ukAlmost £50billion was wiped off the value of London’s FTSE 100 Index alone. The collapse in share prices around the world came as investors panicked that the US could slide back into recession and the creaking eurozone may need further multi-billion-pound bailouts to help Italy and Spain.

The FTSE 100 Index fell 191.4 points, or 3.4 per cent, to an 11-month low of 5393.1 – losing a ­massive £49.8billion from its value in one day. It means the growing financial turmoil has decimated leading shares by more than £120billion in a week.

The huge amount has been wiped off the value of Britain’s top companies and investment-based pension funds which millions of Britons rely on to fund their retirement and savings. During a day of dire economic news, the only ray of hope was the Bank of England’s decision to keep interest rates at a record 0.5 per cent low for an unparalleled 29th month in a row.