after manufacturing activity in the world's second largest economy slumped to six-and-a-half-year lows in August.

Volatility on Chinese share markets, recent moves by China to devalue its currency, plunging oil prices and uncertainty about when US interest rates will be lifted are also combining to spark the global share sell-off.

Wall Street plunged in its most recent session, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average losing more than 500 points and the S&P 500 fell below 2,000 points for the first time since January 30.


But CommSec chief economist Craig James said worries about China's economy are over-rated, with authorities there dealing with the "growing pains" of a maturing economy.Rather than the beginning of a crisis, the market falls are a correction from highs reached earlier in 2015, he said.

"At present we would view the global sharemarket correction as a correction we had to have - a situation that will be beneficial in injecting more value into markets," Mr James said.

"There are clearly risks, but the data indicates that US and European economies continue to recover; lower oil prices will serve to boost consumer and business spending; and Chinese authorities are trying a range a measures to maintain momentum in their economy."

The big four banks were all more than 3.5 per cent weaker in early afternoon trade, energy producers were more than four per cent lower, and Telstra had dropped 2.8 per cent.