The FTSE 100 index has fallen by at least 7% as markets reopen following the UK’s vote to leave the EU.
Sterling fell to a three-decade low after the news, and in early trading shares for banks including RBS saw double-digit falls.
Around £122bn was wiped off the index in the first ten minutes of trading.
Banks bore the brunt of the fall, with Barclays down 27%, Royal Bank of Scotland down 28% and Lloyds taking a 24% dive.
Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, said the central bank was ready to provide more than £250bn in liquidity to support financial institutions.
He said “some market and economic volatility can be expected” in the wake of the Brexit vote, adding that the Bank was well prepared.
Mr Carney’s statement appeared to calm the market later on Friday morning, with the fall in the FTSE 100 beginning to pull back and sterling creeping back from its earlier freefall.
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